There probably comes a point for everyone when the history of childhood is no longer in the peripheral field of vision, but rather pulling away quickly in the rearview mirror. A visit to CES can engage that shift in that perspective.
I remember (and that phrase, itself, indicates such a shift) dropping Kodak 126 film at Cochran’s, the neighborhood drug store, and then waiting a week for the prints to come back. Over ensuing years, I advanced to 110 cartridges and then a series of 35mm cameras, and remained a devoted fan of film even after digital photography became mainstream. It was mostly a clerk at a Washington CVS who precipitated my recalcitrant shift to digital: when I brought a 35mm canister in for processing, he waved the bar-code reader over the DX coding on the side of the canister, mistaking it for a UPC code. When I explained that the film was being submitted for processing, his vacant stare convinced me that the world had moved on without me. Within a month, I was holding a digital SLR, and its film-eating companion was sitting on a shelf.
Perhaps no other innovation than digital photography, coupled with consumer-grade printers capable of producing prints, should have been the death knell for Polaroid. To be sure, Kodak suffered greatly, if not ironically, given their invention of the digital camera in 1975 and their first-to-market DC40 in 1995. But, Polaroid’s mark was instant photography, even if the image was what might now be considered a thumbnail 3” x 3.5” ratio. And, although connecting a camera to a computer to print a picture may be more cumbersome than simply pulling a print out of the camera itself, digital photography still offered far more instant gratification than even 1-hour photo processing, if for no other reason than the ability to adjust the image before printing.