The biggest change that occurred in the past 20 years is the switch from analog to digital technology. A bell-shaped curve was formed for each technology in the middle of the 20th century. There was a slow growth out of the digital era, then a growth in the analog era, and then a growth in the digital era. Many of the same trends are still present today. So, a bell-shaped curve for digital technology? Probably not.
Like the bell curve, there are many different patterns and trends to the next big technology. In fact, the next big innovation could be the next big invention. It’s not like the technology was totally invented in the 1980s, or it didn’t get a chance to grow a bit during the previous century. It’s just that this is the only one that happens to be in the middle of a cycle. It’s a cycle that’s been around for a long time.
Think of the next big technology as being one of those things that you can’t predict when it will be invented. Sure, there are trends, and there will be certain technologies that will be in your future, but a technology will only be invented if there are enough people who are working on it. If there aren’t enough people working on it, then there is no way to make it work and there is no way to invent it.
The pattern of innovation is pretty much the same in any technology. It starts with a few people working on a new gadget, and then people all over the world start working on it. The fact is that the majority of the innovators that we use to invent new technologies are not exactly the ones who are working on it. The technology that ends up being the most popular or the one that wins the most awards is usually the one that took the least amount of time to develop.
Another pattern that we can see is that the innovation cycle (the first year of the innovation cycle in this case) is much shorter than the time it takes to develop the innovation. Take for example, the first iPhone. It took the first person to come up with the idea of a phone, and the rest of the world to come up with the actual phone that he or she created. The iPhone took about five years to develop, and then the next year saw the first consumer models.
That’s almost exactly how it was with the first iPhone. Now imagine Apple had started developing the iPhone six months earlier. Now there are hundreds of thousands of phones in the world, with hundreds of thousands of manufacturers and hundreds of thousands of apps and thousands of developers. The same thing is happening with the iPad, with the development cycle taking less than three years.
The iPad, in fact, is the only product that has really followed this bell-shaped pattern. Apple’s first iPad was announced in September 2006, and it was released in November 2010. It took three years, two months and 14 days to develop.
The iPad has been on a steady growth cycle since its debut in late 2010. Apple has been releasing new models a month apart, and the last one, the iPad Mini, hit the market in November 2011. The iPad grew from a product line of only eight to a total of 15 products. The iPad Mini, on the opposite end of the spectrum, was released in October 2013. The iPad Mini grew from a total of 11 products to 13 in less than three years.
The iPad Mini, which debuted in October 2013, grew from a line of 11 products to 13 in less than three years.
We’ve seen the same pattern in the past for our mobile phones. The first Apple iPhone came out in 2007 and grew from a total of seven models (two with a 2G model) to 13 in less than three years. The iPhone 4S came out in September 2008 and grew from a total of six models (two 3G, three 2G) to 13 in less than three years.