Morgan wrote a blog post about a new app called Incubate, which basically lets you receive delayed messages (text, video or voice) for up to 25 years after it was originally sent. I had never heard of this before, and when I first read about it, my first instinct was to think what a cool idea it is. It’s kind of like the digital version of a time capsule. Or like one of those letters your teacher used to make you write to yourself at the beginning of the year, and you’d get it back at the end. Morgan made the point that it may be a marketing ploy to ensure the app’s survival for the next couple of decades.
But then I got to thinking. Technology and the platforms on which we engage in it are rapidly changing, now overturning at a rate of about five years. And it’s only going to continue spiraling faster. We can imagine where the future will go, but ultimately no one knows for sure, whether it be 10 or 20 years down the road. So what happens when apps become a thing of the past? You guessed it…goodbye, Incubate. The app can hold messages for up to 25 years, but who knows if we’ll have anything similar to a smartphone at that time. Apps on iPhones will probably be equivalent to the brick phone 25 years from now. Unless a tech guru does some major overhaul of the company, there will be no technological platform to support Incubate. How are you going to receive text messages or videos if there is no smartphone to receive them? It’ll be a bit like trying to download a VHS onto your laptop–not going to happen.
So, Incubate designers had better think fast or they’ll quickly become a thing of the past before they even reach a chance at success. It’s the blessing and the curse of technology.