Since the age of the smartphone, our society has replaced innumerable activities in favor of their digital counterparts. It’s difficult to think back to the way things were before these mini-super computers were on hand at all times. Before the modern cell phone or smartphone, cellular devices were used to make calls and that was about it. Eventually we began seeing ringtones, games, cameras and text messaging being added to the earlier devices. These building blocks allowed for more sophisticated mobile operating systems to reach the point they have today. As a result, our smartphones have all but done away with traditional versions of:
- Alarm Clocks – The days of slamming your fist into the audible beacon of the waking world have been dwindling into obscurity for years now. Your smartphone can be programmed to go off to any song you desire at multiple times to allow for maximum snoozing. Alarms can even be set to go off based on the user’s location, so if you’re getting some shut eye on the train, you can set that Prince ringtone to go off when you reach your stop. It’s a pretty amazing world we live in when you can reign supreme over the infamous sandman.
- Newspapers – Almost every aspect of printed media has made its way to our tapping fingertips, which means the newspaper has migrated in a big way. Developers now create apps, e-readers, RSS feeds and social media tools to push information to the masses. Nearly every major newspaper or magazine in the country has made their content available on mobile devices at this point. At long last, you can read the latest issue of ‘Grapes Monthly’ when you’re not within throwing distance of the nearest magazine stand.
- Asking “What band is this?” – Let’s be honest, smartphones replaced the Walkman a long time ago, but what improvements has it made to music on-the-go? No longer simply playing content loaded on the device itself, we’re able to stream almost any form of aural media, from music or podcasts to audio books or even police scanner feeds. The most mind-blowing aspect (in my opinion) is the app ‘Shazam’ which prompts you to hold your phone to the sky so it can analyze the waveform and spit back the song artist and title. You can then choose to purchase the newly identified song and stream it immediately, how convenient.
- Postal Service – Gone are the days of paying bills by mail and writing checks now that everything can be done through your smartphone. When someone might have sent a postcard in the past, now they can Instagram a picturesque landscape and tag the other person in the photo as a “Wish you were here” gesture of the utmost impersonal degree.
- Losing Weight – Smartphones have a bevy of weight loss apps that help you track your run times, distances and calories burnt. Logging the food you eat and your daily workout regimen is a huge win for those who want to get in shape and stay fit.
Staying on top of almost every aspect of your daily life has been made easier by orders of magnitude with the help of smartphones. This can sometimes be a vast improvement or a burden, it all depends on your perspective. I think it’s fair to say we’ve welcomed these streamlined apps and updates for the betterment of all humanity. The future is looking so bright, you may need to bring your shades, or maybe there will be an app for that?