In a 21st century world relentlessly trained to expect instant gratification, waiting for announcements of new and exciting products we just can’t live without from some of the biggest and most influential manufacturers of photographically related hardware in the world is psychologically and emotionally painful. Those announcements are coming soon—no doubt about that—and we know some of the dates (August 24 for Nikon and Sony); others are hinted at being shortly thereafter (Canon, Apple, Fuji). So how does this work in the big picture?
One of the things I’ve been pondering for some time is the balancing of expectations with regard to information availability. I’ve been a reader and information junky for most of my life. And it’s no secret I enjoy tools, both for their usefulness in accomplishing selected tasks, and for their inherent quality and design. In the distant past the way one found out about new tools was through printed periodicals, magazines and trade publications. Because of the mechanics of production, there was about a three month lag between actual new information (announcements) and arrival of the news on stands or in your mailbox. The Internet has forevermore changed that, and I find myself now relying almost entirely on web sources for time-sensitive product information. It’s a sad realization, actually, but a reality of life. [As a side-note, I don’t think magazines are going away completely, but I think in an accelerating manner they will need to rely much more on in-depth reporting and thought-provoking, multi-faceted discussions of complex topics to retain relevance since they simply can’t meet the immediacy test in printed and distributed form.]
But here’s the delicate part of the balancing act for big business. The more media methods hone “immediacy” (think ≤ 140 character tweets and collections of these limited-depth near-instantaneous responses being interpreted as solid opinion), the more problematic future announcements become. How far out can opinion (and desire) generators hype expectation without it getting stale in the process? We don’t know at this point of course, since the time element of human experience continues to move ahead in minutes, hours, days, weeks and months regardless of how intense our personal expectations to know everything immediately becomes.
In the meantime, a whole “rumor” industry has exploded to sate the speculations of those who simply can’t wait to learn the specifics of the next Apple iPhone 5, Nikon D4, Canon 1Ds Mark IV, or Sony A77). If you enjoy rumors, Google your favorite brand followed by the word “rumors” and you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained.
Another part of the equation is actual availability. Some manufacturers are notorious for announcing new products and taking nearly forever (or even failing entirely) to get them to brick-and-mortar stores where you can actually buy them. At the present time the entire cycle continues to be in disarray as a result of the Japanese disaster in March and big-time world-wide economic troubles. As always, while it’s exciting to contemplate how technology may soon expand your personal photographic capabilities, it’s exceedingly wise to operate conservatively. Nevertheless, within a very short period of time we’ll be enjoying the evaluation of how beneficial some of these new offerings may be to our own personal endeavors. Is patience still a virtue?