Technology and the dangers of oversimplification

I was reading another thoughtful piece by Vlad Savov at the Verge and I thought I could write a comment there. Quoting Savov when he was explaining the current trend in launch events:

I think we lose something (maybe not entirely tangible) when we adapt the presentation of technological products to the lowest-common-denominator audience. Apple obviously doesn’t agree, and it set the tone for simplifying technology and making it seem less daunting — but maybe we’ve overcorrected.

That’s one of the big ideas I really agree with, so the initial comment at The Verge grew, and it has become what I think could be a post here. There it goes:

I write about tech for a living too and the dicotomy is there: I love tech spechs and I can really appreciate that tech evolution you have talked about. The problem is, not many people can. The Verge readers and my readers can, of course, but this is the exception that proves the rule: that my mother, or my neighbour, or my friend just want to know if the device feels right.

This is something I’d say you own Walter Mossberg understood a lot sooner than many other tech journalists that focused too much on specs. Fortunately we can have the best of both worlds as tech readers: we can enjoy both a Mossberg review but also a more technical one here and there by other editors. AnandTech usually fits there for me, for example, but there are even deeper resources for each category that can really get even more technical that we’d love to.

Launch events have become a show. And lately not one for nerds. The oversimplification is also dangerous: I like the first Jony Ive videos when they started to be included in Apple launches, but I’ve started to hate them. My impression now is that Ive (and Apple) is even laughing at me and other technical users. They’re not, of course. They are just selling their products.

The problem is, they’re not selling them to me, but to “normal” (I’m sure you get me) people. It’s quite difficult to find certain tech details for some products (the RAM included on the different iPhone models is a good example), and that’s another showstopper for people that love specs, and benchmarks, and that kind of data that really puts that part of the equation in context.

Author: Javier Pastor

Javier Pastor is a technology journalist that has been writing about tech since 1999. He started writing for PC Actual in Spain, the leading printed magazine in the country, and in 2006 started to write online. First as the Chief Editor for The Inquirer ES, and after that for MuyComputer until 2013. That year he became senior editor at Xataka, the leading tech news website in Spanish with over 5M uniques/month (Aug'15, comScore). Xataka is part of Weblogs SL, a blog network that gets over 40M uniques/month and that has a wide catalog of publications in Spanish. The Unshut is his new venture and allows him to express his opinions and thoughts on everything touched by technology, and follows what he has been doing at Incognitosis, his personal blog, since 2005.