Is “Smartphone” a Misnomer?

On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone as a combination of three devices: a “widescreen iPod with touch controls,” a “revolutionary mobile phone” and a “breakthrough internet communicator.” It’s pretty amazing how it has transformed in six short years, to the point where I don’t really think of my iPhone 6 Plus as a phone at all. Wouldn’t “smartdevice” be a better name, given its many features and functions?

Perhaps you don’t even realize all of this technology is packed into your device or understand how it can be used—I didn’t for quite some time. Depending on the situation or user, those features and functions are more or less important and are used to a greater or lesser degree.

Hardware Feature Function
Microphone, speaker Audio recording and playback
Camera (front and back) Video capture
HD touch display Output display and device navigation
Accelerometer Measures speed and distance
Barometer Measures elevation
GPS, iBeacon micro-location and others Various ways to determine location
Touch ID Identification.
Cellular, wireless data, Wi-Fi Data transmission
Gyroscope Orientation of the phone
Proximity sensor Distance to sensor
Ambient light sensor Senses ambient light

It is the applications that create value and functionality based on these features. A few examples:

  • Panoramic photography uses several of the sensors to compensate for your unsteady hand and put together a 180 degree view.
  • Photos are tagged with the location taken based upon GPS and access to the internet over the data connection.
  • iHealth application records steps, distance and elevation along with other coming attractions.
  • Location technology is not only integrated into mapping, but into many other aspects of the phone. Examples include tagging photos, ‘find me’ or people tracking, alert to location before the battery dies and location-based reminders (such as “pick up laundry” will alert you when you drive by the cleaners).

We’ve come a long way, and I can’t wait to see how these smartdevices continue to evolve in the future.



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