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The end of the smartphone?

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I’ve predicted the death of many things. The death of the keyboard, the death of the plastic card, the death of cash and cheques, the death of the branch, the death of main street and the death of the computer itself. Now, we have the death of the phone.

As I look to the future, of course it will be branchless and cashless, in the traditional sense of the way we think about these things. The branch will be in your devices and soon-to-be invisible; you cash is digital and bank notes and coins will be unnecessary. As for cheques/checks … well.

But we have been through a century of learning to use keyboards from typewriters to laptops. We have also had a century of learning to use computers and telephones. Give it ten years or more, and none of these things will be needed or necessary. In fact, I would claim, we’re almost there already.

Think about your habits and lifestyle. Do you type or talk? Do you swipe or sign-in? Do you pay-by-phone or carry a purse or wallet?

For many of us, we probably do both. We still like to phone and talk; we still like the security of being online with a username and password; we still enjoy the fact that cash is in our back pocket. But ten years from now?

As a person 100% dedicated to future trends, my view is that most of these activities will die out in the not too distant future. It may be ten years, twenty or more, but the things we accept today as the most important will no longer be used by our kids.

Take the phone. What is it? Well, for all of my lifetime, it’s been a way to call someone and talk. We ended up with this lovely way of signing each other off after a meeting …

… forget about that. These days messaging each on Whatsapp and meeting on Zoom is far more the norm than trailing into the cities for a face-to-face chat or picking up the phone and actually talking on a call.

In other words, where we are today, is everything is via our devices. The device is the key. But what is the device?

A bit like my regular discussions with firms like Mastercard challenges them to call themselves Masterchip, I would have the same discussion with Apple and ask that the iPhone is now the iConnect. It is not a phone at all. It is a connector to the internet of things where evertying is embedded and included.

In ten years, we will not even think about this stuff. We won’t have phones or laptops. Everything will just be touch and talk and integrated into our lives and lifestyles. The whole idea of carrying a piece of plastic and metal will have been forgotten. We will just have everything, all around, all of the time. It is a non-stop connected world of devices that support the way we want to live. So don’t drop the mic … drop the device.

 

Noteworthy:

More than 60% of mobile phone users in the UK now prefer using messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat when contacting other people rather than voice calls or texts, according to research by Ofcom, the media regulator. That compares to 23% of users who prefer texting and just 16% whose preference is to make a traditional call.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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