I mean, it’s not like we don’t have loads of other fancy and elegant options for transferring power and data to our gadgets and machines, right? But as this piece at Wired points out, power cables are cheap, versatile and simple to produce by comparison to all the more advanced solutions – and that’s why we still have ’em.
It’s a good concise example of something that searching out stories for Futurismic has taught me over the years: that innovative new technology may not actually be as revolutionary as it initially appears, and that the “gadget of the future” may remain a marginal gimmick long after its fanfare’d launch at some trade show or another. Pragmatism and profit margins are very important factors in forming the shape of the future.
Of course, this is one of the arguments that favours the medium-term survival of the dead-tree book, even as the ereader manufacturers shape up for a price war. For the (possibly mythical) average consumer who reads a couple of books a year and no more, buying them as paperbacks will make a lot more sense… and there’s a lot more of those average consumers than there are rabid readers, I’m guessing.