As of last year, 90.1 million Americans had an iPhone. They have changed the way modern life is lived in so many different ways. For instance, before smartphones and apps and the internet, people used to actually write in to newspapers with a message about how lonely they were and how much they’d like to meet someone. It was published and then that person would start getting calls and going on dates. Maybe they’d find someone and maybe they wouldn’t. If not, they could try something else or put another ad in the newspaper for everyone to read. It was a slow, somewhat inconvenient system that has all but disappeared today. If it had one use it was to leave us with a wealth of witty reflections on the human condition that were no more than a few sentences long, and this was long before Twitter was invented too (check out these from the London Review of Books). In any case, you can now try to find your soulmate on a variety of free apps that inundate you with ads so that they can continue to match the next generation of Romeos and their Juliets.
Not content with changing the way we date, iPhones have taken it upon themselves to change all sorts of other things too. Uber, for all its controversy, has made a massive impact around the world and it was only set up in 2012. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter owe a lot of their popularity to the fact that people can use them wherever they are (this is especially true in the case of Twitter, which was cited as a contributing force behind the recent Arab Spring) and smartphones now facilitate over 40% of ecommerce sales. For all of its innovations, it is not stopping there and will continue to change things in the future. Here are a few things that you may not have heard is now possible with smartphone technology:
Whatever your political opinions about the NHS, you may find that it takes longer than you’d like to speak to a doctor. Companies like Babylon have developed artificial intelligence that can help you figure out what might be wrong with you and they can also set up a video chat with a GP if you need one. You can also get your prescription delivered to your house, all without leaving your phone. In terms of checking up on your health, you can use your phone to do all sorts of odd things now such as measure your own heartbeat and find out how well you are sleeping by detecting movement and noise throughout the night.
However, not all of the innovation in apps are geared towards helping people. The Global Shark Tracker app lets you track the location of sharks around the world that have been tagged for conservation purposes. If space is more your speed, there are now apps that let you track the International Space Station so you can look out for it as it passes over you. In any case, Apple’s 2009 advertising slogan ‘There’s an app for that!’ is becoming truer every day.