Smartphones Remind Me of External Tape Drives

15 September 2012

Smartphones are external devices, but what’s external today might become internal someday.

Apple (AAPL) stock is nearing $700 per share and at one point on 14 September 02012 Apple Inc.’s market value exceeded $650 billion. Tweets about Apple’s iPhone 5 has flooded my tiny neighborhood of the Twitterverse and that has been frustrating because I am not a consumer of iWhatever products.

A couple months ago I quoted myself saying, “I’ll call my phone a smartphone when it starts paying the bills.” A couple of days ago I quoted myself saying, “If only smartphones made us smart.”

These days I believe the following is true: Smartphones are to humans as external tape drives are to computers. [And I am thinking of those old clunky external tape drives.]

External tape drives, once purchased and drivers installed, are often permanently attached to computers. Smartphones, once purchased and activated, are often permanently within reach of humans. I find it interesting that there are so many humans willing to be permanently tethered to a device when they are free not to be.

Over time many external drives got smaller and were able to became internal drives; in other words, they were installed in the computers.

It’s possible that smartphones will morph into supercomputers and get small enough so that they can be installed in humans. If this happens, then it makes for some interesting stuff to ponder. Some examples: Will the Digital Divide get wider? Will humans still be able to function (think) if their computer is down? Will humans still be able to function if their computers get disconnected from the Internet? What can happen to humans when their computer gets cracked? What happens to a human when they encounter another human who has a more powerful computer? Will humans have zero privacy? Will criminals hurt/kill humans in order to steal their computers? What happens to a person’s computer when they die? Etc.