Consumerscope: The Future Already Happened
Even for analysts engrossed in industry-related intelligence, prognostication is typically more art than science. The secret, if one exists, involves a familiarity with today’s technology and anticipating what and where it will be tomorrow. This obliges us to apprehend why—and not just how—innovation occurs. Are the new products shaping consumer behavior or is consumer sentiment driving the creation of new products? The answer is complicated.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can appreciate the unprecedented trajectory of tablets capturing the spotlight seemingly overnight. As consumers got used to accessing content anywhere they pleased, we saw devices like smartphones grow more sophisticated. Suddenly, with portable devices enabling us to watch movies, listen to music and surf the web, a previously unimaginable market for high-priced headphones materialized.
Could anyone have predicted the ways that e-books, tablet computers and headphones—all products that had been around in various forms for years—quickly became indispensable? Was the iPad a revolutionary device or the savvy solution for what consumers desired, even before many of them could describe it? Only a few years ago home audio was considered a dead category, but now receivers are incorporating connectivity into their design, exploding last century’s paradigm. Blu-ray players are possibly more popular for their built-in streaming capability than for their superior images.