/ Technology

Embrace technological advances, don’t pick holes in them

Ben Stevens holding a picture of himself on the iPad

What is it with tech journalists who are so eager to find fault with new developments in technology? If manufacturers are making important advances, like the iPad and 3D TV, we should be celebrating them.

I hear many critics of the Apple iPad describing it as an ‘over-inflated iPhone’ or (as it doesn’t make calls) an over-inflated iPod Touch.

Yes, this is accurate, but the tone with which these unenlightened critics make their comparisons implies that Apple has committed some kind of awful crime.

Ask many iPhone or iPod Touch users what they do with their handsets and they’re likely to say watching video, surfing the web and writing emails. And each of these tasks would be vastly improved on a 9.7″ screen rather than a 3.5″ – all that’s compromised is portability.

Give us intelligent criticism

And the portability question only comes down to individual preference and personal usage. A farmer wouldn’t want to use a Ferrari to pull a plough, but he couldn’t argue that a tractor beats the Italian sports car when it comes to road driving. They each meet different needs – despite doing similar jobs.

Apple has its disproportionate share of fanboys, but there are many journalists who lap up the opportunity of big corporation whacking. Likening the iPad to an iPhone or iPod, however, is merely an accurate comparison rather than a devilishly well-informed criticism.

And on the subject of ill-informed put-downs, I’m getting pretty tired of producing a false smile each time I hear complaints about 3D TV. It’s hardly clever to say that all one has to do to experience 3D is live in the real and very three dimensional world. Come on – do these haughty critics see blue Avatars day in, day out trying to save the world?

I wonder if the heritage of such criticism included the damning of the National Portrait Gallery when it opened by exclaiming that if all you wanted to do was look at people, then you may as well just walk the streets.

Technology’s future is bright

The iPad and 3D TV are huge strides forward in consumer technology and I’m all the more excited that they both arrived in the same year. In years to come the iPad may fold away into your pocket and 3D TV might have developed into holographic TV.

Rather than criticising these bold moves by consumer electronic manufacturers, I think we should be raising our hats to them.


3D Imaging for portable devices has a worthwhile future. 3D cinema likewise if you like animation.
3D Television, however, I fear not. We are not going to see news and current affairs broadcasting 3D any time soon. And remember the licence fee has just been fixed for six years, so I doubt Johnny BBC will be investing in lots of unproven broadcast kit at the moment.

Chris says:
14 November 2010

Heres an elephant in the room. I dont like 3d tv, wont buy one, think its a technical dead end& will go the way of betamax – it might be possible….but really !

I agree with those who feel it is right to question supposed new developments such as those outlined above. I have seen, or rather sat through a couple of recent 3D films, they ended after a while, thank goodness. The headache lasted longer,so not so thank goodness.
The main reason for 3D TV is to sell TVs to those with spare cash. I am sure that other niche products, iPhones, Ipads and the like,are fine for those with a real need that they satisfy, but for me, thanks but no thanks.
Why do I need to be able to receive a 1001 spam mails wherever and whenever I am about? I certainly do not suddenly feel the need to send of a few e-mails when busy driving or doing some other rather more absorbing activity. Oh just changing the shower pump here is a picture…no, I think not, the iPhone hates water anyway and who cares if I am changing the shower pump, or the washing machine motor for that matter.

I know that this is not the right place for such reports, but the Which Web sites is not working well tonight. Incredibly slow when it works and throwing up proxy server errors when you try to post a comment.
Sorry to take over the thread like this but perhaps someone can comment or call out the ‘fixers’?

I have similar problems with the website, it was particularly bad last Tuesday morning. Still plays up intermittently. As you say, very slow loading and/or proxy server errors.
I eventually thought it was either my poor broadband connection, my computer or even my browser (internet explorer).

Hi there
Thanks for your comments – and apologies to everyone experiencing these problems. We are well aware of the issues here at Which? as we’ve been experiencing them too, so we know how frustrating it is. Please bear with us – our technical team is doing everything they can to get things back on track. Our new server has just arrived and work has started on getting the site put onto that, which should mean a much faster site.
Once again, really sorry that this is causing difficulties in the meantime but thanks for telling us!

podra says:
16 November 2010

Well said. I applaud the iPod Touch and the iPod, both of which are well differentiated from the iPhone and are form factors in their own right. I’m not a normal Apple fanboy, Microsoft has been attempting to hit the mark with Windows Mobile and Tablet PCs for more than 12 years … but its taken Apple to finally show the way.

The key word is ADVANCES.

I love my iMac, my iPhone, my iPod, my digital projector ………… and they are all technological advances which I fully applaud.

What I hate is the tat that we are forever being pressurised into buying (in some cases which is forced upon us) flying a flag of “Technologically advanced” but in fact being a technological white elephant.

I speak primarily of household appliances like washing machines with “Fuzzy Logic” which promise to do everything for you (including make a cup of tea … well almost!) but in fact don;t actually wash properly, don’t rinse, don’t spin properly and use up to quadruple the energy of ancient ones that were not even digitally controlled, let alone “fuzzy logic”.

Likewise gas boilers that are supposed to save the earth (literally) but in fact simply won’t work in cold weather (go figure that one!!!!) and cost more to run than 32 year old ones.

There are thousands of examples out there.

The point is, if the product REALLY IS a technological ADVANCE, then let’s all welcome it with open arms and celebrate the development.

But if “Technologically advanced” is a badge stuck on a piece of rubbish, lets say so and say so loudly. We should not be ashamed or afraid to make a huge fuss if something is not what it claims to be, but equally we should sing just as loudly in praise of things that really are good.

Wizward says:
18 November 2010

The iPad is a classic example of over-exuberance for a device that is probably consciously short of its potential for proprietary marketing reasons. Apple and its shareholders are free to exploit this in a free market but why are so many consumers fooled by this? The Samsung Galaxy Tab appears to address most of the obvious built-in technical deficiencies of the iPad (no 3g, no camera, no micro-SD memory slot, no Flash support, no multi-tasking etc etc).

It’s immediate success is testament to the well-known theory that there’s one born every minute!