On Wednesday, Apple announced its plans for iPhone OS 4.0 and somewhere in the fine print mentioned the new iAd mobile advertising platform.
It is funny that about the same time this announcement was taking place, I was doing an in-class discussion in SI301 (and a day later with some UMich executives in the Business and Finance Forum) where I was trying to get both groups to think about the end of the web and the end of web-search as the primary way we view the web. I told them that instead of trying to figure out why, when or how search and the web would go away – but instead I asked them to assume that at some point in the future, when simply searching the web was not longer ‘interesting’ – and under that assumption, what would be its replacement.
I am thinking that we should make a mental note about the year 2010 and wonder if the introduction of iAds indicates that on Wednesday we quietly passed the half-way point in the time where the web and web browser are the ‘alpha-technology’ technology in the marketplace.
Math version – feel free to skip: Perhaps Wednesday we passed the point where the second derivative of web growth went from positive to ever-so-slightly-negative. A vertical inflection point as it were. Vertical inflection points and changes in the sign of the second derivative of a function are often hard to notice in the short or even medium term because the first derivative remains positive. But in time….. end of Math version.
I have this weird calculation that suggests that the pattern where we lose interest in a technology is the mirror image of the pattern in which we became fascinated with a technology (an S-Curve). So if my instincts are right (and they usually are not) that Tuesday was the point at which the web reached its apogee, and since the web is 20 years old (started in 1990), it will take 10 more years (2020) before the web starts to fade a little bit and after 15 years (2025) the web and search will noticeably be falling off our collective radar and by 2035 teenagers will be asking ‘what was the Web?’ much like they might wonder about America Online now.
The numbers are easy to remember – 2020 a gentle noticeable decline in the primacy of the web and search – 2025 – a noticeable decline in the primacy of web and search.
In the meantime, you have plenty of time to read Clayton Christensen’s book, Innovator’s Dillema to learn about how a market evolves through a series of independent S-Curves where disruptive innovation causes us to jump from curve to curve.
Hmmm. This sounds like another keynote speech for me to try to give places.