It’s a slogan you’ve probably heard in at least one of Apple’s commercials about the iPhone. But more than that, it sums up the underlying magic of the smartphone revolution in a short catchy phrase. Why is that so many people want smartphones, whether it is an iPhone or a Droid or even a Blackberry? It can talk, text, take pictures and play music like most other phones can, and people definitely don’t pay hundreds of dollars just for a touch screen or glossy finish (if they do then they are complete idiots). Then why is there such popularity among them?
The answer essentially boils down to how apps have made it possible for every aspect of our lives to consolidate into the palms of our hands. Because of apps our smartphones can become a hub for all communication, whether it be texting through Kik, video chat through facetime, or access to social networks via Facebook and Twitter apps. They can take us to the frontiers of the web and back again at incredible speeds with apps for individual websites as well as internet browsing through Safari or my personal favorite, Atomic Browser. They’ve become a center for entertainment with games such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope as well as plenty more filling the top downloaded charts for weeks.
Short of curing cancer (and in the iPhone’s case, supporting flash), smartphones can do just about anything. From increasing your productivity, to a calorie counter, to a restaurant finder, to giving you access to large databases of information such as that of Wolfram Alpha, to language translators, to helping you study for your driving test or SATs. And the best part is that these apps are incredibly cheap, with some of the most expensive coming in at about $10.
Apps have allowed smartphones to slowly overtake other devices. Their access to the internet and also potential word processing capabilities through apps like Office2 has made them more convenient than our laptops or networks. The plethora of fun, cheap, time killing games is overtaking the DS and PSP in portable gaming. Minus face to face conversation, all other devices of communication have become useless or incorporated into the smartphone. News, weather, and stock updates can all be viewed with the swipe of a finger, lowering our reliance on TV and radio for this information.
This increase in the app market has lead to great things for independent developers. Apple and Google develop very few of the apps in their app market. Rather they let third party developers create apps, which has led to a huge rise in app development as well as success amongst developers because building an app is a cheaper invest than building a video game or making a movie, and if the success of Angry Birds is anything to go by, the rewards can be huge.
Apps have made us dependent on our smartphones as essentially the organizers of our life and will continue to do so as more intuitive apps are made and the features of smartphones expand.