April 19th, 2007
I think the iPhone is going to stir up a revolution. Maybe it will just start a revolution—maybe it will be the revolution.
I keep reading about what people are saying about the iPhone and in a way I just want to laugh. The funniest thing to me is how many people get stuck in their boxed-in way of thinking. So many people in todays left-brained society are just unable to grasp things that are a whole new way of thinking or attacking a problem. Of course, when the idea has been around a few years, they’ll accept it and will quickly forget their old objections.
Here’s what I see happening with the iPhone—it’s going to be the only device you’ll need to take with you when you leave the house and it will revolutionize personal organization. Really, the music player is cool, but the time- and life-management options are the ones that are going to be really exciting!
Getting Organized ala iPhone
I have seen a few different technologies that are looking like great organization tools that just need a better interface to make them accessible to everyone. One of the key items is a shared calendar. Right now Microsoft has that corner of the market somewhat cornered with exchange. Soon Apple will rectify this with their calendar server which will be available with Leopard. Imagine taking a powerful shared calendar that is linked with the calendars of all of your friends and associates with you everywhere in your pocket. Now imagine that calendar on a big wide beautiful screen. iPhone.
Consolidating the Digital Noise
One of the biggest challenges for technology to tackle is to give people the ability to manage all the sources of electronic stimulus that are coming at us. Maybe we should start by listing them.
- Cell Phone + Voice messages
- RSS Feeds
- Appointments and reminders
- Faxes (lets just funnel that into our email, shall we?) Edit:
- Podcasts / audiobooks
- Video podcasts / vlogs
Just for the heck of it—mainly because I think the iPhone could handle it—let’s add the noise of our own mind. What do we do with all the ideas that come to mind? The iPhone offers one simple, consistent interface for handling emails, voicemail and by extension RSS feeds. As for the ideas that come to mind, voice memos and voice-to-text can solve that one handily. Then there is the big touchable calendar. iPhone!
The Missing Link
I see one major missing component to this puzzle to complete the picture of the total revolution. That is the ability to turn your inbox into tasks. There are some handy additions to Apple Mail that can help you control your inbox and manage them with an organization system. Essentially, what I’m talking about is the ability to take an email and turn it into a task that you can put on your calendar or into your task inbox (I’m thinking GTD here). If the iPhone were to have that feature, where you could take all of the digital noise that comes in from all sources and turn it into actionable items, then the iPhone would be a time management dream.
I’m not going to run out and search for info on the iPhone to see if this is one of the features it will have. I’ll wait and see, but my gut feeling is that if it isn’t included at the release then it won’t be long until there will be something to do that.
Simplicity Wins – a Right-brained person’s dream tool
Overall there is a subtle shift happening around the world. Our left-brain dominated society is turning into more of a right-brained world little by little. Microsoft is going down, Apple is rising. All up-and-comers are focusing on good design and simplicity. For me it’s all a breath of fresh air. The iPhone to me is the the right-brained person’s dream tool. We will see musicians, artists and designers snap them up when they hit the shelves, it might take the rest of the world some time to get it, but get it they will.
Mac, iPod, iPhone, it’s all part of one big movement from left-brained solutions to right-brained solutions. I welcome the move from the left-brained multiplication-of-clunky-components to a right-brained simple-synergy. Ahhh! I think the rest of the world will too—eventually.