In a few short years, smartphones have become both ubiquitous and indispensable. What on earth would we do without them?
Firstly, we’d be carrying a lot of clutter around with us. Filofax, business card holder, memo pad – all of these have mostly died out in favour of calendar and contact apps that come as standard on all smartphones now, with cloud syncing as part of the deal.
We’d be harder to get hold of. My phone has three different alert tones to tell me if there’s an SMS, an email or a social network update waiting for me. It’s torture having to ignore any of those for more than a few minutes. Our contacts expect real-time responses from us whatever the time of day or night. Gone are the days when you could simply unplug your landline phone and be disconnected from the world for a few hours.
We’d get lost more. Anyone remember calling a company you were due to visit and asking them to fax you driving directions? Everyone’s phone has GPS, road maps and turn-by-turn directions built-in now. Who buys paper road maps any more?
But we’d also interact with the people around us more. How often do you see couples or groups of people in a restaurant, all crouched over their phones communicating with people the world over instead of the ones they’re actually sitting with? I’m guilty of that.
There are times when you simply need to put the damn thing down and enjoy that other sort of face time – one-to-one with the person you’re next to.