Fast forward just ten years, and the Wood family purchased another Mac computer, the eMac. This behemoth of a desktop computer was housed in a single unit, and was outfitted with built in speakers, a 15 inch screen, and the new Mac OS X. Not only did this device allow for word processing and internet use, but we could also play music and movies on our new computer, because this machine had a built in CD/DVD (woah). At around the same time as our new computer was installed at our home, cell phones were becoming an increasingly more common device. More and more we would see people talking into these large plastic devices as a means to talk on-the-go. No longer were you constrained to only talk to people on the phone, but now you could talk virtually anywhere. This worked especially well with our fancy new computer, as naturally it only ran on dialup internet. This meant that rather then picking up the home phone and being met with the unpleasant gargle of a lost internet connection, you could now simply make a phone call off the cell phone network.
Let's briefly review these advancements. Around the time I was born, the Wood home was crimsoned as a 'Mac household,' by the introduction of a desktop computer that could connect to the internet, print documents, pay mine sweep, and send email. Ten years later, our Mac identity was further defined with the eMac, which housed a whole new range of practical programs like iTunes and iMovie, and again, we could connect to the dialup internet at anytime to explore the ever growing "internet."
Now lets take it to the present day. Every member of the Wood family now has an iPhone, a laptop and a few other devices for use. These phones have capabilities that our ten year old eMac never dreamed of possessing. These phones can explore the far reaches of the internet, they can take 5MP (!!!) pictures and video, they can wirelessly download and play music from virtually anywhere, they can send and receive large email files, they can write and print documents, they can instantly translate any number of languages, they can compare prices with the scan of a barcode, they can display realtime news stories, they can stream video, they can send hundreds of text messages at once... and yes, they can make phone calls. In my short lifetime we advanced from a massive, noisy and slow computer, which hogged most of your desk space, to a small, sleek smartphone that fits in your pocket. Not only is this phone a fraction of the size but it is also exponentially more powerful and practical.
In just twenty years, we have invented two incredible and unfathomably powerful products, the cell phone and the desktop computer. We have taken these advancements to such a level of advancement that they have now been reconciled into just one device, the $150 smartphone.
Consider this. Thirty years ago, very few people would have predicted the depth and breadth of our technological advancements. Today, we have a difficulty imagining something that much more advanced than we already have, but history shows that myopic lens to be often wrong. Considering the advancements of the last twenty years, what kind of advancements will the next twenty years bring us?