I recently attended a conference in Atlantic City on the future of technology. Topics included self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality, designer babies, nanobots, the implications of artificial intelligence, and more.
One session in particular really stayed with me: The Smart Phone.
Assuming you own one, have you thought much about your smart phone and how ridiculously powerful it is? It’s an equalizer for access to information. It’s an instant connection to the whole wide world.
Exactly 10 years ago, the first iPhone was released. Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone as a combination of three devices: a music player with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communicator. The days of duck-hunting on a flip-phone keypad were over. Do you remember typing “222” for the letter C? Not very convenient! The first iPhone boasted a big responsive touch screen, a proper keyboard, and nimble navigation.
Fast-forward 10 years later: The new iPhone X has facial recognition and you can shop online using your FACE to make payment. It has photography and film capabilities that rival a professional studio. It can instantly connect you to millions around the globe and shoot stunning HDR video in 4k resolution. It’s trained to know your voice and only respond to you. Just think about it. Imagine everything you can actually do with your smart phone right now and it will boggle the mind. At first the microphone was dumb, and then we taught it to understand us. The camera just took photos and then we taught it to recognize us. Imagine what’s in store for the iPhone 2027! It’s both exciting and scary.
The iPhone X starts at $1,000, and many are complaining that this is much too expensive. Consider for a moment this revelation from esteemed economist, Brad De Long. He ran some numbers on the iPhone X’s 256 GB of memory and 4.3 billion transistors in its A-11 processor and discovered that building an iPhone X in 1957 would have literally taken all of the money in the world.
Specifically, it would have cost 150 trillion of today’s dollars, which is one and a half times today’s global annual product. The CPU would have taken up a hundred-story square building 100 feet high and 2 miles long and wide. And to power the CPU, it would have drawn 150 terawatts of power—that is 30 times the world’s current generating capacity!
Meanwhile, in 2017, we’re carrying this device in our pockets. Pretty wild, isn’t it? $1,000 doesn’t seem so astronomical when you think about it in those terms.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the iPhone, check out these awesome books below. And as always, if you have any questions on your devices whatsoever, come to CPL’s Drop-in Tech Help! We hold it every week.