Editor's desk: The biggest thing missing from CES 2014

You don't go to CES. You survive it. CES is like standing in front of a firehose of wondrous, grotesque gadgets, some amazing, some imbecilic, yet the sheer volume and velocity being fired out of any hose... hurts. This year we tried to to blanket our coverage, to bring you as much as inhumanly possible, and Georgia Dow, Anthony, Simon Sage, and Richard Devine on the ground, and Peter Cohen, Ally Kazmucha, Joe Keller, and Chris Parsons back at HQ managed to get almost 50 videos shot, edited, and posted over 3 days. We can argue that maybe it was too much — I'd agree, next year we're going to go for the less-is-more approach — but it was the job they were all given and they kicked it's ass. I can't thank them all enough.

I spent most of the week broadcasting #CESlive with John P. and Cali Lews. Together with Phil Nickinson, Daniel Rubino, Derek Kessler, and Georgia, we conducted 80 live interviews in 4 days. I did about 2 hours a day, every day, but John P. did 6 hours a day for the first couple of days. He's the Iron Man, and I can't express how much I learned from the whole Geek Beat team, and how much respect I have for all of them.

Android Central, Windows Phone Central, CrackBerry, and Smartwatch Fans all run very different shows than iMore. AC is press-conference and device heavy, SWF is helping an industry take off, WPC has a few meetings but is mostly business-as-usual, and CB is... buying $2K phones and rolling up on CEOs.

Beyond the teams and my endless pride for them, CES broke down much like we expected it would. 4K TVs were everywhere. Robots were everywhere. The internet of things was trotted out more than a show pony. Everything is bigger (or smaller), and everything is connected.

But what I really want is for it all to be more human. Most of the stuff there, from the TVs to the car entertainment centers to the health and fitness products had interfaces designed for the companies making them, not the people who had to use them. They were more often than not drab, dreary, discombobulated, convoluted, confounding, complex, affairs that looked assembled more than designed.

In 2014, that's just not good enough. iOS 7 is beautiful. Android Holo is beautiful. Windows Phone metro is beautiful. The typical crap interface shoved at us by consumer electronic companies just isn't good enough any more.

Come CES 2015, more than 8K TVs, robot waiters, and connected all-the-things, is great interface, human interface, stuff that's easy to use and a joy to use.

Panels are good enough. Density, saturation, gamut, etc. are good enough. Interface isn't. Fix that next.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

jlb21 says:

We can't forget to highlight the fact that Georgia tased herself. That was fun!

Rowanova says:

Well said, many will agree I'm sure. Millions upon millions more would agree also, but will be unheard because they're the casual consumers who never visit a tech blog or website. They're the ones most affected by the unusable aspects you describe.

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Richard Devine says:

Great point to make. And it's absolutely true. None of the TVs have an interface that inspires confidence (though that said, the WebOS TV from LG is the most intriguing to me) and the cars are still at least a generation or two behind.

That said, Audi jumping in with both feet with Android for its in-car stuff shows early promise. While mostly concept stuff, it's already working on an interface that is good enough for a tablet.

Future be exciting. Looking forward to seeing how it pans out

Dark_Blu says:

Apple needs to just go ahead and make a TV that revolutionizes what we think a TV interface should be. But then, something like that would never show up at CES. It would be an Apple hosted event.

jabbaspalace84 says:

I'm sorry to hear the experience left something so fundamental to be desired; however, I'm glad you and the iMore team are in a position to actually call everyone out on it.

Becjr says:

That is an astute point to call out, Rene. Much to do about product specs and "wow" always seems to take center stage over the user experience. A user experience which really hasn't changed for over a decade.
If I recall right, Georgia provided some of the best user experience feed back with several of the products she encountered on the CES showroom floor this year... consider how lethal she'd be on that mini "Segway" with that taser phone!

OddlyNormalOne says:

Hey check that link for Smartwatch Fans. It does not go where I think you want it to go.

Armada says:

Hey man, I a smart phone fan. Apparently you are as well, to read the link destination.

GlennRuss says:

I would love to see the closed door CES to see what business is really buying, and what they are not. As far as the cars, be prepared for an increase in accident rates, and the follow up of insurance rates. There have beed studies, if you just listen to the radio, or an ebook, no real increase in accident rates. When you start doing emails, and business via the hands free systems, there is a 40% chance that you will be involved in an accident. The more work you do wile driving, the less your attention is on driving. May be that is why they are making cars with sensors that will alert you, and brake itself.

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Obsidian71 says:

80% of CES is "me too" product. Last year you had a small selection of wearable devices many centered around fitness. This year everyone and their mother had a wearable complete with hyperbolic claims and laden with markitechture. 4K HDTV were only interesting from a pricing standpoint (i.e how low can they go) OLED is still ridiculously priced. Internet of Things was a relatively hollow buzzword. Your IoT choices are minimal...go with a relatively prefab iControl based system or hack hack hack your way through Zigbee or Z Wave setups that may or may not work. No one has proven that IoT works. We'll see if Alljoyn can be that software connectivity tissue. I think it's clear that IoT won't go anywhere until the two mainstream OS vendors weigh in. Networking products were extremely boring "hey another 11ac router but this one goes to 11" No 11ad stuff shown. Glad I skipped this one.

Dudley228 says:

I think your coverage was great. Yes, there was a lot of it, but I loved every bit of it. It makes me wish I was there. I hope you do the same amount of coverage or even more next year. Keep up the great work. PLEASE DON"T DO LESS! Always put the MORE in iMore. I love you guys.