NWR Is computer technology stuck on a plateau?

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Alex Rychlewski, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. I’m talking here about machines for the general public and not powerful, sophisticated ones for the worlds of finance, defense, public administration, bitcoins, etc.

    My iPad is, what, 5-6 years old. It works just fine. Why should I buy a new one?
    I also fail to see any significant improvements in successive generations of smartphones.
    Other than adding an extra hard disk, my PCs several years old cope just fine with all my needs.
    When was the last version of Windows or MS Office that really made a difference?

    Silicon Valley talks big, but where are all the earth-shaking innovations the media love to say are just around the corner?

    Of course, advances in software are another kettle of fish, but I am struck by the fact that part of the IT industry seems to be losing steam. Mind you, people like me are saving a lot of money by not needing to constantly upgrade.

    Best regards,
    Alex R.
  2. You might choose to upgrade your iPad if you wanted one that would work with a pencil.
    I think in terms of phones, I would upgrade if the camera was significantly better.
    In general, though, the technology seems pretty mature.
    Games are most probably the thing pushing the boundaries forward in terms of user interface (eg. goggles) and the pure CPU power required to render these complex 3D scenes.
    Otherwise, I suppose "AI" type stuff like voice control and integration with the home seem to be where the fun is to be had.
    Wearable technology (eg. watches) hasn't really taken off big-time. Health seems to be the most promising area there.
  3. My six year old ipad2 is considerably slower than it used to be, and a slouch compared to my phone. Consequently, I hardly use it these days.
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  4. Time to buy a new one, Simon, as an Apple shareholder...:D
    Mark Carrington likes this.
  5. Ah, so they don't only do it to iPhones, they also slow iPads to sell you the new unslowed version....
  6. How extraordinary. We've come full circle, then.
  7. Reminds me of that lovely old joke:

    Q: Did you hear about the constipated mathematician?
    A: He worked it out with a pencil.
  8. We're getting close to the point where silicon-based circuitry is physically incapable of fitting any more transistors into a given area. Further big jumps in processing power, storage capacity etc. won't happen until quantum computing takes off, and we're still a way off making that a commercial reality.

    Improvements in battery tech will be next.
  9. No point in inventing something new when you can make so much money from re-inventing something old. There is plenty of new technology waiting in the wings.
    Julian Seers-Martin likes this.
  10. To the original post. I think phones are slowly replacing computers (and torches, calculators, cameras, personal music players, credit cards, remote controls, etc.,) The screens fill the phones and can't get bigger unless we get bigger pockets. Now cheap Chinese phones are catching up to expensive flagship verson I don't see where it will go from here.
    Andrew Stevenson likes this.
  11. Apparently the update (Vs 12) that is coming out in August but can be tried as a beta is supposed to make significant improvements to Ipads even some of the older ones. The Sun (no connection - my brother sent me the article) has links to it. Caveats apply with beta versions obviously.
    Simon Grant likes this.
  12. I think my iPad is stuck on ios9 or thereabouts — it no longer offers me upgrades at the same time my phone downloads the next version. Grrr!
  13. They always say that the new version will speed up older (supported) devices, but I rarely find it to be true.
    I do wonder what makes these things slow down. I might try restoring my iPhone 6+ to factory settings just to see!
  14. I think you're on to something, Alex. Looking beyond Apple crippling its older tech (which is a different issue), I really haven't noticed any change in PC technology for a long time.

    The desktop that I'm using now is at least seven years old. It was upgraded to Windows 10 earlier this year, and is running just as well as when it was Windows 7.

    A remaining couple of Windows XP pcs at home still work perfectly fine. There are issues about security updates, but, tbh, they're rarely switched on. (Warren will be along shortly to suggest installing linux.) If anything more modern tech seems flakier. Since those XP machines were bought, I've gone through two laptops that have failed, and, I think, four mobile phones.

    Is all IT tech development going into mobile phones now?

    If I bought, say, a new Dell desktop, just how different would it be to this one 6/7 year old one?

    Does Moore's Law still apply, I wonder?

    As David Pugh says above, battery technology is surely the major area for development now, and not just for mobile phones, but also for motor vehicles and even national grid type operations, as we need to store the energy created by wind, wave and hydro power until it's needed.
  15. Sounds like tech is advancing but consumer needs aren’t (gamers aside).
    • You can't believe everything you read, but one industry specialist admitted in an article I saw recently the the difference between the G 6 standard and G5 is hardly impressive.

  16. You are getting more processing power through more processors on one chip. It wasn't so long ago that having two processor cores was pretty gee-whiz. Now my phone has eight. Not everything is appropriate for multi-threading however.

    Agreed, a lot of those. Though only up to a point, but if at that point it satisfies your need then why not? (e.g. the iPhone 6 torch puts out around 50 lumens. My torch does 2000 lumens, though if all you want to do is find the keyhole on a door then 2000lm is overkill).

    Maybe a better way of looking at things may be to say that smartphones do loads of stuff not very well but adequately. If you want to do serious photography, a DSLR is likely to turn in far better results and so on. The exception on your list is probably remote controls, which can actually be made better than the original.
  17. I was told once you don't need extra powerfor what you do but the advertisers do need you to have more power... so when you update your software, the advertiser may take more of the power to get you (I am not knowledgeable so correct me if I am wrong...) which leaves less for you...
  18. I’ve no idea what that means!
  19. Whilst 10nm processes were developed last year, we're only really just seeing commercial implementation of 14 and 12nm in the last 2 years. We'll reach the quantum tunnelling wall in 3 years or so I guess but we're a fair way off the commercial implications of that problem. I quite agree that the main issue we have in terms of implementing the power available, is battery technology.

    Yes, why wouldn't it?! It has nothing to do with software or the user experience sort of things that you comment on - which are mostly related to your personal needs. I really would keep those XP computers off the internet, by the way.

    This is probably the best answer to the OP - technology has advanced incredibly far in the last 3-4 years. Instant and secure phone unlocking with your fingerprint, for example. Now with the iPhone X (and surely more to come), interacting and unlocking your personal devices simply by looking at it? That's huge. It's just personal needs are starting to stagnate - or, none of these implementations have been paradigm shifts in the way that the first smartphones were, or the internet was.

    The next big steps are all in computer vision, VR and our devices learning to understand us with less/more casual direction (i.e. not regimented input via keyboards and mice). Voice controlled home anyone? It's a reality, and a cheap one at that. I already talk to my phone when I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about something, asking it to remind me in the morning. As batteries mature, the ability to implement more complexity/computational ability will get easier, and then I think we'll see a really big change.
  20. To an extent yes but also saying your 5 year old iPad works just fine means your getting old :)

    Seriously though the consumer processor race has slowed a little and Moore’s law lessened as hardware is pretty good for most applications. Old PCs can be greatly improved by one with a solid state drive (which should, and in my eyes is, mandatory. A hybrid drive as a minimum.) Newer iPads aren’t a sea change of difference but are certainly a lot faster and have better screens / speakers etc but you can wait longer before you must upgrade.

    Software and eco system has taken over and is the priority given the huge profits that Apple have shown the way in.
  21. Julian you are correct technology has advanced but the average user can be quite happy with slightly older hardware, some won’t really notice much and the differences at times seem minimal even though there are significant improvements.

    I’m very much towards latest tech and do appreciate it moving forward but it’s differentt to the simple processor and speed rates of years gone by.
  22. The Hybrid drives from Seagate have proven very unreliable, so definitely shell out for a Solid State Drive if you're looking to upgrade rather than replace, makes a huge difference to any older laptop or PC as Mike points out. Prices are slowly coming down too.

    Agree it's slowing down in terms of the 'need to upgrade' cycle for PC's and laptops. Gaming graphics are slowing as well. CPU's are getting more cores, RAM speeds slowing going up, but it's Solid State drives that have been the only real performance leap in the past 5 years or so.

    I wouldn't complain too much about being stuck with older versions of iOS though, like Windows 10, so-called progress seems more like a dogs breakfast of poor design and worse execution. Win 10 is getting better each update though, I feel they are finally listening to us!
  23. Built-in obsolescence is the next big thing, if it wasn't already.
    Nothing new works with older versions.

    An old XP machine is fine for Word & Excel, of course, as long as you don't try and update it.
  24. That reflects more being of a certain age I guess... you know, being comfortable with a battered old classic car on the drive! :)

    Quantum tunnelling WILL hit the computer scene in a big way, and that may be the death of personal computing as we know it, processor sharing will be the new way forward (via web). A serious issue will then be broadband speed, a bottleneck holding back further evolution.

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