We used to carry around a veritable toolkit with us everywhere we went. A mother’s purse was a Swiss Army Knife of utility. Whatever you needed, she had in that purse of hers. She could have probably produced a chainsaw if one was required.
Today, the daughters of those mothers often leave the house with no purse at all. It is not that they aren’t packing their own version of the Swiss Army Knife. They have simply replaced a lot of those things with their smartphone of choice.
It is not just women’s purses that have become anachronistic. Men are experiencing the same changes in their daily carries. Both men and women are still opting to tote a lot of things in backpacks as if life were one grand hike, but there is a big difference in what we carry.
The smartphone has replaced more items than any single invention in history. Here are a few things the smartphone has likely partially or completely replaced for you:
1. Game Consoles
One of the reasons those cases for iPhone 8 plus are so necessary is that we use smartphones for playing games. And some of those games require waving the phone about and getting pretty active with it. While the Nintendo Switch is making a strong pitch for owning a separate portable gaming machine, many have already decided that smartphone gaming is good enough.
Even now, developers are testing the limits of using smartphones as gesture controllers for computers. But what they have figured out is how to use a smartphone as a Bluetooth pointing device for a computer. Sure, you can buy a separate trackpad for your computer. But if you already charge your smartphone at your desk anyway, you can replace that trackpad or mobile pointing device with the smartphone you already have.
3. Music Players
The number one music player in the world used to be the Sony Walkman, then the Apple iPod. Now, it is whatever smartphone you happen to be carrying. When the iPhone was first introduced, playing music was a third of its big selling points. If anything, that functionality has only become more important.
4. Rulers and Tape Measures
Ruler and tape measure apps are not perfect. But they are cheap and convenient. The good ones enable you to make measurements that are difficult to manage with the real thing. You can take a picture and get a pretty accurate measurement. It does not replace the tape measure altogether. But it will keep you from needing to pack one in your carry bag for occasional usage.
5. Portable TV and Movie Players
These days, the best portable television you can buy is a good smartphone. The picture is great. And chances are, there is a streaming service that gives you everything you want to watch, including local channels. With services like Netflix and HBO Go, there is no need to carry DVDs anymore.
6. Day Planners
We used to carry portable, paper day planners and event calendars. Then we replaced them with PDAs. Now, there is no room in the marketplace for such devices because smartphones with their millions of apps do the job so well.
There is so little need to carry a paper book anymore, it is surprising to see one on the train. Between the Kindle app and other eBook readers, you simply have no need to pack a print book to help you pass the time on your next commute.
When is the last time you needed a calculator and didn’t have access to one? Hint: it was before you had a smartphone.
9. Portable Mirrors
Sometimes, everyone needs a mirror to make sure they got the last of the mustard that managed to smear the side of their face when eating that hot dog. No worries. Your smartphone has you covered.
A dedicated camera will always be better than the one in your smartphone. But as long as you have a smartphone, you will have no need to buy a dedicated camera for 90% of what people use cameras for.
Despite all that the modern smartphone replaces, we still find lots of stuff to put into our backpacks and messenger bags. But the smartphone has obsoleted more items than any other modern invention. And it will only become more useful as time goes by.