Walking through the BART station on the commute home the other day, I witnessed something you don’t often see anymore. An older couple using what is probably one of the last pay phones left in San Francisco.
My initial thought was to share my hand sanitizer with them; my second was how quickly things that we used to use on a regular basis have been made obsolete by the smart devices many of us carry with us everywhere. (Followed closely by my third – what would a pay phone call cost these days?)
Back to the idea of all the devices in my life that have been replaced by my smartphone, I was struck by just how much I rely on it to do everything from get me to work on time (alarm clock) to document my family’s adventures (camera and video capture) to entertaining me during rare moments of downtime (e-reader app, Angry Birds).
Poking around online, I found a somewhat prescient article from 2009 that “predicts” some of the devices that will be made obsolete by smartphones. (Granted, it’s from just two years ago, but I think we can all agree that given the rapid pace of adoption and innovation smartphone years have to be worth at least as much as dog years …) Some of the predictions hit very close to home, including:
- Wristwatches. I haven’t worn one in years and don’t know too many people who do, outside my parents. On a family outing with Gramma a few months back, she asked the time commenting that she had left her watch at home. My younger son replied, not missing a beat, “Just check your phone like Mommy does.”
- Alarm clocks. We still have one on the beside table, but the only thing I use it for these days is to see just how much sleep I’m not getting when I battle my insomnia.
- Paper. An interesting one, but its true – whether you think of replacing the huge Thomas Guide mapbooks with a GPS app, the aforementioned e-reader app or QR-code based airline boarding passes, our mobile devices have helped us reduce our paper waste.
- Landlines. While, we still do have a landline, we only use it to call my in-laws in Europe. Once international calling becomes more affordable (or my husband falls out with his siblings) I have a feeling we’ll be among those cutting the cord.
What objects have your mobile device displaced? What are your predictions of things that we currently can’t live without that are likely to be pushed aside by the next wave of mobile technology?
A little bit about me: My smartphone runs my life – from keeping track of my work email and making sure the kids are on time for their next soccer game to managing my grocery lists and keeping tabs on current events (like the Giants game). My dream app? The AP Stylebook for Android.