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The 10 Most Popular Gen Z Inventions of All Time

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

Top 10 Gen Z (1996-2019) Inventions of All Time

Why are these 10 popular inventions of the tech industry so important and what have they done for today's Gen Z & Millennial culture.


These inventions have changed the world of technology and will aide in greater changes in the near future.

From iPhones to PCs to social media these new age advancements have set the world ablaze, but what makes them so special and why are they so popular?

Discover why these are 10 popular inventions transformed the way we live today, and the reasons people fell in love with them.

1. Social Media

As much as Myspace is considered a joke, it actually heralded a revolution in how people socialize.

Tom from Myspace may be crying now but kudos to starting something that'll never stop. Along the way a young man named Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook and the world was changed forever.

I don't know anyone who doesn't use some form of social media nowadays and many use it multiple times a day whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.

Social Networking Fact Sheet

Social media has gone global.

In fact this communication medium has become so prolific that it drives change, brings people together, and has expanded into a substantial business tool.

Social media is a product of the times that'll never be shut down.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

2. Apple and Microsoft: PCs

Two superstars with completely different talents that we benefited from immensely.

Thank you so much guys for introducing personal computing into our lives because we're so much better with it.

The power of Microsoft is in its OS (operating system) and for Apple, its design. They compliment each other beautifully because they took a large, clunky computer and changed it into a productive, highly stylistic machine.

Businesses, students, and all the above use personal computers to run their lives properly, and like us these machines are constantly evolving.

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Since the PC era Apple and Microsoft widened their approach with the movement towards smartphones, tablet computers, and smartwatches.

They've taken what they've created and have integrated cloud computing, design, and ingenious technology into state-of-the-art devices.

One popular category spawned from Apple has become so massive that it's hard to imagine a world where this piece of tech didn't exist.

3. The Smartphone

The smartphone is a powerful mobile unit that we use on the daily.

I can't imagine living in a world without a smartphone because they control every aspect of my productive/personal life.

Besides standard calling and messaging, they have access to WiFi networks, various apps or messengers, and internal web data for maximum productivity and entertainment.

The downside is that some people become too obsessed over their iPhone and don't look where they're going or driving.

It can become a major nuisance, but you can't refute its importance.

If you ask someone one device they can't live without, then most would likely say their phone. Teens (and many adults) would go insane if their phone was ever taken from them.

How Often Do We Check Our Phones

The smartphone has spread globally because of its importance intertwined with our day-to-day lives.

It's absolutely an invention we couldn't envision being without.

4. High Speed Internet

There was a time when the internet wasn't a thing, but there was once a disastrous time when the internet was slower than a snail.

High speed internet is definitely a first world prerequisite because we'd go insane if everything took a few more seconds than it should've.

In fact one of our biggest complaints is either slow internet, lost internet connection, or buffering (first world problems).

We would panic in a third world country where internet speed wasn't up to par because we're so accustomed to rapid speeds and faster internet that we can't fathom anything less.

Individuals don't mind paying more money for slightly quicker web speeds.

As the years continue, even more rapid download speeds are being generated with things like Fiber Optic cables and the development of a 5G network.

The slow internet speeds of the 90's would never be tolerated today because we would lose our minds.

5. Fast Food Restaurants

Although the fast food industry is a worldwide affair, it's not the same as it is in the UK, France, or the US.

Personally it's impossible to drive more than a few miles without seeing a fast food restaurant. I know Americans would go ballistic if they couldn't have their Taco Bell lunch break.

The world of fast food changed how we eat, how much we spend, and of course how obese we've become. Despite the obesity crisis, first world countries remain thankful that they exist because of their accessibility, reliability, and affordability.

It's very convenient to stop by a Burger King and order food to go that'll cost under 10 dollars.

Third world countries that do have fast food restaurants fail to match the quality and their convenience, which is something first world countries can't comprehend.

I don't know how some people would function if they were told the nearest McDonald's was 50 miles away; it would be mind-boggling.

6. Online Shopping With Amazon (E-Commerce)

Online shopping has become a financial juggernaut, and it's getting tougher to picture life without e-commerce.

Online shopping is excellent for the handicapped, the elderly, the holiday procrastinators, and the last minute gift wrappers that need to make a quick purchase.

The internet provides global access to e-commerce but it may take days or weeks to get what they desire, and your location determines whether you'll even be able to receive what you ordered.

First world countries should feel blessed their gifts WILL arrive at a reasonable time.

However good news is in the not so distant future for those less fortunate if services like Amazon Prime Air take off.

That would eradicate the challenges of poor infrastructure and other disturbances so that people will be able to get what they want in a timely fashion.

7. Streaming Devices & Subscriptions (Netflix, Apple TV)

The explosion of streaming devices and services like Netflix turned a novelty idea into an entertainment steamroller.

Streaming services have become widespread throughout the globe with Netflix delivering their services to almost every country on earth, but there's a catch.

Reach-ability doesn't equal accessibility, which means not everyone can receive Netflix, Prime Video or Hulu. Not everyone has a smart TV or a streaming device (Roku, Apple TV), but the market is shifting.

Today's streaming devices/services are becoming so popular that they're rapidly eliminating the cable subscription model.

Netflix Is King of Paid Streaming

These new services are cheaper, have more viewing options, and aren't so annoyingly ad-driven like cable TV.

Streaming is the new cable and everybody in the modern day world know it.

8. Large LCD/LED (OLED) Television Sets

Television has become more fluid in terms of necessity, but it remains a critical part of entertainment.

Streaming is great but you need a streaming platform and while many use their smartphones or tablets, there's nothing that beats a big screen LCD TV.

The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was vast on showcasing their biggest and most innovative TVs that completely amp up the resolution and illustrate how a screen should look like.

And as long as sporting events exist then so will gigantic LCD/LED or HDR TVs.

The bigger is better concept isn't going away anytime soon especially with OLED, HDR, and 4K resolutions that require massive screens.

The future of television is here and people are finally ready for it.

9. Uber & Lyft

Nothing has shifted the course of personal transportation more than these on-demand services.

Uber is essentially a personal taxi that you can get on demand via an app, but unlike a taxi, Uber services are much cheaper, the cars used to drive you are much nicer & cleaner, and you can get any vehicle (in the style of your choosing) anytime, anyplace.

Uber & Lyft have fully addressed cost, convenience, and comfort, but that's not all.

These services have also employed hundreds of thousands of workers who can choose what hours to work, who to pick up, and where to drive.

They've become the ultimate customer-employee model and have completely shifted the course of traditional employment. Without Uber, you wouldn't have Airbnb and other customized, personal services.

And yet there's plenty of room to grow further.

10. High Tech Fitness Equipment (Fitbit, Apple Watch)

High tech fitness equipment is becoming extremely popular with things like fitness trackers gathering mass appeal.

It shouldn't be a huge surprise given our interest in the health industry, but more so than ever exercise equipment is becoming a must.

For example the treadmill is a gym staple that's getting cheaper to own that you can buy anywhere.

As stated fitness trackers are making such huge impressions that Apple and Fitbit have designed watches/gear dedicated towards fitness.

Companies like these have made fitness trackers must-have items, and soon it's going to be impossible to see someone not wear one of them.

There's always going to be a huge back and forth between what we consume and how we control it. For example developed countries eat the most unhealthy yet buy the most expensive fitness equipment.

Well at least they can see the problem that smart fitness gear is definitely not afraid to point out.

Honorable Mentions

Mobile Banking

  • Easy to use without the need to enter a physical location. It makes money management a snap.

App and Google Play Store

  • The app playground that gives access to millions of apps designed to improve, entertain, educate, and revolutionize how you live.

Next Gen Game Consoles

  • A staple in entertainment that continues to innovate. New consoles are able to do it all beyond creative and exciting game play.

Your Turn!


Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 28, 2016:

Very good point and thank you for sharing your views. The idea that it's all cultural has a lot of merit because clearly people other countries like Guatemala aren't enslaved to their devices, and human beings are adaptable. My approach was on a broader scale where gadgets and devices drive a huge chunk of the economy, but I agree with what you're saying. Everyone is different but over time people can change and not be so reliant on their phones or similar products. Of course don't tell the president of a first world country that or they'll throw you out of the country.

Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 28, 2016:

Thank you for your comment and read. I agree about your analysis and there's constant evaluations that have to be made as things shift radically. I also realize that money drives a lot of these products and part of my worry is that they substitute innovation for finance only.

kbdressman from Harlem, New York on January 27, 2016:

I definitely can't thrive in my first world society without these commodities readily available when I have the slightest desire for them to be available. However, I found it interesting how okay I was without any of these things towards the end of a 3 week humanitarian aid trip to Guatemala. It's nearly completely cultural. Remove someone from the culture and after they're given a little time to adjust they'll be just fine without these gadgets! I was amazed how fast I went from attached to my phone before Guatemala to being annoyed at people thinking I should be available to text or call at their whim when I got back.

muhammad abdullah javed on January 26, 2016:

Very well done Chris, you have aptly pointed out the inventions that are backbone of the first world countries. These inventions remind of heavy reliance of its people and that need to be evaluated in order to come out with corrected or improved inventions. Thanks for sharing.

Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 26, 2016:

My goodness that's quite amazing probably because I'm a tech geek who buys a lot of gadgets I don't really need. That's really interesting though regarding the differences from those who need it all to those who either can't have it all or are perfectly happy without a surplus. I live within 25 miles of New York City so there's always something new that people are dying to get, but thank you for sharing how things are on the opposite side of the spectrum where simplicity tells the tale. I'll need to explore that further because the contrasts make you wonder how it affects people's thinking and livelihood beyond what is new and advanced. Thank you so much for the read.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2016:

Very interesting list of invention first world countries can't live without Chris. I am not one of your normal consumers however. Really the only one I can't live without is a personal computer with Internet. I live in a rural area and do not get reception on my smart phone. I own one only so that I have some communication in case of emergency when I am driving somewhere or when I go to town. I don't have a large LCD/LED tv or Netflix etc because we only have Satellite Internet (no high speed here) and our monthly allowance is too low to make it viable to watch any streaming tv/movies etc. There are no fast food outlets withing 40 miles and we may visit one when we go to town maybe three times per year...never McDonalds though.

I don't have a fitbit or other fitness tracker, though my wife does, and don't have public transport where I live either. I may catch a flight once ever three years to visit family. I do need a car however, and mobile banking.

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