I’ve been thinking a lot about convergence recently — the notion that more and more pieces of our lives will somehow be turned into software or consumed by a smartphone in some way.
Convergence has been the organizing principle of the tech industry for decades:
Microsoft spent the ’90s and early 2000s trying to converge everything into the PC, and then Apple’s “digital hub” strategy enhanced a new ecosystem of digital devices like the iPod with desktop software like iTunes and iPhoto.
That entire class of devices was wiped out by the smartphone, of course — there isn’t anything left on the original Steve Jobs digital hub slide that hasn’t been replaced by a phone. MP3 player? Point and shoot camera? DVD player? PalmPilot? All replaced by an app.
Hell, we’re now at the point where we’re trying to replace massive entrenched industries with apps: Uber is just software to replace the taxi system, if you zoom out a little. The smartphone took convergence from the organizing principle of industry to the driving force of revolution