Quartz wrote about how 2013 was a lost year for tech.
John Gruber has commented about the article:
What a sad pile of piss-on-everything cynicism.
Om Malik gave an equally scathing response:
So, next time when someone says, “2013 was an embarrassment for the entire tech industry and the engine that powers it: Silicon Valley,” remind them to actually do research before making that statement.
Obviously, the hyperbolic headline was meant to catch the attention of readers and draw traffic. But it also reminded me of how often I have been hearing similar lines from people around me. Especially those who claim to have a keen interest in technology.
Consumers want to be wowed. Consumers want the “next big thing”. When the iPhone 5s, the new iPads and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 came out, people yawned and said these were just the same devices with minor improvements. There were not striking changes.
The iPhone 5s only got a better camera and a fingerprint sensor. It also came with iOS 7 but other iPhones got that too. The iPad Air was just slimmer and lighter. The new iPad mini got a Retina display and a better processor. The Galaxy Note 3 had upgraded internals and some slight changes. All these are no big deals.
To a consumer who is more likely to compare produces based on the specs, these changes do not matter much. Oh, that’s just a few milligrams lighter or millimetres thinner compared to the older model. When it comes to more technical aspects such as comparing the cameras, processors or even screen resolutions, they go with the bigger number, the better.
You want to impress this crowd? Go crazy with the numbers. Just ask Nokia with its 41 megapixel cameras on the Lumia 1020. I heard a lot of praises from people who have no idea what megapixels mean. Bigger is better. When I ask them about sensor size and whether the images will be grainy, they stare at me blankly.
Quartz’s article works to reinforce the layperson’s perception that 2013 was a bad year in technology. That is lazy journalism. As Gruber and Malik pointed out in their articles, there were many reasons to celebrate technology in 2013.
Quartz was in a position to educate its readers about the achievements in the past year. But it chose not to conduct an in-depth research and merely echo the voices of the average consumers.