Innovation typically happens gradually, with many “breakthroughs” catching on more as a result of marketing than because of the breakthrough itself. Consider the iPad. Microsoft released virtually the same product almost a decade earlier—except that it was clunky, crashed all the time, wasn’t compatible with other devices, and so forth. In short, it was a dud. Then along came the iPad. Not only is it more than a glorified Microsoft tablet from the last decade, it is also the tablet perfected and marketed almost flawlessly.
Then there’s the GPS. For years, people would buy maps—not apps with maps—but actual paper maps. Then someone put two and two together. We could use the satellites launched into orbit in conjunction with a device that consumers would almost always be carrying around—the cell phone. The upshot: the two came together like chocolate and peanut butter.
Voice recognition and cognition are making their way into the mainstream. Siri and Google Voice are making major strides toward that end (for more information, this Huffington Post article is a good read). I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if by 2020 none of us were using a mouse or even a touch screen.
The newest perspective-changer (literally!) that I’ve come across is the Lytro. What is the Lytro, you may ask? Well, it’s probably best described as the future of cameras. Imagine taking a picture and focusing on what is most important to you later (i.e., after you have already taken the photo)? You might be thinking, “No way, that’s not possible.” Oh, contraire. This new camera is real. Now I’m sure that a hard-core DSLR mirrorless camera enthusiast would be quick to dismiss this innovation as a passing fad, “It could never replace the 27 lenses I need to take a wide variety of shots.” And as of today he or she would definitely be right. But it’s only a matter of time. Learn more about this cool concept.