“It’s a Need it Now” society in which we live
It was just 10 years ago. Apple released the iPod, a device that boasted capabilities of carrying “1000 songs in your pocket.” It had a full 5GB of hard drive capability, with a black and white LCD screen, priced at just $399. It was in this same year that Apple made a decision to stop using translucent colored plastics on the large egg shaped desktop computers, the iMacG3. The computer was a lot of money, but I remember writing the check (and presenting 2 forms of ID) for the iMacG3. What a dynamite desktop; I was thrilled. It carried with it a full 256MB of RAM! What seemed an outrageous leap forward for technology 10 years ago would be nearly unusable today. With the advantage of retrospect, I wish I would have invested the $1299. I spent on the iMacG3 into Apple stock instead. At the time, the stock was priced at a scant $17.83 per share, now dependant on the fickle market, it hovers in the range of $400. per share…but I digress..
We live today in a need it now society, and we have been largely spoiled by the leaps and bounds our technology has taken. Can you imagine still needing to go to the library archives to do research on that important project? How about gathering any information? It was not so long ago, we went to that stationary desktop computer, usually connected to the wall by a rat’s nest of cables, to retrieve information. When you used the computer, you went to the computer. It was unthinkable to have the computer come with you. How about the speeds of gathering information, and data transfer rates, not to mention the time to access that superhighway? Remember, many computers still used a dial up modem to get onto the internet. (ReBrreeerrrrrrrreeeeaa…ummwaamp, umm wamp…) and then just 240 seconds later you were connected!
The thought of needing to go to a single location and a single computer in order to get connectivity and information seems downright archaic, let along having to plug in the device to reach the internet. We are now un-tethered.
Next time you are waiting in line to get your $2.50 cup of coffee, look around to see how many people are conversing on their handhelds, checking e-mails or texting on smart phones, reading a book recently downloaded on a e-reader, or streaming a movie on their tablet. Imagine years from now explaining the concept of a newspaper to the future generations. A posting of current events in ink on paper, printed daily, and each page needs to be physically turned, rather than snapping off a swoosh motion with your index finger to flip the page. Does any child under the age of 15 know the challenge of folding a map, let alone reading one? Either grab the GPS, or MapQuest it!
This is where our technology and gadgets have come in just 10 short years, but where are we going to? Demand for new devices and improvements seem insatiable. Customers are asking OEM’s for smaller, thinner, faster downloads, less power usage, longer run times, lighter weights, and of course, less expensive solutions. In turn, OEM’s ask Molex for our assistance and ideas in product design challenges. We partner with these OEM’s to create solutions to help make their end applications for the consumer better. Take for example the consumer products mentioned above in the coffee shop. To connect the speakers and power in that tablet, Pico-EZmate™ is used. A .047” wire to board solution, it is compact, low profile (with a mated height of just .061”) and is offered in circuit sizes 2 to 6. Its locking feature makes it a good fit for a consumer application. To charge and synchronize data on that smart phone, designs utilize the Molex Micro-USB. The product allows for a thin, light, but robust connection, as well as greater portability of the users device. It is offered in mid mount, bottom mount or vertical styles, which offers flexibility to the product designer. The Micro-USB has blind mating and solid lead in features. Built with a robust metal shell, it can withstand more than the average bumps and bruises consumers put on a phone. Designers trust the Molex microSIM card connectors as a means to secure credit card numbers and billing information as consumers order goods and services “on the go”. The microSIM is offered in a host of options including block style, push/push, hinged and tray styles. To connect the touch screen or front panel of the e-reader, use an 0.50mm FFC connector. It features a sturdy actuator to lock the cable into place, assuring that contact pressure is retained and the cable is held firmly in place. Harsh handling of consumer devices requires high reliability. Nobody wants an intermittent screen as your mystery novel is winding down to the final chapter. Lastly, SD cards are used for downloads of maps, pictures or to upgrade new software for that GPS device. Copper alloy used for base metal contacts and gold plating insure the reliability and the durability consumers not only expect, but demand.
As I stood in line for coffee on Saturday, I read reviews on the latest Apple product that is supposed to be the big must have gadget for this holiday season. I can’t wait to check out the latest advancements. However, I just know 10 years from now I’ll be kicking myself for not putting my hard earned money into that Apple stock instead.