Classic technology… how does that happen?

August 30, 2010 Off By Chris Hinton

Short break around Windemere-82On Thursday and Friday of last week, a friend and I headed to the Lake District for a short break. The idea was to stay one night in the town of Bowness on the shore of Windemere, and basically chill out and relax. We did have one firm plan, though: we wanted to go on the Haverthwaite to Lakeside steam train.
The train itself (and I stress I’m not a “rail enthusiast”) was fascinating. The two of us thought this classic technology was just brilliant.
I'm in love... Aston Martin DB6Last Sunday I went with another friend to the Fife Association of Vintage Vehicle Owners’ annual rally… in a field, on a farm. Neither of us own vintage vehicles, but we wanted to take a look anyway. There were some gorgeous cars on display, like a classic Aston Martin DB6. Seriously, I think I’m in love.
“Classic” status isn’t just limited to trains and cars, though: Commodore US are preparing to release a computer that looks like their old Commodore 64, albeit with new internals suited to the current age. The C64 is held in high regard by ’80s gaming geeks, as are Atari consoles and the Sinclair Spectrum. Classic computers… whatever next?
Well, whenever I see a bakelite radio, or rotary-dial telephone I have the feeling that I’m looking at a classic piece of technology. Not just “old”, but somehow iconic. The friend I went to Bowness with would say the same of his trusty Mini… it’s not just old, it’s iconic.
Is that how things become classic? Or are they iconic because they’ve taken on a classic aura. I don’t know, that’s what I want to ask you!
But there’s something else I want to ask you too… is there any technology around today that you think will become “classic” or “iconic” in the future? Will the iPhone become the romantic ideal of smartphones from a better age? Will Digg become the “classic” way of sharing online news? Sky+? Blogging?
I’m just throwing ideas out here, but what do you think? What are the classics of tomorrow? As ever, let us know in the comments.