“Thirty-three years later, artist Robert Tinney’s concept smartwatch is worth at least a thousand words,” Harry McCracken writes for TIME Magazine.
“If you were passionate about personal computers between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the odds were high that you were a reader of Byte magazine,” McCracken writes. “And if you read Byte, you were surely a fan of Robert Tinney, the artist whose cover paintings were one of the magazine’s signature features for years.”
“While rummaging around the web last week looking for something else, I came across his cover for Byte‘s April 1981 issue at the Internet Archive,” McCracken writes. “Most of all, the Tinney watch is a wonderful visual explanation of why human beings–most of us, anyhow–aren’t very good at predicting the future of technology.”
“We tend to think that new products will be a lot like the ones we know. We shoehorn existing concepts where they don’t belong. Oftentimes, we don’t dream big enough,” McCracken writes. “(One classic example: When it became clear that Apple was working on an ‘iPhone,’ almost all the speculation involved something that was either a lot like an iPod, or a lot like other phones of the time. As far as I know, nobody expected anything remotely like the epoch-shifting device Apple released.)”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Oh, Harry, somebody expected the iPhone, over 4 years before Steve Jobs unveiled it:
This device, able to be made today with current technology, would easily be “The Device.” Running Mac OS X or a mobile variant, it would allow the user to communicate via text, audio, and video. It would snap digital photos and organize them, do email, and browse the web. It would sync automatically with your desktop or portable Mac…. It would absorb the iPod by playing AAC / MP3 audio and interface with iTunes, but it would also play feature-length MPEG-4 movies, too, in full color… It would have built-in Bluetooth, which would allow for, among other things, short-range personal broadcasts; your own radio/TV station and any number of websites in your pocket. McDonald’s Drive Thru’s would accept payments via Bluetooth from “The Device.” And, of course, it would have the basics like any PDA; your date book, to do list, calculator, etc. I figure a form factor about the size or a Newton or a bit smaller would do the trick.
This would be “The Device.” iDevice?? And only Apple, in concert with a partner like Verizon, Cingular, or Sprint, has everything in place to make “The Device” a reality today. I wonder if they are close, yet, or still far away from fruition? I really hope they are building it. Everything seems to point to it or am I just wishing too hard? I’ll tell you one thing, if Apple can produce it, they’ll really change everything this time, and they’ll never be able to make enough. Nearly everyone would have an Apple device in their pocket… – SteveJack, MacDailyNews, December 10, 2002
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “The Other Steve” for the heads up.]