Wednesday, March 24, 2010
by Larry Geller
It seems that not a day passes that my mind isn’t blown while reading about a new iPhone app. No, I don’t own one, but I appreciate the technology. Our kids will grow up taking these things for granted, but for me, it’s remarkable that so much can be done by one device.
From the earliest days I believed computers should do more than just calculate payrolls, so I appreciate the new apps. Did you know I wrote the prototype for what became GE’s internal email system, and that later evolved into what is likely the first commercial email product? That was a giant step, if I may say so, from doing payrolls and calculating chemical reactions or clearing bank checks.
I also wrote a program to choose hair color in a beauty parlor and calculate the mix and pre-bleach necessary to achieve it, so even a beginning colorist could produce professional results. And to run that, the shop had to rent a teletype and 110 baud modem. But I digress.
Now, today I learned that if you have an iPhone you don’t have to collect piles of business cards. Someone hands their card to you, you point your iPhone at it, and you’ve got the data entered into the database. In an instant. Article here. My Neat Receipts does that (and more), but I can’t carry it around with me, and it needs starting up and scanning and all that.
A phone app will make sure you don’t speed in your car. Another will read text messages or tweets to you so you won’t crash texting while driving.
The iPhone does so much, there’s less and less incentive to put it down. One day people will just carry their iPhones around in their hands all day, as ubiquitous as the wristwatch on the wrist or the earring in the ear. Next to your pillow at night it will take messages, maybe compose replies, and wake you gently in the morning according to your stored calendar. Her phone will rest on the pillow next to his phone. The dog will have kind of an iPhone, but maybe not the cat. Oh, the dog will no longer have to fetch the newspaper in the morning, because of course your iPhone will have a Peer App.
What next. These apps make so much sense. It’s become a way of life, an expansion of individual capabilities. Probably a big time waster too, with all those apps to hunt down, try out and play with, but for that you don’t need an iPhone, any old computer will do.
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