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The iPhone is Mainstream

January 20, 2010 8:38:20.537

When the White House pushes out an iPhone app to "keep you in touch with the Administrayion", you know the device has gone completely mainstream. I think that handhelds are to the field what PCs were back in the early 80s - the next thing. Mainframes never died, but they are no longer front and center, either. Over the next few years, mobile devices will go the same way. I suspect that sometime very soon, most smart phones will start supporting Bluetooth keyboards, and will also be hookable to a display, or able to project a display themselves (like onto a wall).

Instead of carrying a full laptop, we'll have roll up keyboards and project onto the wall....

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posted by James Robertson


Re: The iPhone is Mainstream

[smalltalkhacker] January 20, 2010 11:01:47.057

These things tend to be somewhat cyclical.

Mainframes "died" because PCs became an affordable option and offered much more flexibility to the user.

The world will likely never go back to a state where mainframes have the prominence they did in the early days, but the centralised computing model embodied by mainframes has certainly been resurrected a couple of times since PCs gained wide ranging acceptance.

Cloud computing is just the latest example.

The problem is that PCs (and their equivalents) are much more flexible environments than mainframes, even when reskinned as "the cloud". They are also in the control of the user (which also has its downsides - eg. security).

Maybe mobile devices will replace laptops for lots of applications, but I have my doubts about roll up keyboards and projection. The former won't have the tactile feel of a traditional keyboard and projection won't work in most mobile environments (consider projecting onto the seat in front in a plane or train or where there is no convenient blank wall - eg. the coffee shop).

Re: The iPhone is Mainstream

[Dennis Decker Jensen] January 21, 2010 2:22:03.286

Sure, albeit Mainframes are on the front end when compared to "clouds", e.g. with energy consumption ("greenness"), although it seems driven partly by fashion, partly by expediency, partly by desperation in that case (Google make their own power supplies these days). And, of course virtual computing were invented on mainframes, where they are decades ahead of "the clouds" (still). I suspect prices will continue to drop.

I most likely biased here. I may be too old to see handhelds as anything but (mostly useless) fashion. When I observe my younger brothers, and even less younger colleagues, and others - that is where all the rave is. After the holiday season the iPhone has become a normal sight on a normal day. I see several people with iPhones everyday on the bus commute.

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