On January 9, 2007, a revolutionary device was unveiled at a tech conference in California, effectively changing the face of everyday technology as we knew it. Naturally, this is in reference to Steve Jobs’ introduction of the iPhone — a touchscreen cell phone that could not only make phone calls and send text messages, but enable users to easily access the internet, store and play their favorite music, and even capture pictures as well.
Although this first model was, in retrospect, extraordinarily basic, it shattered consumers’ expectations and subsequently changed the way everyday people viewed developing technology.
Ultimately, this shift in the public’s viewpoint had a great impact on the development of these devices, bringing forth what were believed to be major changes — a video camera, customizable backgrounds, applications that allow improved accessibility to one’s favorite social media platforms and other products, enhanced navigational technology, and so on — all within the first two years of the iPhone’s public existence.
Now, 10 years after the release of the iPhone, our smartphones are only getting smarter, with features such as fingerprint and facial recognition, voice control, a variety of touch-based commands, and enhanced functionality and user experience across all apps becoming the norm.
Additionally, competition between manufacturers is fiercer than ever before, as many smartphones have been developed to offer features that are essentially the same, yet just different enough to spark debate amongst consumers.
However, it is important to note that as these devices have become increasingly sophisticated, many suspect that these tech companies have nowhere else to go. This is mostly because it seems there are no more groundbreaking developments to unveil and shock the public with, nor any more unique features to market.
So, it appears that the relevance of smartphones is now hanging in the balance, causing some to question whether or not these currently-integral devices will stand the test of time. Remember, though, that this is nothing new. Many of the technological advancements that were once the staples of society have fallen by the wayside — just look at the radio, landline telephone, and perhaps even the modern computer.
This can be attributed to the ways in which our society’s values have changed. Rather than making long-term investments — say, in quality clothing — younger generations tend to err on the side of cheap, fast fashion that tends to lose relevance after a month or so. This shift has become apparent in the ways they also treat technology — hence why so many cell service providers also offer plans that allow their customers to upgrade to the newest smartphone model annually.
Taking all of this information into consideration, it is becoming increasingly understandable why tech experts and tech-lovers alike are questioning the long-term viability of the smartphone.
What is your opinion? Feel free to leave a comment below, or start a conversation with Steve Moye on Twitter!