Few would argue that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs didn’t have that vision thing. He also had loads of personal and position power to ensure that his vision of technology products would become a reality.
What hath Steve Jobs wrought? Apple itself, of course. The Mac, the iMac, Apple Stores, iTunes, iPod, iTunes Music Store, Intel Inside, iPhone, iPad. He left behind an enduring legacy and a wildly rich company with more than a billion seemingly well satisfied customers. What else?
My view of modern technology gadgets is about as up close as you can get. My husband and I work at a Chicagoland private school so we see just about every gadget you can imaging and I can tell you what Steve Jobs hath wrought.
I’m sufficiently mature that I remember 16mm film in school and how it was proclaimed to be the greatest tool to teach children of the 20th century. Then along came cassette recorders, video tape recorders, VHS, personal computers, CDs, and DVDs, each to a roar of approval from educators. As much as these devices integrated their way into society and the education system, none have had the impact of what Steve Jobs wrought.
Today, every smartphone is evolved of the original iPhone design which Jobs launched in 2007. A decade later about 3-billion or more people on planet earth have smartphones and are connected to the internet. I have school age relatives who own iPhones and iPads but don’t know how to type. They can text, take photos and videos, upload to Instagram, Facebook, and elsewhere. Their handheld devices have become the de facto 21st century babysitter.
Everyday at school I see children– K to high school– using iPhones and iPads. They text, share files and photos, and do all of what young people do on their phones individually or as traveling social groups of friends and classmates. It is not unusual to peer down a hallway and see absolutely every student walking along, neck bent forward and peering into their phones.
Chiropractic might be a good profession to be in in a decade or so because so many people will need neck adjustments. My nephew asked me what color my iPhone was when I was in elementary school. I told him it was black. And our family only had one. And it was tied to the wall and we couldn’t carry it anywhere. His look was of disbelief. He couldn’t imagine a life without an iPhone or iPad and couldn’t remember a time when they didn’t exist.
My parents worried about a thing called screen time. That was for television, effective competition for the public library, school library, and the home library my teacher parents had assembled through the years. Today’s iPhone-toting child can carry an entire planet of libraries in his or her pocket or bag and view anything from breaking news to videos to television from the palm of the hand.
Staff and faculty at school talk about other changes, too. Children don’t date as they once did. They use the word talking to explain how they date (not always in person, either) which is odd since much of the communication is done through texting. Sex between students is in decline, too; somewhat anecdotally, of course, but verified through other social surveys. Heavy iPhone users (toss in less expensive Android devices, too) spend less time on homework, less time driving around with friends, and less time on physical and social activities than previous generations.
Where is all this going? We don’t know. What Steve Jobs brought to modern technology is market disruption. His iPhone has brought about social disruption and the effects may not be known for a few more decades.