Skip to content

The science fiction of our time

science fiction is an amazing field of discovery. For its followers, it is common to find us in stories from the 1950s with devices that are familiar today, forming part of the rest of the plot with anything else that is usual for the imagined moment. We will surely all remember the enormous similarities with the predictions about tablets and smart phones many years before they arrived.

It is very interesting to review what a field practically without limitations with the writers propose to us for the years to come. In the case of computers, we are surprisingly on a path that seems to converge with the moment – almost exactly – that we are living now: intelligent screens and powerful computers . If we remember, for example, successes such as Star Trek or 2001, we will see how certain functions that require mobility and versatility are done with pseudo-tables , while the governance of more ambitious technology ( such as ships or large machines ) remain under the control of computers: we have seldom seen such prodigies in control of something like tablets ( here is a good collection of wallpapers trekking for your iPhones )

The science fiction of our timeThe science fiction of our time

It’s not a rumor of the iPhone 7, it’s the Star Trek PADD

Intelligent devices go through a “natural” adjustment period thanks to their new uses

Although we may think that those stories have a certain emotional or even social burden, it is very true that we are applying that paradigm now: despite the fact that we have immensely more powerful tablets and phones than we could have imagined, we still entrust certain major tasks to powerful computers. Nor is it entirely true, in my opinion, that every device is currently going through a process of adjustment where it is specializing in the area where it can contribute most today. This is why we are increasingly using the telephone or tablet as personal communication and creative tools .

Jef Raskin and the Unknown Macintosh Project

When in the late 70’s Jef Raskin imagined the future of computing , he did not see great scientists on huge machines getting valuable results. Rather, the perspective shifted in another direction: the user. Any person with creative ambition who needed a machine with which to materialize his creation . Computers were capable of that as no other machine has been in the history of mankind . But at that time they were terrible for a user without scientific knowledge.

Raskin’s initial idea for the Macintosh was closer to PDAs than to classic computers

The first idea for his new Macintosh project was radically different from the one you are thinking about. Raskin’s Mac was more of a 9″ handheld with a predictive interface – the graphical interface came when Jobs joined the project – able to understand writing and, depending on the user’s data, load the corresponding application. As you can see, if we have to imagine a computer as a creative force and versatility , the same concept emerges in everyone’s mind.

Una marca en el universo [Especial 30 aniversario Macintosh]

Now, have all our current devices, and I’m talking about iPad and iPhone, achieved the goals that the imagination of artists and geniuses of another era recklessly proposed to us? Although it may seem the opposite, they are still very young devices, but we must give them the merits of popularizing a technology that years ago was taking a wrong turn and contributing to certain tasks being taken away – at last – from the desktop to give rise to new challenges.

iPhone 7 challenges

During the week, we have been able to see how rumors are starting to emerge about the release of the new model that Apple has prepared for us around the summer. This year, however, the device is taking on a different character: there is a debate between a generational step and an expected evolution, or a change of concept for next year’s model. That’s why no one calls the 2017 iPhone “iPhone 7s”, but rather iPhone 8.

With the iPhone rumors we can only act as science fiction writers , let’s remember that in the years before the iPhone we tried to imagine what the Apple phone would be like, but nobody was right. This new radical change, in my opinion, would involve the almost total disappearance of the physical buttons: it’s something Jobs didn’t want in the original model, but the technology wasn’t ready for something like this yet. Will it be ready for 2017 ?

Evolving a device is not always about changing the design every year, also making it consistent with the software and improving the power which is what will discover new uses

However, and contrary to what it may seem, this year’s model – if all these speculations are true – is still very interesting: Apple has reached technological maturity with the device that created a new model of industry – and almost of society – and the interest in raising the stakes in a model even more powerful than the iPhone 6s, are still very interesting, although we still do not have a holographic screen and have a home button. Especially if they use what they learned on the iPad Pro to get to a phone that almost puts the design we all know to the limit: that, too could be part of the stories of science fiction . And for sure, it will be the beginning of a new one that we can’t even imagine – yet – in our days.

At Apple