by Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson
If we go back a few years to 2006 and asked 2006 Kevin the question "who are smartphones best for?", I would have answered differently than I would today. Smartphones weren't easy. They weren't exactly user-friendly, and had a steep learning curve to unlocking their full potential. Apps had to be downloaded on a computer and synced over a cable, regular restarts and resets weren't uncommon, and you needed a removable battery not just for quick power, but also to yank it out when things went awry. The technology wasn't there yet, hardware or software.
In the past few years, things have changed. Dramatically. We have smartphones that are faster, longer-lasting, more durable, beautiful, thinner, lighter, and loaded with sensors that always know what's going on around them. Software is more powerful and far easier to use, surfacing what the user needs while hiding away what they don't need to see.
Seven years ago, my answer would have encompassed mobile business people and those that needed to connect to the then nascent mobile web. Today, it's simple: everybody.
Smartphones today are powerful and easy that the average person can get enough use out of them to justify owning one. They're for the jet-setting business traveler, the college student, and the grandparent.
We can all benefit from smartphones. They've put information quickly and easily at our fingertips. Smartphones make let us stay constantly connected in text, voice, and even face-to-face. They predict our needs and tell us what we need to know before we need to know it.
Smartphones record our lives, be it through writing or drawing or photos or motion data. They help us capture moments on the fly, document what we need to keep, and remind us of the things we need to do. They track how we move and where we go, and if you want, can tell us how to get there.
The hidden complexity of smartphones has helped to reduce the complexity in our own lives.
The hidden complexity of smartphones has helped to reduce the complexity in our own lives. No longer do we need to carry a physical address book and day planner, a camera and an MP3 player. We don't need to keep a dedicated GPS navigator in our cars nor do we need to sit down in front of a computer to access the internet. The smartphone does all of this and so much more.
I can't think of anybody that can't get some benefit from owning a smartphone.