When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad (which I’m going to pre-order as soon as I can) he mentioned in an almost off-hand way that, counting laptops in total, Apple has become the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile device computers.
Many noticed that he said that. Many wondered why. I was one of them. But seeing this quote from one of the directors of Google today, I think I get it:
“Google believes that in three or so years desktops will give way to mobile as the primary screen from which most people will consume information and entertainment. That’s according to Google Europe boss John Herlihy who said that smart phones enhance Google’s mission to make information universal.
[…]‘In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs,’ Herlihy told a baffled audience, echoing comments by Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the recent GSM Association Mobile World Congress 2010 that everything the company will do going forward will be via a mobile lens, centring on the cloud, computing and connectivity.”
Read the full article here.
Do you remember how Wayne Gretzky once said that he was a great player because he didn’t skate to where the hockey puck was, he skated to where it was going to be?
Here you have two of the leading technology companies in the world betting on the future of mobile computing and saying that desktop computing and perhaps even laptop computers are going to be less important going forward. Desktops are already commodity devices in most cases – low profit margins and all – and used for specialized tasks like heavy gaming or content production. Laptops are heading down that path me thinks.
My daughter uses the laptop less and less in her studies and in her homework these days. I see her picking up her iPhone and using the encyclopedia app or the dictionary app. She’s allowed to use her phone in Physics class because the calculator is more than adequate for what she needs. She uses her phone in lab because it has a very nice stopwatch built in.
The killer app for her with the iPad is going to be the word processing software. For me it’s the application that will let me have access to the Logos theological library that I’ve purchased over the years. (In fact I just upgraded my license with Logos just so I could have that mobile access to my reference library.)
If you want to know where the puck is headed, look to the heavy technology consumers.
So, if this is the case, what should we in the Church be doing to live into this brave new future?
I’ve actually been part of a group that was planning for this transition. But decisions made by “leadership” sorts in the CoE and TEC pulled the funding for the project. I’m not optimistic that we’re going to restore that. But no matter. Look at what we’ve managed to accomplish at places like Episcopal Cafe on a shoe string budget.
There’s already a BCP app for the iPhone. There are multiple free and paid versions of the Bible for the iPhone and for the Android platform. Keynote on the iPad should allow folks who uses “slides” in worship or teaching full access.
What to do next?
Here’s a thought… there’s a free service out there that will let you build your own app for the iPhone and iPad that makes it dead simple to get your website content onto the mobile device. We have a pretty active website at the Cathedral I serve. We chose our web server software to make it easy to update the site daily with news. I’m thinking it’s time for us to have a Trinity Cathedral iPhone app. I think that’s going to be my after Easter project this year. (It would be a nice gift to the Cathedral if I am called away later this year to a new ministry too.)
I’ve thought too about spending a little money and creating a ubiquitous wireless network in the nave of the Cathedral. Someday I think we’ll get to the point where people will be able to arrive for an event and use their phone or their iPad like device to download the service information or concert program – thus saving the use of our copier.
Bible study, etc is an obvious application.
We moved our accounting and membership software to a cloud-based computing service and now I can get full access to membership information via my iPhone or off-site. (And so can key members of the Cathedral staff.)
Any suggestions about how to use mobile tech more effectively in Christian Education? With Youth ministry?
The coolest use I’ve heard of was using texting to send intercessionary prayers to the screens at large worship events. As people are praying, the special requests from the stadium crowd flash across the screen.
Just some first thoughts as we contemplate moving into the brave new world of ubiquitous networked ministry.