Check this one out:
One day, not too soon — but still sooner than you think — the smartphone will all but vanish, the way beepers and fax machines did before it.
Make no mistake: We're still probably at least a decade away from any kind of meaningful shift away from the smartphone. (And if we're all cyborgs by 2027, I'll happily eat my words. Assuming we're still eating at all, I guess.)
Yet, piece by piece, the groundwork for the eventual demise of the smartphone is being laid by Elon Musk, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and a countless number of startups that still have a part to play.
And, let me tell you: If and when the smartphone does die, that's when things are going to get really weird for everybody. Not just in terms of individual products but in terms of how we actually live our everyday lives and maybe our humanity itself.
Here's a brief look at the slow, ceaseless march toward the death of the smartphone — and what the post-smartphone world is shaping up to look like.
I was going through the iPhone 9 and Beyond thread and was going to post this in there, but then something caught my mind.
I've been thinking about what comes after the next models of iPhones and Samsung phones and whatnot, what actual innovations future smartphones will allow. Sure, we're going to have 4k displays and wireless charging, but beyond that, what else is there for smartphones?
But that's the wrong question. I should've asked, "what comes after the smartphone?"
Well first we have to settle one other question: what is a smartphone?
For starters, it's not a phone.
Here's a way to think about it: were australopithecines humans? No, of course not. They had some of our features, but they were not of our genus. They simply led to us. We kept on getting more and more advanced until, now, there's literally never been another animal on Earth like us. Not even the australopithecines.
That's an analogy for smartphone evolution as well. The cell phones of the 1970s and 1980s were not practical and had only one feature anyhow: telephoning.
The "smart" in smartphone refers to its ability to access the internet. Except there's just one problem: if a phone can connect to the internet, then it's no longer a phone. It's a hybrid between a personal computer and a phone. These days, the idea that phones used to only be able to let you talk to someone from a distance and play "Snake" is the modern version of "we used to only have 3 TV channels", except exponentially more extreme.
Smartphones can access the internet— not a watered down "port" of the internet made for them alone, but the actual World Wide Web. They can run games that are on par with the Xbox 360 and PS3. One can run their whole lives just by using a smartphone.
Now that smartphones have begun rivaling middlingly powerful desktop computers, it's becoming painstakingly obvious they're no longer just phones. They're many, many things, and being a phone is just one of them.
If I could rename the things, I'd sooner call them "mobile computers" instead of "smartphones".
Because let's face it— that smartphone of yours is basically a "megachip". As opposed to a microchip, your megachip keeps tabs on you and allows you to function in modern society much more efficiently. The only difference is that you carry it around in your hands instead of having it implanted in your skull.
So we've defined smartphones.
What now? Ask yourself this: what have computers been doing for the longest time? Shrinking. What's something that allowed the common person to easily use computers? User input.
You can see where I'm going, right? Soon, very soon, the tech necessary to run a modern day iPhone 7s will be capable of running something that's only a cubic millimeter in size.
But we can't use something that small! At that scale, they're more like grains of sand than mobile computers.
However, we can use them to optimize ourselves. We could use that technology to create smartglasses, and then smart implants. We'll begin seeing wholly new user interfaces. At first, it may be gesture control. But then, it'll be direct BCI control.
At which point, these post-smartphones once again become hybrids— hybrids with us. We often say that smartphones are already extensions of ourselves, but that isn't the literal case. Not until they're a part of our biology.
As the article says, it may be sooner than you think.