Read any basic book of Universal physics and you will be told that universe is expanding. Now I’m not going to go all intellectual and hypothesise what exactly it is expanding into, but rather draw an asymmetrical comparison with gadgets. Whilst the universe continues it’s expansion, in the realm of the gadget, small is king.
As time passes and newer, more exciting gadgets are introduced one of the first and most obvious specifications of any release is the size, and of course the more you can cram into the least possible space, generally, the better that particular advancement is seen to be.
For example, just a few years ago if you wanted to carry some music around with you it required a personal stereo that played either CD’s or cassettes, you would then need to carry adequate amounts of that media to ensure you had a suitably large selection to choose from. This eventually added up to a lot of space, usually requiring a bag to carry around the extra tapes, or discs required. Enter the MP3 player and suddenly your are able to carry a week plus worth of music, and a device to play it on, all in one pocket sized device.
When home computers were built they required entire rooms and massive cooling systems, of course now just about every desk and every home have their own computer that sits neatly in a small corner of one room, possibly with one device that will also sit inconspicuously under the desk and handle all the scanning, printing, faxing, and copying requirements.
This brings me to my point, are things getting too small? A while ago I read an article about a journalist who was lucky enough to be given a new MacBook Air to review, but who had managed to mis-place it. Of course you would never misplace a computer the size of a whole room, and even a desktop computer, due in large to its more stationary nature, would be difficult to lose. But a laptop, which does not necessitate cables and power sockets to be plugged into, and especially one that is so small it will happily fit into a manilla envelope is surely imminently easily misplaced? The conclusion that the reporter comes to is that it was accidentally ’recycled’ with a large stack of old newspapers. (All too easy when you consider the MacBook Air weighs in at only 3lbs /1.36kg, and Sunday papers with all their supplements are usually in excess of this)
Should we be worried? Are we just a few stages of downsizing away from having stories emblazoned across the papers about people accidentally getting their teeny mobile phones jammed in their ears, and other such tragedies? Not really. Like many folks who I have seen comment on the reporters article regarding his MacBook Air, I take it with a pinch of salt, and think maybe it’s just some good marketing concerning a ‘nearly’ event.
The bottom line is that gadgets will keep getting smaller because that’s what people want. They want convenience. They want to have the ability to take all the various devices they require with them wherever they go, and without resembling a fully laden pack donkey at the start of a very long trek. It’s one area of life where it is seen to be a greater status symbol to have the smallest device possible.