This Decade in Mobile

Photo by Roberto Nickson

Ten Years of Tech


We went back and forth about how to talk about the decade. Every columnist and their brother was doing a “best of” — some about which products were most influential and some about which were most successful.

But we wanted to tell you which products meant the most to us personally. And after careful thought and a lot of long Slack discussions we realized something: This was the decade of Apple.

No discussion of transformative tech could exist without the Apple Watch. It’s hard to name a single mobile device that has had a bigger impact on people’s lives. When it debuted, it seemed to be just an advanced heart-rate monitor that would let you check your email. But its evolution has made it one of the most powerful health-tracking tools in the world.

It has encouraged people to become active. It has helped people (us included) take control of their health. It has saved lives. And now, with the announcement of unprecedented health studies and partnerships, it will over the next few years, become one of the most important sources of data on heart health, hearing loss, and women’s health.

Not bad.  

The other night our Content Director, who was waiting for the delivery of her new iPad Pro said, “I have no working iPad at the moment. What is this, the 1930s?” And she was mostly kidding, but for a pretty expensive device that at first glance seems like a totally unnecessary luxury, the iPad has become absolutely indispensable in our lives.

And, wouldn’t you know it, the first iPad was released in 2010. 

There were almost no native apps for the first gen iPad. Now, there are over a million, covering everything from productivity to games to art.

The iPad went from a clunky (but still incredible for its time) giant iPhone to a sleek, light, device with more single-threaded processing power than nearly all shipping macs, no fan, and a battery that lasts through just about anything. iPads don’t crash. iPads don’t get viruses. Their HDs are stable. You can give one to your children, or to your luddite parents. They are both easy to use and impressively advanced.

And with the Apple Pencil, a whole new world has opened up. Suddenly, your iPad replaces your Wacom tablet. And Apple’s integration with Adobe makes the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil a designer’s dream. By every account, no competitor has been able to match the responsiveness and accuracy, and no one we spoke to has any inclination to keep trying any others.

For non-pros, the combination of the Pencil and iPad is just as useful, giving you the ability to sketch or take notes, learn to draw, or just scribble unflattering caricatures of your cat. Not that we’ve ever done that.

We could have listed more. But these are the products we use every single day, that make our lives and our work measurably better, more fun, and more creative. They bring us joy.

And isn’t that the point?

Happy new year. 


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