When does a phone stop being a phone? When it becomes a hub to your connected world. Over the weekend a new set of rumors from New York Times and the Wall Street Journal released stories of a potential iWatch coming from Apple. OK, we know this is rumor but the story sheds light on an interesting aspect of the iPhone – the role of digital hub.
For many years both Apple and Microsoft pushed the desktop to be the digital hub for your life. Microsoft’s XBox streams media from your Windows desktop and Apple pushes content from your Mac to your Apple TV and iPod. Cool idea. Until you leave your house and do not have an access to your home network.
Enter the iPhone: a mini computer that is always connected to the Internet, is designed to be mobile (plenty of battery life – though we can always use more) and is loaded with sensors and communicators that can be exposed through Apps. Even better, you have your iPhone with you all the time.
The concept of the iWatch illustrates the connectivity a device can have when paired with an iPhone. How about this for a thought: your phone is typically in your pocket and you get a text message. Wouldn’t it be easier to read the message on your watch, tap the screen and use Siri to dictate a response? Take it another step further: your watch can prompt you for upcoming meetings, can let you see what music is playing and even tell you the time (yeah, that last one is a shocker, right?).
The watch is a specialized device able to make technology easier and more transparent for you. The watch does not need to do the heavy lifting, it is a conduit to the phone in your pocket. The watch is paired to your phone. Without much effort, your phone is now a digital hub.
Interestingly, Apple is not the first to use the iPhone as a digital hub. There is an increasing number of devices coming to market that use the iPhone manage a device. Here is a selection:
- Pebble Watch – a real watch the does connect to your Android and iPhone to push notifications to your wrist (getpebble.com)
- Philips Hue Connect Bulb – control the lighting in your house with Philips LED / iPhone connected lightbulbs (www.meethue.com/en-US/getstarted)
- Nike Fuel Band – a wrist band that tracks every step your take and pushes the data to an app on your phone (www.nike.com/us/en_us/lp/nikeplus-fuelband)
The iPhone now has the power to connect and communicate with many devices. The same phenomena is happening with Android and Windows phones. Your phone is now a digital hub. You should expect even more devices to extend and move you beyond your iPhone. Technology is adapting quickly to our needs and our environment.