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The age of “Good Enough”

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the concept of "good enough" technology, where further advancements in hardware and software may not necessarily provide significant practical benefits to users. It explores how the tech industry is reaching limits in areas like screen resolution, processing power, and internet speeds, and how companies are shifting towards creating luxury and status-symbol products rather than focusing on tangible improvements.

🙋 Q&A

[01] What's Next When Everything Works Fine?

1. What is the main idea behind the concept of "good enough" technology?

  • The article suggests that at some point, last year's technology will be "good enough" for most users, and further advancements may not provide significant practical benefits.
  • It draws parallels to the car industry, where innovation has shifted towards luxuries and bragging rights rather than practical specifications.
  • The author argues that we are starting to hit limits in technology that have nothing to do with the technology itself, but rather with the constraints of our own bodies and the environment.

2. How does the author categorize the features of a modern smartphone? The author splits the features of a modern smartphone into three categories:

  • Practical: Features that meaningfully improve day-to-day life
  • Aspirational: Features that are desirable but not essential
  • Status symbols: Features that are primarily for showing off

3. What are some examples of "good enough" technology mentioned in the article?

  • The iPad Pro, which the author considers to be a deeply excellent tablet where further hardware improvements are unlikely to be meaningful.
  • 4K resolution TVs, which the author argues are sufficient for most people's needs, and 8K resolution is unnecessary for the average home setup.

[02] The Limits of Technology

1. What are some of the limits imposed on technology by our own bodies and the environment?

  • The human brain's ability to process information is limited to around 50 bits per second, while computers can handle much more.
  • The human eye has a limited field of view and resolution, making high-resolution displays like 8K TVs unnecessary for most people.
  • Physical constraints like the size of phone screens and the weight of laptop batteries limit further advancements.

2. How does the author view the role of 5G technology and its potential "killer app"?

  • The author suggests that 5G's extremely high bandwidth is a solution in search of a problem, as current 4G networks are already sufficient for most video streaming needs.
  • The author is skeptical that a "killer app" for 5G will emerge, as the tech industry's tendency to believe that "if you build it, they will come" may not always hold true.

[03] The Shift to Luxury and Status Symbols

1. How has Apple adapted to the "Age of Good Enough"?

  • The author suggests that Apple has anticipated the "Age of Good Enough" and has pivoted towards becoming a luxury brand, focusing on design, materials, and status rather than significant functional improvements.
  • The author notes that Apple has not introduced a new major product line since 2016, but has continued to make incremental improvements, such as the inclusion of satellite-based emergency beacons on iPhones.

2. What does the author suggest technology companies should focus on in the future?

  • The author argues that technology companies should focus on solving real problems that improve people's lives, such as safety and health, rather than just linearly improving existing technology.
  • The author suggests that true innovation and change often involves risk, which technology companies have been hesitant to take on.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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