​Life After The Smart Phone

The smart phone has been world changing, but it is soon going to be disrupted


Remember pagers, fax machines, VCRs, Floppy Disks, Teletext?

Chances are if you're born after a certain date, you won't. Soon enough, smartphones will be part of the catalog of obsolete tech.

We still often behold smartphones as a revolutionary piece of kit and they are, really. But as Apple releases its iPhone 8 model and delivers their recent keynote for the iPhone X, we’re beginning to see shifts in smartphone capabilities. Not only are there obvious upgrades to the tech, like better cameras and apps, but we’re seeing changes in the way in which we interact with them.

The iPhone X changes the way we interact with the device through computer vision used to analyze your face. This mapping is used for unlocking the phone, Apple pay transactions, and even to animate emojis. And as great as these new features are - I mean, how much do you want your face animating a unicorn? It’s time we come to terms with the fact that smartphones won’t be around forever.

There are many companies working on the next big thing for personal communications. Playing around with different computing interfaces like Amazon Echo’s voice technology, Sony’s PlayStation VR and wearable tech like Apple’s Watch range are laying the groundwork for the future of how we interact with technology on a day to day basis.

Companies out there like Google-backed Magic Leap, Microsoft, and Facebook are taking the next steps by using technology to augment human vision with a digital overlay. By projecting the computer interface directly into our vision, the relationship we have now with our phones will step into the realm of augmented reality, or hyper-reality. Hyper-reality from Jean Baudrillard’s theory, in most basic terms, refers to that which we experience, especially through advanced technologies, it becomes hard to differentiate simulated reality and reality itself.

And while it is a long time until this sort of product would reach the commercial market, work is most definitely underway to make it happen and we’re already seeing the steps being taken by leading companies. Replacing the screen could not just be limited to phones either, TV’s and computers have the potential to succumb to this technology too.

As augmented reality makes moves to replace the smartphone, it’s not hard to see how. Apple has touted iOS as being the ‘world’s largest platform for augmented reality’, beginning to show the importance of AR technology within the smartphone market. With the growing popularity and functionality of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana the way in which we interact with this tech will change dramatically. And not just how we talk to them, but how they communicate back. This creates less demand for a physical keyboard or touchscreen typing, bolstering support for augmented technologies.

With a plethora of different ways in which we interact with the technology around us, it’s certain that we’re in the throes of ‘hyper-reality’. Now, I don’t want to get too heavy, but imagine just how detached from reality, as users of this tech, we could get as it grows? Unwanted pop-ups, targeted adverts and notifications popping up in the corners of your vision consistently would have detrimental effects on your personal wellbeing, but maybe this is just something that will be the norm one day.

Check out Keiichi Matsuda’s futuristic dive into Hyper-reality in this concept film - is this what our futures look like?

Speaking to big ear small

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