Innovation isn’t dead; people are just slow to catch it

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Setting up
Humans react to innovative things like the Apple Watch fairly predictably.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

If you’re one of the people out there who haven’t taken the plunge on an Apple Watch, you’re not alone. While Apple’s latest wearable has gotten a ton of press and sold really well, a lot of the rank and file out there might think it’s a toy, or only for rich folks.

In fact, says journalist Morgan Housel over at Time, most people throughout history have pretty predictable responses to new things.

He has a list of reactions to new innovative inventions, each of which are reactions we’ve all heard (or had) when the Apple Watch (or the iPad, or the iPhone) was launched.

“The typical path of how people respond to life-changing inventions is something like this,” says Housel:

I’ve never heard of it.
I’ve heard of it but don’t understand it.
I understand it, but I don’t see how it’s useful.
I see how it could be fun for rich people, but not me.
I use it, but it’s just a toy.
It’s becoming more useful for me.
I use it all the time.
I could not imagine life without it.
Seriously, people lived without it?

Sound familiar? I think my parents might be at stage three regarding the Apple Watch, while I think we can all agree that we’re at the final stage when it comes to smartphone technology.

I started at the third stage when I heard about the Apple Watch, to be honest. Really, did I need a smaller iPhone on my wrist? I hate watches anyway. How useful will it be?

Several weeks later, I feel a little underdressed when I leave home without the Watch. I can keep track of notifications even in a movie theater to know whether I need to step out to respond; I can turn on some music with Siri and control the volume with the Digital Crown right from my wrist. There are countless reasons I love my Apple Watch now.

The same happens to most folks, says Housel. Even when they heard of the crazy innovation called an airplane.

Closer to home, Housel found an amazing 1985 New York Times article dismissing, of all things, the laptop computer.

Or take this amazing 1985 New York Times article dismissing the laptop computer:

People don’t want to lug a computer with them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the sports or business section of the newspaper. Somehow, the microcomputer industry has assumed that everyone would love to have a keyboard grafted on as an extension of their fingers.

Yes, there are a lot of people who would like to be able to work on a computer at home. But would they really want to carry one back from the office with them? It would be much simpler to take home a few floppy disks tucked into an attache case.

So next time you feel that instant dismissal toward any new “toy” that Apple or other tech companies release, just know you’re not alone. And when you feel silly later admitting to the fact that you were wrong, cut yourself a little slack and enjoy your Apple Watch.

Source: Time