Anyone who is interested in technology, or even has a passing awareness of popular culture, knows that the biggest story of the last year, and probably the last two years, in personal technology was last week´s announcement of Apple´s new iPhone. The product has been anticipated for a very long time. It was expected to combine an iPod with a phone but, in typical Apple fashion, it does so much more as well.
When it comes to fun and interesting products, nobody does it better than Apple. The phone is full of mind-blowing features that will be incredibly fun to play with. The absence of buttons is bold. The touchscreen looks and sounds like it will be incredible. Things like the accelerometer, the visual voice mail, and the ability to view and manipulate pictures will be great. Like Apple does so well, too, the phone is just as good to look at and to hold as it is to use.
None of that will help personal productivity, though. In fact, like most personal technology, it will more than likely cause productivity losses rather than productivity gains because people will be compelled to do things that they wouldn´t otherwise do and that they don´t need to do.
That being said, one feature of the iPhone has the potential to revolutionize the productivity impact of smartphones and portable devices. The iPhone will run OS X, the same operating system that is run on Mac computers. Windows-based smartphones use a version of Windows that has been modified and dumbed down for portable devices. By using the same operating system the phone will be able to run the same programs as a Mac, and do it in the same way. More importantly, small developers of applications and software will be able to move their products to the iPhone at lower cost because they won´t have to be changed or reprogrammed like they do for Windows phones. If the iPhone can deliver on its promise then it will truly be an extension of your computer in the palm of your hand. That could be a huge gift to our productivity.