There are no rock stars at PopTech, no household names. But this annual conference in coastal Maine is a hub for super-smart people, a chance to get a look into ideas and technologies that soon will change the world.
Even as sales continue to slip now (though market share remains around 70%), it has had one hell of a run. Macworld has the story of its birth on October 23, 2001.
Apple chose to unveil its portable digital music player in a low-key special event held on Apple’s campus in Cupertino. The press and Apple fans alike met the iPod with severe skepticism. Pundits openly wondered what business Apple had selling consumer music gadgets. Many proclaimed doom.
Skepticism. Contempt. Doom. Sounds familiar. Sounds like the same reaction that just about every game-changing product initially receives.
The iPod was going to be a huge failure. Except that it was the opposite. It was actually the catalyst that kick-started Apple’s run towards becoming the most important tech company in the world. An MP3 player no bigger than a deck of cards.
Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the Internet, people, and other forms of distraction. Our cars now have mobile phone integration and a thousand satellite radio stations. When walking from one place to another, we have our devices streaming data from dozens of sources. Even at our bedside, we now have our iPads with heaps of digital apps and the world’s information at our fingertips.