Every month or so someone with a brain far bigger than mine predicts what will happen to the future of technology. The internet is dead. The personal computer is dead. Now it’s the smartphone that will die. Soon.
Scattered among the Apple is doomed memes trolling the internet is one that remains general in nature, but those big brains are busy putting the pieces together from the present and the past that will point the way toward a smartphone-less future. I’ll believe it when I see it, but I don’t sense I’ll be around long enough to see it.
Changes To The Future
If we believed what the technology prognosticators said, we’d all be in perfect health thanks to a daily pill, everyone would have flying cars, and nobody would work because robots would do everything. Maybe so. After all, aren’t Stepford Husbands running Washington, D.C. these days.
Most of the attempts to predict the future have gone astray, and they’re much like someone who says history was changed by this even or that event. History doesn’t change because of something that happens today, let alone in the future.
Steve Ranger claims:
Every technology rises, then falls: soon it will be the turn of the smartphone. But what will replace it?
Good question. But I’m more concerned about the near future and when the smartphone will be replaced than I am about what will replace it.
Whether or not technology falls after it rises probably depends upon how long term forward you want to view the future. Radio is dead. Except it isn’t. Television is dead. Except it’s not. The personal computer is dying. Not really, because now it fits nicely in my pocket. Even Star Trek couldn’t see too far into the future. Star Trek TNG had touch panel computer screens while Star Trek Classic had computer tapes. That was the year 2364 vs. roughly 2265 or so for the original.
The thing about the smartphone is not how advanced it is. It is. But it’s more about how many other technologies have been absorbed into a single device.
For a while it looked like wearables would be the next big thing, but it is proving just too hard to fit enough processing power and battery life into something like a smartwatch to make it a viable alternative to a phone. And, even if those two problems can be overcome, the screen is never going to be big enough on any wearable for it to be our primary connection to the digital world.
So, a screen we can see is important. Future screens may be all about augmented reality and virtual reality, both of which are available in some degree already, and both of which are being ignored by the masses.
But I just don’t see a next evolution of personal technology that doesn’t involved (sic) some sort of overlay on our vision. Smartglasses will in turn be a stepping stone to smart contact lenses or even the mind-reading tech that Facebook announced last week it is working on (Elon Musk has talked about something similar too).
Sounds like ideas you’d read about in Popular Science.
The smartphone won’t die out entirely, of course. Old technologies don’t die off, they just find their niche and fossilize.
You know. Like Windows. But not like The Year Of Linux On The Desktop. It’s already here. But the name has been changed to Chromebook. Sometimes the future surprises us. Maybe smartphones are dead already, thanks to the iPhone which made a last minute burst of innovation on a stale, stagnated platform.
The closest model we have is the PC: rapid adoption to saturation level, then stagnation for a long time followed by a late burst of innovation before settling into a comfortable niche. Over the next five to 10 years the smartphone will do the same. People will be using smarphones for decades, just like some people still use pagers. But already Silicon Valley is looking past smartphones.
If the iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus are the zenith of the smartphone segment of modern technology, then the end must be near.
What of the future?
How about voice activated contact lenses which do everything an iPhone can do today, including wireless internet transmission, thought commands, health sensors, and endless battery life thanks to kinetic power generated by eye movement? That’s certainly as plausible as flying cars.