Anno 2022, the smartphone is here to stay. In fact: take them away for a week and there is global panic. Something that someone could never have imagined almost 70 years ago. Or could they?
In 1953, an article appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune in which Mark R. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph, was damn near the current reality. This man managed to predict functionalities like FaceTime back then. Wow…
Smartphone predicted as early as 1953
A whopping 41 years before the first smartphone was ever announced, Mark R. Sullivan looked to the future. Open Culture, a website that focuses on history among other things, shares a newspaper article from 1953. The Tacoma News Tribune reported how Mark R. Sullivan, then the president of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph, was already predicting functionalities like FaceTime. “I think users will be in a position, when they want to, to be able to see each other as they talk,” he revealed in the article.
“There will be no escape from phones in the future,” he revealed, among other things. And man, how right he was. “If developed further, the phone will be carried by an individual at all times. Perhaps in the same way we carry our watch with us today” Sullivan came up with this idea in the year when Steve Jobs, the man who made the smartphone a huge success, was only two years old. “And who knows! Maybe it can even translate one language to another!”
The prediction (Image: Open Culture)
It’s extraordinary, because what sounds very normal now was gigantic futures at the time. To be clear, Mark R. Sullivan suggested these ideas some 54 years before the unveiling of the first iPhone and 57 years before the introduction of FaceTime. Did his prediction have any chance of guiding the future? That chance is certainly there. But it’s impressive that it’s all a reality in the year 2022.
Sullivan wasn’t the only one
Mark R. Sullivan’s prediction is extraordinary, but he has not been the only one to do it over the years. For example, in 1964, eleven years later, Isaac Asimov also painted a very good picture. The science-fiction author wrote in The New York Times about a communication device. This device, in his idea, had a screen, which allowed you to see and speak to people at the same time. In addition, it was also possible to use the screen to study documents and read books.
For about 58 years we have smartphones that make this possible and, in some cases, can even be transformed into tablets. Chapeau, gentlemen!