Walt Mossberg has been covering technology for The Wall Street Journal for 22 years. In his last column for the newspaper, he compiles 12 products which, in his opinion, have been the most influential in the last twenty years.
His criteria for selection:
First, the products had to improve ease of use and add value for average consumers. That was the guiding principle I laid down in the first sentence of my first column, in 1991: “Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it’s not your fault.”
Second, I chose these 12 because each changed the course of digital history by influencing the products and services that followed, or by changing the way people lived and worked. In some cases, the impact of these mass-market products is still unfolding. All of these products had predecessors, but they managed to take their categories to a new level.
Unsurprisingly, Apple (the company) takes 5 of the 12 spots. I have used every product/service on the list with the exception of the Newton and the Palm Pilot. If it were me, I would have added one more service which has changed how I have looked into traveling: AirBnb, which allows you to rent out spaces in other people’s apartments/homes. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by paying a fraction of the cost of hotel rooms in the last three years during my trips to Portland, Oregon.