October 24, 2011

On The Verge of Convergence?

It's been about 15 years now that we've been waiting for "convergence" -- when the TV and the computer would join hands and walk blissfully down the aisle.

Out chattering digerati keep telling us it's right around the corner, and like much of what they've told us, it's nowhere in sight. Chalk up another loser to knucklehead futurology.

Not only has convergence not occurred, we have experienced enormous divergence.

Whereas we used to have one or two media gadgets, we now have handfuls. Our power strips are so loaded down with plugs I don't know how they don't explode.

It is not unusual these days for someone to have a TV, a desk-top computer, a laptop computer, an iPod, a smart-phone, and a tablet.

Where the convergence prophets have been wrong is in assuming that because companies could make computational devices with multiple uses, we would want to use them that way. In fact, for the most part what has happened is that we have favorite uses for different devices.

We define how we use these gadgets not by what they can do, but by how it's most convenient and how we're most comfortable using them.

According to advanced reports on Walter Isaacson's book about Steve Jobs (Steve Jobs: A Biography) Jobs told him that he had broken the code on convergence and that Apple was working on a new idea for TV.
“It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
I guess we'll see. One report said this device would be ready by the end of 2012.

Thus far convergence has been nothing but chit chat. But if there's any company that can make it happen, my money's on Apple.

I will be speaking on Thursday night in Kansas City. If you're in the area here's some info on the event.

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