In the last 12 months I’ve started to feel less interested in the opinions of traditional industry technology pundits and reviewers, and can’t help but feel like they’re becoming less relevant despite technology making its way into almost every area of our lives.
This has truly came to a head in recent weeks with the latest iPad Pro reviews. The general opinion of the iPad Pro 2018 was that it was a beautiful and powerful device, but was let down by iOS and “couldn’t be used by people who do real work”. Traditional tech reviews felt mostly like a regurgitation of information on Apple’s website, or their keynote event, with little to no insight as to how the device might serve its intended audiences, (this wasn’t helped by Apple’s broad and aggressive marketing) but to put it simply — it didn’t serve them, therefore it was no good.
This was the same I felt, as the Apple Watch Series 4 earlier this year. I think it’s fair to say that most people who review technology are not exactly huge advocates for health and fitness. So when they reviewed the Apple Watch Series 4, while lavishing it with praise for its new design and larger screen, didn’t provide much insight into how it might benefit someone who frequently exercised, or someone who might be curious of starting down that path.
On the other side of the fence, independent people who first and foremost have a specific passion, followed by a love of technology, are telling us a different story. They happen to sit at the intersection of liberal arts and technology that Apple claims to sit at. They can provide deeper and meaningful critiques of devices and where they excel or where they fall flat in that particular area. Watching Jonathan Morrison edit a video on iPad Pro was downright exciting, watching Henny Tha Bizness produce music on an iPad was jaw dropping as someone who knows nothing about music, and as someone who illustrates and designs, Brad Colbow’s iPad review from a artist’s perspective, laid out why they continue to love iPad Pro and what could still improve for them. It wasn’t a ringing endorsement, yet I agreed with every word.
It’s not that tech reviewers are wrong about products or have nothing useful to say, but as technology becomes more and more normal to us, broad opinions on products by someone who exclusively loves technology above everything else, become less useful, and more focused perspectives opinions by people in those areas who understand technology, become more valuable.