2019, the worst year for new personal tech since... 2018

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by lovelaptops, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I posted the piece below in another thread and said I might start a thread with this title. After getting 7 likes (my personal record!) and numerous responses, I decided this could be a thread worth starting, so here goes:

    Seriously, there has been no meaningful innovation in any area that effects performance, features, price/value for so many years that, for most use cases, I'm hard pressed to say why anyone would find compelling reason to make major changes to their tech arsenal since 2017 or 2016. Even such things as Intel's quad core U series chipsets or Apple's A12, while providing nice benchmark bumps, undoubtedly few make/break must-have performance gains for use cases at a given price pt. Truly, what are we left with other than incremental improvements to existing products? And the solution of the leaders: sell fewer products at increasingly outrageous prices (deciding to lie to Wall Street about it) and try to bend the price elasticity of demand curve; that's what I call ingenious engineering (financial!) at its best!

    I'm not saying there haven't been a few notable advancements, but when the best and brightest of the tech industry are mostly focused on spying on their customers for more data to sell and minds to corrupt, cooperating with autocratic governments to stay in their markets and selling the same old stuff with features removed (ports, headphone jacks, decent keyboards) at increasingly absurd prices, the best I can say about the whole industry is: good thing products last pretty long so you can just keep what you have and put your money to better use elsewhere. If you really crave something new and different I highly recommend Swappa and ebay, where you can buy the model you didn't choose in 2017 or 2018 for 40% of the cost!

    In case it wasn't clear, I'm talking about you, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, HP, Google, Amazon. One the other hand, nVidia, One Plus: gold stars!

    Your comments, disagreements, links to good writing on the subject, etc, welcomed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  2. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I started this theme in another thread, saying that I was considering starting a new thread as I just have. This was a response post that does a better job than I did describing the issue, so I quote it here.

    By @Tams :
    And I think we're all going to suffer from our collective hubris. Ironically (?) some of the features that have now/are being phased out will be what we need to use and what we should be using.
    Removable batteries - no wasting resources on getting entirely new devices. Headphone jacks - no wasting power using wireless and fewer devices that need batteries (and are nowadays therefore disposable). Plastic - more sustainable plastic is available and it's more durable, hence devices needing outright replacing less. MicroSD cards - less demand for outright new devices. Normal charging (okay that hasn't gone, but fast charging wastes more energy and damages batteries).

    We are all going to have to become more sustainable. Companies are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they won't be able to keep on producing so much new ****. The sooner they start moving most of their profit-making enterprises to accessories for their devices (batteries, cases, modular upgrades) and services the better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  3. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    I agree with a lot of the statements here. Some thoughts on tech changes and general gadget wishes below. It became an extended whine, but I know @lovelaptops doesn't mind verbose posts. :D

    TL;DR, I'm sticking with what I got!
    __

    Phones: nothing new
    I am anti-notch and pro-headphone jack. But I'm also pro iOS for it security and reliability. Result: I'm kind of stuck. I already lost the headphone jack since swapping my 6S Plus for a iPhone 7 plus. As of now Apple offers nothing newer that I want. Worse, I don't see that changing, so maybe next year I'll head over to Android, the Google Spy system. Ugh.

    Laptops: if anything, losing features
    I've been looking to see if there's anything exciting coming from Lenovo in the X1 line, but I'm not impressed. Looking at the 4th gen X1 Yoga they reduced the footprint a bit, but it's the same weight, and they removed the microSD card slot. Kind of pathetic. The X1 Yoga has held the same weight for 3 years. Really? I love the Yoga form factor and the ability to open the system up and swap the SSD, but honestly there's not much that I can think of that I need improved. Well, better screen aspect ratio and better quality control maybe. Lighter and more battery life would also be nice, but we know the challenge there.

    Tablets: already good enough, and losing features
    I've got an ageing iPad Pro 12.9" and it works just fine. Great collection of music production software on iOS, wouldn't want to live without it. I see no need to upgrade though. 128GB is plenty for me, CPU performance is great, and I just HAVE to have that headphone port to comfortably plug in my fancy studio headset while also connecting audio IO hardware via the lightning port. So I'm sticking with the old iPad Pro, and even then I can't charge while recording audio. Sigh. Edit: a ray of sunshine! The 2019 10.5" iPad Air supports the 1st gen pencil, has the A12 chip, has TouchID, and has a headphone jack. Praise be!!

    Smartwatches: held back by contracts and Qualcomm
    Qualcomm refuses to develop a modern watch SOC, so all Android smart watches kind of suck. I've been eyeing an Apple Watch 4 LTE, but the main cell providers in the US have colluded to make the watch line $10/month. In the early days TMo increased their pricing from $5/mo to $10/mo, how's that for capitalism.. I'm not willing to pay $120/yr for an occasional call, so I'm sticking with my Garmin smart watch. It doesn't have LTE, but at least it offers week-long battery life.

    Glimmers of hope for tech spending
    The only area where I see movement is the lightweight Windows tablet. I can't wait for the Surface Go WOA tablet, which will hopefully be lighter with way longer battery life. And maybe I'll splurge on an external SSD for faster backups, those are becoming affordable. I could do with a larger FOV on my VR headset, but the main contender (pimax 5k/8k) uses LED rather than AMOLED, and I want my high contrast ratio.

    In short, it's a bad time for tech purchases, but a great time for my wallet!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  4. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    I was "invited" over here by @JoeS and I see my buddy @lovelaptops started this retrospective and yet prophetic observation on 2018 and 2019. The reason Joe lured me over here was my post in the Surface Book 2 Discussion Thread (13.5" and 15" models) thread which came to the realization that those of us that rarely stray outside of productivity software have little to gain from anything beyond a 2017 i5 with 8-16gb of RAM. With the extra headroom things open/switch nearly as fast as the latest hot processors.

    @Tams made a great point: "The sooner they start moving most of their profit-making enterprises to accessories for their devices (batteries, cases, modular upgrades) and services the better." That is EXACTLY what Apple and Microsoft have been doing. At the end of this month Apple drops "Apple News" a subscription service to join Apple TV and Apple Music to hose you for a combined $45/month for family subscriptions (assuming News bumps individual to family for $5 just like TV and Music). A family bucket of iCloud (2TB) adds another $10/month. MS is no better with Office 365, XBox, and storage as well. And that doesn't include the accessory market for wearables, VR goggles/glasses, AirPods and Beats/Surface headphones, Powermat, and XBox accessories. In fact, mark my words, the next big frontier for both will be private VPN services for consumers.

    10-20 years from now, when we finally have the technology for Westworld-like folding devices, then real innovation will occur. Until then, not so much...
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
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  5. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    IIRC, Windows Central ran a piece that bemoaned the lack of CPU performance improvements over the last decade. I don't remember the details, but the bottom line was that Intel's current CPU chips were not significantly more capable than Intel's CPU chips from 10 years ago. I think that strides have been made in power consumption, but not computing throughput.

    This isn't the article that I remember, but it'a a pretty good discussion of some of the issues. Note that transistor count has leveled off in the last seven (or so) years:

    https://www.maketecheasier.com/why-cpu-clock-speed-isnt-increasing/

    (Courtesy of MakeTechEasier site)
     
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  6. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    They had better make their devices drool-proof by then, as I will probably be using mine from bedside at Holly Acres Convalescent Home.:hi:
     
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  7. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    I'll be happy to just not be pushing up daisies by then...
     
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  8. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    While I do agree with the sentiment in this thread, I'll say that foldable phones recently announced give me hope. Once they have that working, they can begin the process of applying it to larger screens.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
     
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  9. KlickSter123

    KlickSter123 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Agreed. Probably a few more years, but it's worth the loooong wait.
     
  10. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    Quick check-in, how’s everybody’s 2019 going? Despite my lengthy claims in this thread, I actually did get an Apple Watch 4 LTE as well as a WOA tablet (Galaxy Book2) and switched my 12.9” iPad Pro for a 10.5” iPad Pro. So much for going easy on the wallet.. Still hanging on to that 2017 X1Y3 though, so at least that part is going OK. Anybody else making any major upgrades, or waiting for more exciting tech releases?
     
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