This summer, almost 2 years after Steve Jobs’ death, showed the release of a hard-hitting biopic about Jobs’ rise to fame, and everywhere fans and critics are saying the same thing: that’s it? Where was the ingenuity? Where were the little details that made it great rather than just okay? In short, where was the spark that was so characteristic of Steve Jobs?
It’s not often that the word disappointing is paired with anything Apple-related, but there’s no denying that the movie was a box office disaster, earning only $6.7 million nationwide and a score of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, it’s not just the movie about Apple Inc. that seems to have taken a dive. Last quarter, Apple’s sales revealed a 22% drop in total revenue, and a recent ACSI survey placed two smartphones ahead of the iPhone in customer satisfaction.
Now before you Apple fangirls and boys unionize and I get an inbox full of distressed emails, let me assure you, this is not the end of Apple. Traditionally, Apple plans to release a new line of products each fall, meaning that the quarter before the next sales launch is bound to be a little slow because people don’t want to pay for a product they know is about to be updated. Currently, Apple’s stock is on a bit of a hot streak, having skyrocketed in early August, proving that investors aren’t concerned with the latest $4 billion drop.
So while the company itself seems nowhere near jeopardy, many still feel that since the death of Jobs their level of creativity has plummeted. In a recent interview, Larry Ellison (CEO of Oracle) compared Jobs to Thomas Edison, saying, “They will not be nearly so successful because he’s gone. He was brilliant. I mean, our Edison.” A bit of a bold statement, sure, but if Ellison is right, who will take up the role of Forward Thinking Engineer? Luckily, there are other companies with products that illustrate why the world will survive until the next reincarnation of Steve Jobs.
4. Microsoft Surface RT
Creating a tablet better than the iPad is a challenge I’d reserve only for my worst enemies, but the Microsoft Surface RT does have a couple of features that show promise, if nothing else. The greatest of these is its ability to run two apps at once. I don’t know how the world used to be, but nowadays people learn to multitask before learning to talk or fake their first sick day. The other biggest upside is its biggest downside—it reinvented the entire tablet operating system. It may take time to get used to, but overall it’s received positive reviews overall. Plus, the Surface gets major points for experimenting with something new.
3. TheLenovo Yoga 13
I love my iPad; I love my laptop. And I never would have connected the two ideas by myself, but seeing the Lenovo Yoga 13 makes me wonder why it took this long to make a product like this. The Lenovo Yoga is a 13” laptop with all the specs of a regular Ultrabook, but you can flip the top screen all the way around to form a tablet. Wow. You can also set it up like a tent for presentations, and it comes with Microsoft Office for students who want the full laptop experience along with the easy portability of a tablet. The downside is, of course, the Windows 8 Operating System, but you have to give them the credit for the amazing convertible style they’re bringing to the world of computers.
3. The Samsung Galaxy S4
Yes, everyone’s heard about this one. From the highly publicized lawsuit with Apple to the recent popularity in tech review sites, the Galaxy S4 seems to be on the tip of every smartphone-seeker’s tongue, and here’s why: it’s different. Samsung really broke outside the box with features like Smart Pause, Dual Shot, and Air Gestures. The phone pauses videos when you look away, allows you to take pictures from front and back cameras at once, and responds to countless gestures without even touching the phone. It’s this kind of innovation that reminds us of Jobs’ own quote “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
1. Google Glass
Of course, at the top of this list is the new gadget that techies have been drooling over since its first nomination. Google Glass is a little screen connected to a wire glasses frame that, when worn, gives the wearer access to multiple apps and simultaneously makes them look like they walked right out of the Big Bang Theory. Putting that aside, Google Glass has the potential to provide perfect navigational support for the directionally challenged, to sync to your body for up to date biofeedback during workouts, to show step by step instructions via YouTube while completing a task, and so much more. This is creativity at its finest, and as long as Google keeps these inventions coming, I don’t think anyone will miss Steve Jobs for too long.