iphone 3g is a glimpse of the future

Apple’s new iPhone 3G represents the future of telecommunications and technology.

There, I’ve said it.

One big, fat grandiose statement about that new gadget that everybody wants. (With the exception of the people who are pretending not to want one, but really do.)

But it’s not too far from the truth.

For a long time I’ve recognized that mobile computing is a trend that will define the future of how we communicate with one another and engage with information.

Gone is the golden age of “traditional” computing, such as with desktop and notebook computers.

I would estimate that in about 12 months, as a direct result of the iPhone 3G, we’ll begin to see a general decline in the shipment of these archaic digital archetypes.

4 years after that, landfills will be unfortunately full of the toxic slurry that will leach from these devices as we all toss them en masse.

In the meantime, we’ll all gravitate towards the grace and simplicity of devices like iPhones.

That means that the tottering behemoth computer operating systems of days gone by — Windows, Mac, and Linux — will begin a long, downward spiral into irrelevance.

Because, unlike traditional computers, the iPhone delivers on things that matter to us in our immediate situation. I call this local contextual relevance.

This relates to an idea I introduced earlier this year called Relationship Technology, which is the natural evolution of Information Technology.

The basic premise for these concepts is all about having our technology devices deliver subject matter that’s relevant to us here and now with little to no effort on our own part.

To a great extent, the massive storage systems and fast processing power of contemporary desktop and notebook computers is all about having anything anytime.

But that’s an RV mentality.

The vast majority of that data that is available to us at any given moment is largely irrelevant. And, as a result, we waste a lot of time searching through these dumb systems for a needle in a haystack.

What the iPhone 3G (and the imminent deluge of copycat devices that will be released in its wake) does is lend to our technology experience an element of intelligent context.

With its combination of GPS, WiFi, and push calendaring, the device can remain aware of your location and your current purpose.

As a result, it can pull data down from “the cloud” that’s relevant to you at any given moment.

You don’t always need access to every document you’ve ever written, or even every photo you’ve ever taken.

You just need the documents that are important in the meeting you’re having with a client right now, or the PIN code for the bank machine you’re currently standing in front of.

Historically, most devices have simply attempted to replicate the experience of a desktop computer in your hand. Windows Mobile is the perfect example of this.

I’ve extensively used two Windows Mobile devices, both from HTC, and each represented a constant struggle to make the device introduce relevance to my current situation. (Not to mention they constantly crashed.)

And my current device, a Blackberry Curve, is really just all about email, with a pile of other stuff glued on to the system like so many extra rooms tacked on to a Yukon log cabin.

And that’s really the problem with handheld devices that have come before the iPhone 3G: they represent a loose collection of technology solutions that lack integration.

The iPhone is built from the ground up as an integrated technology device.

Sure, my Curve has GPS. But beyond providing me driving directions on a map, it’s not really very useful.

On the other hand, tell the iPhone 3G you’re hungry and it will identify restaurants you’ll like that are within walking distance.

Or it will tell you which of your friends are in the neighbourhood if you feel like a having a coffee with someone.

The iPhone is the first system that attacks the concept of mobile computing from the true perspective of mobility. And mobility is all about location and personal context, not data and information.

The iPhone is not a desktop on wheels. It’s a lightweight platform designed specifically to travel with you and give you want you want, when you need it.

And, what do you know, the friendly Purolator guy has just stepped into my office to deliver my new iPhone 3G as I wrap up this column.

And that’s what I need right now.