Listen, Google and Apple, this is not how you reanimate obsolete technology!

apple google reanimate obsolete technology headerIt’s official. We’ve run out of ideas. After years of developing products that make our everyday lives easier and more efficient, tech giants like Google and Apple have apparently decided the next wave of the future looks a lot like our past. Yes, the next wave of technology is (wait for it)… watches and glasses. We’re going to have watches and glasses everybody!? Hooray!

Regarding Google Glass, not since Navin Johnson has someone had the bright idea to update the 800+ year-old eyesight improving contraption, so kudos to Google for being in great company. Besides the fact that they look patently ridiculous, Glass seems an odd choice for Google, since most people don’t want to wear glasses so badly that many choose to have elective surgery instead. The only emerging market for glass wearers seems to be NBA players, but if they’re going to sell to that group they need to make big bright frames without lenses at all.

It’s wireless! You don’t need to plug it in, because now it runs on fossil fuels!

As for the Apple iWatch, they already make a timepiece. It’s in the phone they sold me. Are they going to stop selling iPhones?? Is this product an iPhone replacement? Why on Earth did everyone spend the last few decades packing everything we needed into the smart phone if the benefits are now going to be disassembled and sold separately? Is the iThermometer next?? Or iCalculator?

Despite my reservations, you can’t argue with either company’s track record. So I’m sure other companies are looking for ways to compete with Apple and Google’s retro-tech future. Here are a few ideas that I’d like to pitch:

The Electronic Pencil

Sure, no one really writes anymore, but that’s because the pencil has not kept up with the times. Imagine a writing device that never runs out of lead and erases with ease with no smudging on paper. Also it could double as a rectal thermometer and/or Karaoke microphone. Now we just have to inform the consumer as to what paper is.

The Answering Mini-Machine

You’re out of the house at your local record store so how are people going to get in touch with you?? “A cell phone,” you say? That would have worked before you traded yours in for an iWatch. Good thing you have your trusty answering machine on your landline. But how do we update the answering machine for the next generation?? We shrink it down in size and make it mobile, small enough that you could clip it on to your belt. Like a beeper, only with … well, mostly it’s like a beeper.

The Internal Combustion Engine

Everyone’s going green. We’ll go the other way. Sure, the Internal Combustion Engine requires fossil fuels to run, is economically impractical as gas prices rise, and it pollutes the environment, contributing to climate change or as the Tea Party calls it, “God’s Sauna.” But with this updated version we’ll include a Foursquare feature so you’re whereabouts can be updated to Facebook and Twitter. You don’t think that’s impressive?? Well, you will when your car makes also status updates, takes photos, and befriends other cars in the neighborhood all by itself! This never ends badly!

The Mobile Fax Machine

You typed up a few documents on your trusty typewriter and now have a few pages of paper that you need to be sent to another location for review. Now I know what you’re saying … “Seriously, what is this ‘paper’ you keep talking about?” We’ll get to that in a minute. Just marvel at how you can now have the stuff received by someone, anywhere else in the world, nearly instantly, on their own paper! How is this different an old school fax machine? Simple: it’s wireless. You don’t need to plug it in, because now it runs on fossil fuels!


A long time ago, before the advent of monitors and touch screens, this is what we wrote on. We made it by cutting down trees, and we’re not updating it a single bit, because trees are assholes.

Laser Discs

We’re not updating these, either. I just feel like we never really gave ‘em a shot, you know?

Seriously, stop backpedaling

Personally, I think all these ideas are winners. Are they retro enough to compete with Apple and Google? Probably not. But that won’t keep me from taking people’s money on Kickstarter, so start contributing now!

Look; I understand the relentless need to innovate, and I’ll admit that iWatch and Google Glass sound sort of cool in theory. But in practice? Come on; who really wants to walk around looking like this?

Even DeLorean owners are like, “Dude, that guy’s pretty douchey.”?

These are not the next great ideas. They’re not even the last ones. They’re like Reebok “Pump”, New Coke, and Sting’s solo work: ideas born from bad science fiction’s notion of the future, one we’ve long since passed.

If Apple and Google insist on looking backward, the least they could do is avoid teching out tired ideas and focus on the cool ones.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.


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