Which mobile phone did you own eight years ago? Was it a brick, basic handset, or were you one of the technologically advanced with a WAP-enabled Nokia?
The telephone has always been there, well for the last 137 years anyway. Then out of the blue my dad returned home one day with a beaming smile and what looked like an additional bit of weight around his midriff. It was a battery belt that attached to a ‘mobile’ phone. These days we dismiss it as retro or perhaps not even ‘mobile’. Although pretty cool on the day, that was pretty much it for mobile and me as I certainly wasn’t allowed to use it.
Ten years later during my first year at university I was opening up yet another student bank account (they all offered overdrafts you see), when all of a sudden Barclays gave me a mobile phone. It was a black ‘unit’ with a little rubber aerial, rubber keypads and LED screen. This was the business. It was pay as you go, therefore used for calling people and hanging up before they answered, and the occasional text message.
This little companion remained with me for most of my uni life. I could charge it once a week, drop it, spill beer on it and it never failed me.
Last year I was given a work iPhone. A phone, emails, internet, music, videos, films, games, camera, video camera – bang, all there on one single little device. Everything except my wallet, which I don’t think I’ll need this time next year as I’ve had a letter from Barclays (yup, loyal since the day it gave me my first mobile), saying it is sending me a sticker to put on my phone so I can just tap things to pay for them. This is known as Near Field Communication. Mental. What next?
It’s scary when you think back to that phone you had eight years ago. Can it really change that much again in the next eight? And what does that mean for future generations? My two year old son can turn on my iPhone and navigate to Peppa pig, installed for those times when you really need the kids to shut up.
I question what mobile technology is doing to mankind and how we interact with each other. Does anyone ever ask for directions any more? No. Do people chat at the train station? No, most play on their phones.
The iPhone will simply be how my children remember what was called ‘the phone’, which no doubt will just be a small feature on their ‘personal assistant’ that they simply talk to and it does everything for them. All this, with a battery that recharges itself whenever it gets low.
Right, I’m just off to order the weekly shop, organise my finances, book the family holiday, catch up on email and watch a film – hopefully before the iPhone battery runs out.