The general consensus in the technology industry is that the expontential growth of mobile has finally peaked, after years of driving massive technology growth and value for venture capitalists. While it is undeniable that the hyper growth mobile experienced during the past decade (which venture capitalist rely on) has slowed, I have fought the notion that mobile has truly peaked. Today for the first time though, it hit home for me that maybe mobile phones have reached most of their potential by something I didn't see coming; time.
The iPhone is officially ten years old this week. I know, I can't believe it has been ten years either. I still remember when new iPhones were the hottest thing you could get your hands on. You could touch it with your fingers to use it. It had pinch to zoom and slide to unlock! Included a 2 Megapixel camera, headphone jack, single home button, accelerometer and a proximity sensor. It talked to the internet and all of it was in your pocket!
The past year has shown that investors are looking for new industries and technology sectors to invest in. Fred Wilson has predicted artificial intelligence will be the new mobile. As proof of this, Amazon's new home speaker that you talk too, the Echo, was one of the most popular products of the year. Other technologies with the label artificial intelligence seem to be creeping into many of our existing products. For example, my to do list app, Todoist, now uses A.I. to learn from me overtime and automatically reschedule my tasks that become past due.
This implication means many things to Apple and it's need for new product lines. The Apple Watch was a mild success/failure depending on how you view it. Airpods seem to be a new favorite and I personally love mine, but deep diving into Apple's future is much more then we need to get into here. Instead I would like to recognize it's past. In honor of the ten year anniversary of the iPhone I found Steve Jobs keynote from 2007 and shared it below. I encourage you to watch the first few minutes to remind yourself just how revolutionary the new iPhone was at the time and how funny Steve Jobs was while announcing it.
Then just let it simmer that the iPhone is now ten years old- and what that means for the technology industry. Putting that number ten on the age of the iPhone makes it feel a lot more like my laptop in terms of excitement. As new innovations come from wearables it is only logical that mobile is going the way of desktop computers & laptops. My phone is now something I use multiple times a day, everyday, but just is not as exciting in the long run.
Mobile will continue to grow as it expands into new markets and territories across the planet. But as with the greatest of technologies we rely on as a species, without large innovations it will fade into the background of our lives, perhaps even for he better. If mobile fades into something we use everyday without thinking, then maybe it can truly enhance our human experience instead of drawing us away from things we should be focusing on. It will go the way of electricity, where we just turn it on without thinking. To become such a utility in our daily lives that it just fades into the background, to be taken for granted the miracle it truly is.