Top Ten Inventions
The explosion of technology makes it difficult to identify the best inventions of the 21st century since there are so many worthy candidates. Inventions that have had a significant impact on society and culture as well as those that hold promise for future revolutionary applications are presented in the following list.
1) iPod and iTunes: These two interrelated inventions from Apple Inc. presented a revolutionary new way for people to listen to music and fundamentally changed the music and recording industry.
iTunes was introduced in January, 2001 and was marketed as a program that converted CDs into compressed digital audio files and helped organize digital recordings. Later that year, Apple introduced the iPod, a device that used a hard disk to store music files. The first model had a 5GB capacity and could hold over 1,000 songs.
Enhancements to the iPod and iTunes over successive years have been astounding in terms of features and consumer benefits. In 2003, Apple introduced downloadable songs for .99 cents through iTunes. Subsequent models of the iPod became smaller, more stylish, and had much larger storage capacities. The evolutionary process resulted in the iPod Touch, which includes Apple’s unique touch sensitive screen interface that provides the ability to access songs, movies, and the internet through wi-fi
2) iPhone: The iPhone from Apple Inc was released in June of 2007 and radically altered the way mobile phones are used personally and in business.
Older phones typically included voice communications and sometimes a keyboard to send text messages. Phones that offered internet access were usually unreadable and difficult to maneuver. The iPhone introduced the multi-touch interface that allows for quick and easy access to data, music, and pictures while providing storage for other important information. The seamless integration of touch screen features allowed the internet to be used in meaningful ways.
Subsequent generations of the iPhone included operating system upgrades and the introduction of “aps" which are free or inexpensive programs designed to increase the functionality of the phone.
3) Electric Car: Tesla Motors was formed in 2003 and unveiled its first production-model all-electric car in 2008. Although different electric cars have appeared in various configurations since the 1920s, Tesla was the first company to produce a vehicle that did not have significant obstacles for production or sales.
Tesla vehicles boast an 88% efficiency rating compared to 20-25% for traditional gasoline-powered cars. Tesla currently offers a roaster and plans to release a coupe priced under $50,000 in 2012.
4) YouTube: YouTube was debuted in 2005 and had a significant impact on media distribution and social networking. Using Adobe Flash Video technology, the website provides a forum for displaying videos from an endless variety of sources including businesses, consumer groups, and individuals seeking media exposure for themselves, their products, or their causes.