The iPhone is 10 years old. Sometimes it is hard to believe that something so central to our modern lives simply wasn’t a thing a mere decade ago: but that’s the way it is.
In those 10 years a huge amount has changed, not just in terms of the technology itself but in the way we as consumers, individuals - people - behave and manage our time. That’s an impressive record for a small piece of technology we put into our pocket without a moment’s thought.
But what comes next? What does the future look like for the smartphone, and indeed does it have a future at all? We recently canvassed opinion from some of the industry’s smartest minds, and this article collects some of that opinion, along with a little bit of Swrve’s take on the world.
“I don’t believe the smartphone has a future, or at least not in the same way as today”. That’s the view of Paul Berney, Managing Partner at mCordis. But before we keel over in shock, that’s simply a way of noting that the hardware itself becomes less and less significant.
“The device will be an access to our digital selves. It will allow us to access the data we want, when and where we want it. More so it will be the conduit to the services we want. Those services will be build around anticipatory design giving us what we need before we have asked for it and often completing tasks for us in the background without even notifying us so as to reduce our cognitive load.”
That’s a viewpoint that makes a lot of sense and is echoed by what we hear from our own customers. It’s almost certainly true that perhaps the single greatest shift will indeed be in the way we interact - or don’t interact - with the services we use each day, and it stands to reason that the true power of the ‘phone’ will be in the way it manages these interactions.
Along similar lines, Christina Trampota, entrepreneur and global thought leader in the mobile space, sees “the smartphone as the main point of control to all the other mobile touchpoints in our lives”. She believes that “the evolution in mobile will continue to focus more in the software and services space for growth and expansion. We are noticing the decrease in the number of apps that gain consumers ongoing use and attention on their devices. This should continue as the top messaging apps continue to serve as a prime conversation channel between consumers and companies - both SMBs and brands”
Highlighting the growing focus on issues of information and identity, Christina also sees interesting times ahead in the consumers’ attitude to personal data in this increasingly connected space. “It will be interesting to see where consumer behavior evolves in the future in terms of sharing social and personal data, and this in turn will clearly impact marketing and advertising when it comes to what is expected in return for sharing that identity and preference”.
Returning to the focus on services delivered by mobile, Nabeena Mali, Head of Marketing at App Institute, believes “the next 10 years will see mobile evolve through improvements in technology and software to find new ways to reduce the friction in our lives. Progressive apps will offer businesses a way to increase mobile conversions by removing app store friction, and the way we use AI via mobile will develop beyond simply managing the temperature of our homes or our weekly grocery list”. In a memorable phrase she claims “if mobile today is as essential to daily life as your toothbrush, in 10 more years it will become as essential as having access to drinking water.”
Lastly, and to satisfy us hardware junkies who are still keen to know what’s next when it comes to the actual phone, Swapnil Bhagwat of Amvensys Capital Group has some good news. “Due to the advancement of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, the screens of mobile phones can be easily folded and unfolded. This will mean you will be able to use a large screen to watch or even play games as needed - in fact these paper-thin lightweight screens can even be viewed from both sides.’
Definitely something to look forward to!