Up until the 1980s, even a bit into the 1990s, a lot of new technology was developed at the high end, or even military applications, proven, then pushed down into wider and wider applications until it hit the consumer market. Everything from computers to night vision technologies followed this path.
Companies who were clever would take expensive military and high-end specialty technologies and "forward price" it for the consumer market, pricing it so low that volumes followed, bringing large profits in later.
These days that model is turned on its head. Today it is the consumer market - mainly cellphones - that is driving many new technologies. And it is the high end applications that are following in the consumer products' wake instead of the other way around.