It’s hard to believe that Apple introduced their iPhone Software Developer Kit only five years ago. Since then, an entire new segment of the global economy has exploded, and brought what would have been considered the stuff of science fiction to the devices just about everyone carries around in their pockets.
We haven’t yet reached the full potential of smartphone technology, but one of the more exciting avenues that lies ahead involves peripherals. And if you thought your smartphone could do some pretty cool stuff now, just wait and see what happens when it’s working with other devices.
This isn’t a blog post about the iWatch or Google Glasses, which seem to be hogging all the press lately. Consider, for example, the smart thermostat Nest. As tech guru Bill Campbell pointed out recently, “You would think that people would yawn at something as boring as a thermostat,” Campbell said. “So, I’ve been surprised at how it has done and is doing.” Not only does Nest allow you to control your thermostat from your iPhone, but it also learns your habits and patterns and creates a temperature-setting schedule based on them.
Or consider the TED on health care delivered by Eric Dishman. Dishman was diagnosed with two rare kidney disorders and was told (twenty years ago) that he had at most three years to live. Dishman talks a lot about innovating health care, and one of his mainstays involves mobile peripherals. With the right attachments, an iPhone can detect malaria in the blood, act as a stethoscope, monitor blood pressure, or even provide an ultrasound. The very obvious (and necessary) benefit here is not only for people in remote locations; if simple, relatively cheap devices can perform as well as advertised, it will vastly reduce health care costs across the board while increasing the quality of care.
The potential for simple mobile technology is impressive in its own right, but once peripherals are brought into the mix, that potential is nearly limitless.