Lysa, one of the followers of this blog, asked me if I could comment on the rumored Cricut Imagine. My answer to her is that I am even MORE clueless about the Cricut Imagine than I am about the eCraft or the Gazelle.
But, hey! That hasn't been much of a road block so far. So, why not give it a try.
I am as excited about the rumored features of the Cricut Imagine as I am about the rumored features of the eCraft. And, that is because I have learned that improvements of any kind from any manufacturer in a certain niche end up being good for everyone.
I have been an "early adopter" of technology for a long, long time. And, I have been a real fan of some of the products and manufacturers along the way. But, I learned early on that while it's OK to be a FAN, it is very short-sighted to be a LOYAL FAN. The manufacturer and product that meets my needs today might not be the manufacturer or product that meets my needs tomorrow. I want the best fit for my particular needs and that means keeping my options open.
There will be blogs that are all gaga over the Cricut Imagine's breakthrough innovation as if it came out of the blue. But, innovation is inevitable and ideas are never created in a vacuum. That's why toy manufacturers virtually never accept ideas sent to them by people with whom they've never worked. Fifteen people might mail in the very same idea at the very same time and every one of them will feel that it is a completely original idea that "suddenly popped into my mind."
It doesn't take very long scouring the cutter forums to see that many people have longed for the day when they no longer would need to use a mat. And, eCraft responded. It also doesn't take very long to see how important "Print & Cut" is to getting the most out of a cutting machine. And, that is the vacuum that Provo decided to address with the Cricut Imagine. But, what does one have to do with the other?
I have to believe that the decison by Craftwell to bundle eCraftShop Pro software was, at least in part, in response to the buzz about the Cricut Imagine. Aside from Lysa, who is a person after my own heart surrounded by machines, most digital cutter owners aren't going to be buying multiple machines. So, the market pressure of Cricut helps potential eCraft buyers because it forced Craftwell to respond by offering more.
But, don't think it stops here. I am amazed that it has taken so long to combine inkjet technology (if that is what the Imagine is using) with a cutting blade. I mean, it just seems like a no-brainer! When I look into the future I envision being able to create real puffy-stickers using printable gels. And, I think just being able to emboss with a digital cutting machine is going to be quite boring in the not too distant future. How about being able to print out in full RELIEF as digital cutters and personal 3D printing merges together. I also expect you can forget about those replaceable blades. Why not using a laser to cut that can cut to ANY controlled depth. And, don't forget the supplies. Glitter paper is cool. But, materials that might be able store 3D images or sound would be even cooler.
Cricut fans should be glad that Provo is still innovating. But, please don't let this tiny step forward, that seems SO big now, fool you into seeing yourselves as a LOYAL Cricut fan. If you do, sooner of later you will find yourself disappointed. Be loyal to your own needs. That is what is really important.