Four years later, there were 2,000 miles of lines in the United States. In another four years, 23,000 miles were in use, with 10,000 more under construction. The first transAtlantic cable was laid in 1857. By 1861 the Pony Express rode off into the sunset as the two coasts were connected telegraphically.
Perhaps it's not a stretch to ponder whether Apple's trailblazing digital media innovations may prove to be as culturally significant as the invention of the telegraph. The iPhone is not merely another version of mobile phone. It is the manifestation of a concept originated 15 years ago by technology evangelist George Gilder, to wit, the teleputer. He envisioned the teleputer as "a handheld device that's a fully functioning personal computer, digital video camera, telephone, MP3 player and video player." The iPhone falls short only because it is not yet a fully functioning personal computer, but it's getting ever closer to that ideal.
Consider four points.
First, nearly 80% of mobile web browsing is via the iPhone. Clearly the device is a "game changer" for mobile Internet usage. Even though numerous competitive models are capable of Internet connectivity, they are seldom used that way.
Second, there are 85,000 apps available on the iPhone. By comparison, second place Google's Android had less than 10,000, and the BlackBerry only about 3.000.
Third, outside America, most people connect to the Internet over a mobile device. At 1.2 billion units, worldwide mobile phone sales are about four times those of personal computers. Just as user convenience led voice telephony to migrate from fixed wires to wireless units, Internet access is likely to follow the same evolutionary path.
Fourth, Kryder's Law predicts that the density of hard disk memory doubles nearly every year. Thus by 2015 a "Classic" iPod could hold 1.3 million songs, or 3,200 two-hour movies. If Flash memory progresses at only half the rate in ten years an iPhone could hold over 200,000 songs and more than 600 two-hour movies. That means it could hold more movie titles than an entire Blockbuster SuperStore.
Furthermore, it's obvious that Apple's ambitions extend beyond phones and iPods. The company still makes computers, remember? It's widely anticipated Apple will introduce a tablet computer, perhaps early next year.
Such a device would mostly be used for Internet-centric computing like email, Web browsing, and media consumption. The bigger screen would be attractive for downloading movies from iTunes or watching video streams from YouTube or Hulu. When limited interaction is required, such as quick email responses, a virtual keyboard will be adequate, especially since the tablet computer will provide a bigger one than the iPhone. It should also be acceptable for interaction on social networks such as FaceBook. Users who need to create bigger documents, like multipage reports or spreadsheets, could attach a separate physical keyboard when needed.
The success of the Apps Store is another factor that could benefit a tablet computer. Presumably all suitable iPhone apps would also be available on the tablet. No doubt some will be even more useful with a bigger screen. One example is the Amazon application for downloading digital books. The experience of reading a digital book on a tablet computer would presumably be much better than trying to read it on the small screen of an iPhone. Those who are considering the purchase of a Kindle might prefer the more versatile functionality of a tablet computer for which digital books are only one of many applications.
All of the above excludes Apple's ambitions for the living room, but that's a topic for another day. While the innovations are not as numerous as Abraham's children, it takes more than one Video Insider column to cover all that Apple hath wrought!