On the eve of the 10th birthday of Apple's iPhone, USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham asks people attending the annual VidCon convention what's next for mobile devices.
ANAHEIM, Calif. —The iPhone turns 10 on June 29th. Happy birthday iPhone! And with that out of the way, onto the future. How many more years do you think we’ll be serenading the world’s favorite digital device?
Sure, Apple is poised to sell over 200 million iPhones this year, but let’s face it, technology is fickle. VCRs are hot one day, then they get replaced by DVDs. And when’s the last time you checked out one of those? Cassette tapes, 8-tracks, vinyl albums, the iPod, kitchen radios that don’t talk back to you and turn on and off your lights. Things change really fast.
So is it a stretch to consider that 10 years from now, we’ll have ditched the iPhone or Android smartphone for some other sort of newer device?
“You and I may still be using our iPhones, but my kids might be phone nevers,” says Alex Kruglov, the CEO of the SmileTime video chat website. “They’ll have some other device that is more utilitarian and a part of their body.”>
Lisa and Anthony Singelton of Sacramento, California with their iPhones. (Photo: Robert Hanashiro)
He sees this imaginary wearable product doing all the things the iPhone does: communication, reading the web, snapping and managing photos, and he’s not alone in this theory.
“The first wearables have been horrible,” admits Gene Munster, who runs the Loup Ventures fund in Minneapolis. “It’s hard to imagine what it will be, because no one has seen it yet, but there will be some device that you seamlessly interact with, and you’ll either wear it as glasses or contacts.”>
Alex Kruglov, CEO of the Smiletime live chat website. (Photo: Jefferson Graham)
At this point we reach out to readers and say—really? You buying this?
Sure, products come and go, but the telephone has been around since 1876 and TVs in living rooms since the 1940s. They certainly haven't gone away.
The phone shape has changed, as have the use cases, but it's still a phone. Even with different screen sizes and wider field of vision, the television is still a television. Turn it on and get entertainment.
So it’s hard to believe that in 2027 and even 2037, we won’t still be using smartphones, or some mobile device with a glass screen that displays video and helps us communicate with others.
Ten years ago here at #TalkingTech we made calls on a Sprint-branded, company-issued flip phone, so time really has moved on. But the phone we’re all addicted to now, the one that provides 70% of Apple’s revenues, disappearing like the original iPod? Count us as non-believers.
We asked folks at the VidCon convention here whether they truly believed in a world of tomorrow without an iPhone.
Haleigh Singelton, 15, said she wouldn't mind a new, mythical wearable device directing her to navigate through gestures and head movements. "If that's where we're headed, it makes sense."
Mom Lisa, said that whatever they come up with, "It would just be something else for us to lose." She noted how the iPhone is currently her life. "It's my calendar, my e-mail, my maps, my alarm clock. It's everything."
Molly Fershin, 14, who lives near Anaheim, said she wouldn't mind using a new device that might be glasses, if it's better than the iPhone," but, she admits, "I'd miss holding it."
Added sister Reilly, 18, "I'd feel naked not having it on me."
Remember, we're on record — the iPhone will still be going strong in 2027.
Check the June, 2027 edition of the this column to see how well we saw into the future.
Meanwhile in other tech news.
Uber. The embattled CEO of the ride-hailing company, Travis Kalanick, resigned, in the wake of mounting pressure from investors. He had originally planned just to take an extended leave. The management crisis has had an effect on Uber's share of rides, which dropped to 75% from 90%, according to TXN Solutions. .
YouTube 180. Face it, watching 360 degree virtual reality videos on smartphones has not been a popular or pleasing experience. So YouTube Thursday announced a new plan that would make VR videos viewable as flat, regular videos that would only come to life for extended viewing left, right, up and down when viewed through a headset like the $15 Google Cardboard or $79 Google Daydream. But there's a catch: you'll be waiting quite some time to see these new VR180 videos. New cameras to produce the format won't go on sale until December.
Amazon's try before buying clothing service. Prime Wardrobe allows customers to order clothes, keep them for a week and return whatever they don’t like for free. Any Prime member ($99 yearly subscription) in the United States can choose between three and 15 items of clothing, shoes or accessories, which will be shipped to them for free. Customers then have up to seven days to try the clothing on. Anything they don’t want, for whatever reason, can be shipped back in the same reusable box, which comes with a prepaid label. Amazon picks up the shipping cost.
Snap Maps. Communications app Snapchat introduced a new way to find and meet friends with Snap Map, a Google Maps- like display that shows a graphical look at where your friends (who are shown as Bitmojis) are composing Snaps at that moment. You can interact directly with them on the map, and also see submissions to the curated "Our Story," feature that Snap editors put together daily. Control who can see you on Snap Maps.
Our week in tech, audio
—Eric Feng is either a genius, or crazy. He's just launched a new app for watching unboxing tech videos, called Unboxed.TV. Our #TalkingTech chat.
—We meet the two chief "Sweetys" behind the Sweety High website and chat with them about online girl power.
—Did you know you could get rich posting on Instagram? We talk to young influencers Baby Ariel and Andrea Russett about their lives as Instagrammers.
—YouTube's proposed save for Virtual Reality videos with VR180.
—The sounds of VidCon, as told by the young attendees who come to meet and greet their favorite YouTube celebrities.
#TalkingTech video highlights from the week:
How to strike it rich on Instagram
Instagram performers Andrea Russett and Baby Ariel tell how their alliances with brands like Nordstrom, Nike and Soap and Glory helps the companies reach the ever-elusive young consumer on #TalkingTech.
That wild VidCon meetup, with influencers, SweeTarts and M&Ms.
USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham talks to people attending VidCon about how the annual convention of online video content makers has evolved.
What you may have missed in last week's #TalkingTech newsletter:
Subscribe to our new #TalkingTech newsletter, and tell all your friends. Also sign up for the #TalkingTech podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Tunein and wherever else you like to hear great online audio. and follow me on Twitter, @jeffersongraham and Facebook.com/jefferson_graham.