It was in January 2007 when the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s charismatic chief executive, launched the first iPhone. It wasn’t the first smartphone ever – the technology was being developed some 15 years previously – but very few people now remember the companies that worked on them, though, of course, Windows was already in the business.
The iPhone was a technological game-changer, and both Windows and Google, with its Android OS, struggled initially to keep up. However, things have moved on during the last decade or so and there are few people, especially of the younger generations, who don’t have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop (and frequently all three) as they access the world through their ever-developing new technology.
The chances are that you will be extremely familiar with all of these and may well be glued to a screen for much of your working and social life. Unless you are techie, then you may not know exactly how these devices actually work, but you’re probably very skilled at using all the programs and apps that they offer.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that this technology has changed everything.
Back in the day, mobile phones were built like bricks and probably weighed more than one. The ability to make calls was often difficult because the network of masts was still in its infancy. Now you can get coverage practically anywhere in the world, and the development of text messaging (with its own evolving language) and the option to access your email and the internet meant that you could keep in contact and up to date at any time of day or night.
The gradual rollout of social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter increased the options that you had available, so pictures and then videos with sound could be uploaded as you wanted. Posts would go viral, and still do, and many businesses began to use social media for marketing purposes instead of the traditional route of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television.
Communications were revolutionized by this constantly expanding technology, and with the genie out of the bottle, you can expect many more innovations in the years to come.
From the days of the first computer games, developed for arcades and then for the growing personal computer market, gaming has always been an integral part of technological development.
Once accessed by clunky cassette tapes (remember those?), you now have hundreds of options to download an immense variety of games. From simple puzzle games to MMORPGs with a huge number of players worldwide, you can choose to share with others or play solo games at any time. It’s a massive industry, and now with mobile gaming, you can play games wherever and whenever you want.
Once upon a time, you got your live footage from the television, especially for sports or for rock and other concerts. They could often be few and far between until satellite broadcasters started to make an impact by televising many more live sporting occasions.
Now you have the option to live stream broadcasts on your device, keeping right up to date with the action no matter where you are. If you’re a sports betting fan, then there’s no need to have to go into a betting office or a sports bar to find out what’s happening to the teams that you’ve bet on. Just go to a sports betting site and you’ll find all the information that you need so that you can keep in touch with the latest scores and progress of games.
Apps for maps make traveling a whole lot easier thanks to voice recognition technology. A navigation app pinpoints your location, and though you can type in your destination, you have the option just to speak it instead. Physical maps can still be very useful to get a wider overview of an area or a wider region, but there’s little doubt that the advent of satnavs and navigation apps for phones has made a real difference to the ease of traveling.
No one really knows what the technological future holds. Artificial intelligence appears to be on the rise, voice tools such as Siri and Alexa are only likely to be developed further, and robots are no longer just a sci-fi dream. Technology will always move on, but perhaps it’s worth thinking more deeply about what this Brave New World is bringing to society.