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Walt Mossberg Describes New Future Created by iPhone
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 at 4:50 PM - by
Walt Mossberg, at the Aspen, Colorado Ideas Festival last month, spoke about the rise and importance of the iPhone. He set the stage by pointing out that the Internet is not a place, but rather a pervasive utility. When we switch to that kind of thinking, the future enabled by the Apple iPhone comes into perspective.
For example, we don't think about the electrical grid, all pervasive, as a place where we go. It's just there. So in the future, when we recollect how people used to "connect" to the Internet, it will be as anachronistic as the old Godzilla movies with scientist in white lab coats and their mainframes trying to fight the monster.
Mr. Mossberg, went back in time a bit to look at the development of the personal computer and how it enabled the Internet. However, in the future, the classic metaphor of a PC or Mac connected to the Internet as an information source will be replaced by personal products, namely mobile phones, that become appliances on the Internet. The Apple iPhone is the forerunner of such devices.
The key to our new future is not the antenna design or the radio frequencies, as Mr. Jobs has said, but rather the software. What enabled that is the "PC-grade" operating system, Mac OS X, and Apple put it in the customer's pocket.
The explosive growth of the App Store is just the beginning of the recognition that the nature of our interaction with the Internet will change from a single point of contact to an all pervasive service, driven by software.
Eventually, other companies will catch up with Apple. For now, however, the iPhone remains a breakthrough device that sets the stage for a whole new kind of future.
While some of what Mr. Mossberg spoke to his audience about is well known to informed Mac and iPhone users, the overall scope of the talk provides some fascinating background. That comes out in the talk when Mr. Mossberg explains how WindowsMobile was designed to look like a PC and make IT managers happy and comfortable -- while the iPhone, with vision, was designed to develop a whole new kind of personal interaction with the Internet.
As evidence for that, Mr. Mossberg related some personal stories about how he has interacted with the iPhone as proof that the "connectedness" the iPhone affords has made him smarter, helped him meet new people, and helped him learn new things.
That connectedness can be expected to forever change our culture.
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