When you think about technological advancements over the past decade, it’s been pretty astounding. The development of smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, and consumer tech in general has been exponential—so much so that there are some who feel that we’ve reached a point where innovation will inevitably start to slow down from here on out.
But I personally disagree with that. Even if the Samsung Galaxy Fold crashed and burned (at least, the first iteration did), it’s cause for celebration. More importantly, it’s been a clear indicator that the notion that technological evolution is slowing down is entirely false.
To further reinforce this point, take a look at the devices of the past decade. You have some pretty revolutionary stuff—and Time Magazine has just posted a top 10 list of the most important and influential devices of the past decade. It isn’t listed in any particular ranking order, but Time says that the list is curated with gadgets that have changed the way we think, and the impact of each device on industries has been taken into account.
Apple sees the iPad as the future of computing—something that has been brushed off by many over the years. But it’s hard to argue with the significance of the iPad as a midway device between a smartphone and a laptop.
They’ve recently pushed out iPadOS, which is essentially iOS 13 packaged in a UX that’s a lot more optimised for a tablet (as opposed to a smartphone). There’s still plenty of work to do here, but it’s undoubtedly a big step in the right direction.
The earlier generations of iPads looked a little too much like enlarged versions of iPhones to be taken seriously as laptop replacements, but the iPads of today—especially the iPad Pro—are used as mobile computers by many.
App development and maturity (there’s even Photoshop for iPad now) has played a big part in this, of course. But Apple has also been consistently pushing iPad as a mobile computer—besides iPadOS, they’ve included the Smart Connector (for a keyboard) on the cheapest iPad in the range, and they’ve also rolled out Apple Arcade to extend the gaming capabilities of the device.
And not to forget the Apple Pencil, arguably one of the best things about the iPad. The Pencil is, by general consensus, the best stylus in the market. I can personally vouch for the capabilities of the Apple Pencil, and I’ve seen how impressive the Apple Pencil functions as a tool for illustrators and designers.
“Each gadget tells the story of a new way of thinking”
The remaining gadgets on the list are pretty impressive as well—although you may not agree with all of them. Remember, it’s not a list of the most successful devices per se, the selection is based on the influence and importance of each device over the past decade or so.
The Tesla Model S has “reshaped the trajectory of the automotive industry”, according to Time. The early-day perception of electric cars has drastically changed, and that’s something that Tesla has clearly played a huge role in. There’s also the Raspberry Pi—with over 25 million units sold, the Pi has been a genuinely revolutionary device.
Google’s Chromecast device also makes the list–and this is a choice that I fervently agree with. It’s been an affordable and convenient way to watch (up to 4K) mobile content on a big screen, and it’s still evolving with the introduction of Google Stadia.
You’ve also got Amazon Echo, DJI Phantom, the Apple Watch, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller that’s designed for gamers with limited mobility. On the gaming side, the Nintendo Switch also makes the list.
The Switch was expected to be a replacement for the Gameboy, but it is really so much more than that. It looks at gaming with a different approach, bringing back the “couch co-op” fun that many of us missed from the past, and the modular nature of the Nintendo Switch has been pretty innovative as well.
And of course, we have a second gadget from Apple to make the list. The AirPods’ inevitable inclusion in Time’s top 10 ensures that Apple is the only company to have multiple devices in the list.
You could argue (and I would begrudgingly agree) that the AirPods brought TWS headphones to the mainstream market, and they are certainly iconic in that right. Time also considered the “social significance” of the AirPods, and says that they have become a status symbol.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
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