iPhone X Anyone think we'd have iPhones (in 2018) 20+ years ago?

Kangaroos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 17, 2019
27
16
Hey all,

I was just wondering if any of the older people on the site thought 20 odd years ago if we would have such products that we do now. Did you think touchscreen devices that had camera capabilities could exist?

It's crazy to think how much technology has evolved in only a short amount of time. Most people think technology has come to a stopping point in terms of evolution and only making small improvements (which is true for all phones, not just iPhone). They are just getting faster and better cameras.

My point is, do you think something crazy is going to be invented again like it happened with the release of the original iPhone? Not only for Apple, but with all companies, they are all evolving but doesn't seem like much is apart from the foldable phones. I just wonder in 10 years what flagship phones will be like.

Opinions will be much appreciated!
 

akash.nu

macrumors G3
May 26, 2016
9,053
10,686
Most certainly some new categories will be invented. Smartphones were invented when feature phones were the only type of devices known to us. The next leap could be VR, holograms, bendable bracelet type phones or google glass type thing. Who knows. That’s what the huge corporations do in their R&D labs.

Generally Any research lab is at least 10 years ahead of consumer market. They try go through iterations on any technology until it fits the purpose of being able to mass produce and useful to general population.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,567
15,471
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
20 years ago I wasn't so into technology as I am now, so I never thought about it. 20 years ago we got our first flip phones in order to call each other (my wife and I) and that's all we saw them for.

It was only ten years later after having used my Sanyo Katana for email/internet the first time that I even considered using our phones for more. Text messaging was a huge thing for us, especially my wife.

Honestly, I can see a future where all this technology is integrated into your brain. Everything you see on a screen is put on your eyeballs and you just interact by thought. Of course that's way in the future and all the medical issues (like rejection of tech parts in your head) will have to be worked out. It requires advances in not only phone technology but medical technology.

But to just be able to naturally look at something in AR or VR with no device at all, accept calls and answer texts while scrolling info across your eyes, all controlled and dismissed by thought would be cool.

Not for some of course, probably a nightmare to them. But that's where I ultimately see all this going.

Google Glass is an early shot at it.
 

now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
5,727
11,713
20 years ago was 1998 (see, I can still subtract) and that was when the first Bondi Blue 15" iMac with CRT screen was revealed (never liked that computer). The G3 CPU in it was a big deal back then and the high end iMac was a "fast" machine (back then).

20 years ago, LCD screens were only used in laptops and they were those horrible TFT narrow viewing angle yucky things.

Personally how I expected computing to advance 2 decades later was more of the same form factors (towers and laptops) with incremental advancements made with each new model - as had always been the case.

Never did I imagine that 20 years later we'd have a pocket computer that was faster than any computer I had ever used in the past (but with a dummy version OS they'd call iOS)
 

MasterControlOp

Suspended
Mar 28, 2019
69
40
I’m 49. Never dreamed that we would have an all in one device for common things like a camera and GPS AND stuff I never even thought about like text messaging and mobile gaming. I’m sure something crazy will blow the kids away today in 20 years but if I could thing it up now, I would be working on it and not spending time here.
 
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sparksd

macrumors 68040
Jun 7, 2015
3,871
2,568
Seattle WA
I got into tech work 48 years ago. I programmed computers with punch cards, assembly language, and by flipping switches on their fronts. It was easy to imagine a lot of possibilities but the question was timeframe. Star Trek did indeed foretell a lot but that was centuries away. What was difficult to see back then were the quantum leaps coming, a big one being the rapid miniaturization of electronic components that would revolutionize the industry. What's the next quantum leap that will affect our everyday lives?
 
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MasterControlOp

Suspended
Mar 28, 2019
69
40
I got into tech work 48 years ago. I programmed computers with punch cards, assembly language, and by flipping switches on their fronts. It was easy to imagine a lot of possibilities but the question was timeframe. Star Trek did indeed foretell a lot but that was centuries away. What was difficult to see back then were the quantum leaps coming, a big one being the rapid miniaturization of electronic components that would revolutionize the industry. What's the next quantum leap that will affect our everyday lives?
Space tourism?
Cheap, clean power?
AI?
Flying cars?
Real sci-fi like robots?
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,384
35,515
I’m fairly young, so I can’t really project what things would have been like 20 years ago compared today. But I will say, is that how fortunate I am to be living in this era where technology is so convenient, simplistic and has benefited my life where I have The power of my fingertips with my smart phone that can control my vehicle, I can control camera’s if need be at my residence and unlock my front door, my Apple Watch is another tool that can monitor my health, it can even open/close my garage door, ect.

Those are just a few examples of how technology gives us these abilities to control things around us, where no one would’ve probably perceived anything like that 20/25 years ago.

As for the future:

I suspect VR glasses will be in the future, the Apple Watch will eventually at some point, I believe will replace the iPhone, etc.
 
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uwdude

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2014
915
468
In 1998 I didn't think we would have touchscreen phones, no. At least not this quickly. I think it was in 2001 or 2002 when I got one of the first phones that had that old wap internet, where you could check things like weather and sports scores, but it was pretty useless, and I decided to wait until there was a device that had real internet, and it was a while until 2007 with the iPhone. Even then, people came up and went "wow" and wanted to hold it and swipe the screen. And it wasnt all that long ago, less than 12 years ago. I don't know if there will be another device with that kind of wow factor anytime soon. Maybe if there was a holographic phone or clear see thru or something a la Star Wars.
 

sparksd

macrumors 68040
Jun 7, 2015
3,871
2,568
Seattle WA
One thing that would wow me now would be high-speed connectivity everywhere. Now that I'm retired and traveling more, I'm finding connectivity to be really dicey (if not fully non-existent) in an awful lot of places across the United States alone. I once worked on a program to build worldwide communications - Teledesic. We're still not there.
 

geekiemac

macrumors 6502
Feb 13, 2016
468
547
Switzerland
Hey all,

I was just wondering if any of the older people on the site thought 20 odd years ago if we would have such products that we do now. Did you think touchscreen devices that had camera capabilities could exist?
20 years ago... that was 1999. Mmmm... back in the day we had such nifty things like Palm devices (aka PDA - Personal Digital Assistants). Basically they were phones without internet and communications, but hey - they had touchscreens! Those were backlit LCD screens. You didn't operate them with your fingertips but with a stylus. Palms were quite popular back then, but by far not to the extent smartphones are today. You could download and install apps and tweak the hell out of these little devices. Budding communities gathered around the first forums.

By the time Sony started releasing their multimedia PDAs under Palm OS under the name CLIE, (early 2000s so almost 20 years ago) the community was screaming for a device with a large touchscreen and telephony/internet connectivity...

So the answer is, well, we all HOPED for such a device but the established actors (Nokia, Sony, Palm Inc...) never managed to deliver that. It had to be a disruptive new player - a funny fruit company :D no-one took very seriously back then, despite the success of the iPod. The rest is history, as they say. :)
 

AdamNC

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2018
248
244
Leland NC
23 years ago I had the pleasure of going to California with my father who owned an Apple VAR and we got a tour and meet and greet of some Apple engineers and was shocked to meet Steve Jobs. We talked about the future and of coarse no secrets were spilled but Steve said he felt “the future would be directed by compact personal computing needs, from communications to integrated home and business systems.” Lord only knows how many incredible ideas Steve took to the grave.
 

MyMacintosh

macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2012
525
863
I think the ideas as far as what technology is capable of has always been around, but as far as how it would look as a tangible device...that's different. The Sidekick and RAZR days were more fun imo. Phones looked and behaved so different then. Today all the phones just look the same to me regardless. Like for example, which ringtone you had was a HUGE deal, and now its like you don't even think twice about stuff like that.
 
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BlankStar

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2004
721
619
Belgium
I remember when I got my firewire iPod and Nokia cellphone and imagining how cool it would be those two would become one device. And years later Apple did just that, and more... Couldn't image my PlayStation and TomTom GPS (and more) would all get integrated...

Wonderful times we live in! (except for maybe all the fake news, trolls and shooting nutcases, but still)
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68020
Nov 10, 2018
2,443
2,345
I’m 49. Never dreamed that we would have an all in one device for common things like a camera and GPS AND stuff I never even thought about like text messaging and mobile gaming. I’m sure something crazy will blow the kids away today in 20 years but if I could thing it up now, I would be working on it and not spending time here.

So many things people take for granted seemed SO far away in the future back then. It still kind of blows my mind I can have a multi-person video chat with relatives. It makes me feel so much more connected with them.
 
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MasterControlOp

Suspended
Mar 28, 2019
69
40
So many things people take for granted seemed SO far away in the future back then. It still kind of blows my mind I can have a multi-person video chat with relatives. It makes me feel so much more connected with them.
I think its funny when some movies or shows gets things totally wrong or backwards. Like Back to the Future 2 which had people putting tiny little pizzas in a hydrator/oven to make a huge pizza for the entire family but they still had a fax machine.
 
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Jimmy James

macrumors 603
Oct 26, 2008
5,202
3,599
Magicland
Yes. Absolutely. It was around the late 90’s into the early 2000’s that I started thinking about this.

***Because smartphones were already available***

Apple didn’t invent the smartphone market. They lead it to maturity. I remember thinking about 20 years ago that smartphones sucked and someone would crack it and release a nice offering. Shortly after that I started dreaming about a convergence device.
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68020
Nov 10, 2018
2,443
2,345
I still remember watching the iPhone keynote and being amazed. Phone interfaces were so hideously clunky at that time.
 
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