Friday, June 29, 2007

Life after the I-Phone

Life will never be the same. The I-Phone goes on sale today. How good the device is, how well it lives up to the claims, is almost irrelevent (as Tomi Ahonen has pointed out in his Before and After I-Phone post HERE)
What other convergent device has attracted the column inches, the Radio One newsbeat reports, the Ten O'Clock TV news coverage... the queues in Manhattan...?
Of course the queues thing has been achieved before, and the hype for that matter. Think each time a new 'must-have' console emerges - the X-Box launch, for example. And most games consoles today are exceptional convergent devices, which often allow users to communicate through them, too.
The difference is that the I-Phone is an always-on, always-with-you, example of pervasive computing in the way the console has yet to emerge as.
When has Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung or any other handset maker achieved the same?
It is the marketing, the hype and the acceptance of this that will be Apple's biggest gift since it gave us windows as an operating system (picked up and run with by Microsoft).
Now the world and his mother understands that a mobile phone is also a viable way of accessing the power of the internet.
Now the world knows that they can be constantly connected with global communities sharing information, creating content, reporting the 'news', capturing and sending thoughts and images and (alas, not on the I-Phone) video at the point of inspiration.
The consequences of a people empowered by this notion and holding these tools in its hand will be felt in media, politics, science, education and beyond. A test? Could Tiananmen Square happen again in this world of always-connected-communities?
How slickly the I-Phone pulls all this off, or not, is to a large extent irrelevant. The cat is out of the bag.
There will be no stopping its curiosity.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?