In just a couple of weeks, Apple's revolutionary new iPhone will finally come to market, and we will see if the reality lives up to the hype. I was doing a market visit a couple of weeks ago, and someone on the programming staff asked me, "Will the iPhone change everything?"
Now THAT'S a heavy question, and an even weightier way to measure a new technological innovation or product. But if you think about it, Steve Jobs has some confidence on his side. The iPod and subsequently, iTunes, changed everything.
So I got to thinking, is that in fact the right "litmus test" question to ask whenever there's lots of hype and anticipation about a new tech product or innovation? Will the next device, web site, or medium change everything?
Think back on the ones that did. The LP changed everything. It allowed bands to transcend the single, and release an entire body of a dozen songs, complete with cool artwork and helpful liner notes. (Granted that in most cases, 8 of the songs sucked.) But it was the LP format that allowed Sgt. Pepper's, Tommy, and many others to dominate the music world for decades.
The home computer, and then the laptop changed everything.
And for many, the TiVo/DVR is changing everything.
We've talked about iPods. They have indeed changed everything.
But podcasts? Not yet. Blogs? Hardly.
Satellite radio? Interesting concept, but far from changing everything. HD Radio hopes for the "CE" label but has a long, long way to go.
So the iPhone? Well, the cell phone changed everything. And now with the iPhone, the convergence of the phone, an mp3 player, a texting device, an organizer, a camera, a calculator, a web surfer - it sure feels like the Swiss Army knife of consumer electronics.
But change everything? If not this exact product, one very much like it most likely will indeed change everything.