The Glass Effect

Cynicism in Tech

I am still surprised at the level of cynicism I see from people in technology. During the Apple event that just finished, where they announced the 4-inch iPhone SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, my Twitter stream was filled with snark, doubt, anger and attitude about every product, service and initiative they announced. Including, at the beginning, as they talked about the environmental and recycling initiatives, and the health initiatives, ResearchKit and CareKit, the complaints were about being bored, why aren’t they talking about new products, and so on. Of course, as soon as they did move on to new products, none of them were good enough either. The watch bands are nice, but nothing special. The watch price drop is cool, but what it REALLY needs is thinner faster better hardware and software. iOS 9.3, no mention of the developer that they “sherlocked” Night Shift from. iPhone SE, too expensive, still starts at 16gb, people have been begging for a 4-inch iPhone 6s but they just took the 6s and shrunk it down. iPad Pro, camera bump, so expensive, nobody uses iPads. And so on.

I shouldn’t be surprised by the cynicism anymore, but I still am, and I’m not sure why. People seem to want to be blown away by every announcement these days, and that’s simply not the way things work. It actually never was anyway. For me, technology is a tool, a means to an end. It helps you achieve your goals, but it isn’t a goal for its own sake. I’m a pragmatist, while it seems many of my friends, and many of the people reacting to Apple events on Twitter, are futurists. Tech for tech’s sake. If it’s not making revolutionary jumps, what’s the point of it?

For me, I like the incremental upgrades. I like making software for devices people use. I like the steady, predictable, business-supporting path that we’re on right now. Cynicism doesn’t do much. Maybe it makes you look snarky and cool to other cynical people on the internet. Maybe everyone is just trying to get a laugh. But I think the attitude you put on reflects on who you are, and just ripping on everything doesn’t feel very good to me.