CES 2019 is a kind of year that sort of screams “we’re ready for
the products that really work.” In that spirit, CES 2019 is a
year where products are close, but seem a product manager
iteration away from being a product that can reach a tipping point
of customer satisfaction and utility. Products work in a “thread
the needle” sort of way, but a lot of details and real life
quickly cause things to become frustrating.
This feeling for me is part of the cycle of CES. I like to think
of it as the universal remote problem — everything starts to
work but to really work you long for that one simplified control
point. The challenge is making that while all the other pieces are
still moving. That’s the nature of Consumer Electronics (tech in
general) which is that there are many parts moving at different
velocities and in slightly different vectors — it means sometimes
we go through phases where we seem really close.
I’ve still never attended CES, but if I ever do, my goal would be to do what Sinofksy does in these annual reports — to try to see the forest for the trees, to gauge the gestalt of the tech world at this moment. Figure out what is nonsense (e.g. 3D TV mania a few years ago) and what is a legit trend (voice driven interfaces today).
Sinofsky does this really, really well. It’s a long read but CES is a big show.
★ Thursday, 17 January 2019