There are now 2.6 billion smart phones in the world — a product that is less than 20 years old. The Apple iPhone is only 10 years old, but it has changed the world. Some economists have calculated that 20 years ago, if one had to buy all of the devices that do what iPhone apps can do, it would have cost much more than $3 million (that does not include those features that could not have been bought at any price two decades ago because the technology did not exist). Just for a moment, visualize the camera you would have needed to take pictures at only a fraction of the quality of what one can take with an iPhone. One needed a music player, a computer for email, maps and directions, and a TV with thousands of DVDs for all of the movies that one can get now get on demand with an iPhone or iPad. One needed a separate alarm clock, Rolodex, calendar, bulky photo albums, a video camera, voice recorder, flashlight and stacks of newspapers and magazines. Thanks to Google, people now carry almost all of the world’s information and knowledge in their pockets without even thinking about it.
In many places in the world, smart phones have replaced physical banks and coin and paper currency — so that poor people now have access to banking services and do not have to worry about their paper currency being stolen. With Google Earth people can see the homes they live in, the office or factory they work in, and every place they have gone or plan to go on vacation — right down to the beach umbrella. There are increased numbers of apps to monitor medical conditions, saving tens of thousands of lives.