The telephone is dying.
A smartphone is not a phone. A smartphone is a mobile Internet client. On a smartphone telephony is a low-bandwidth service, just as it is on a PC. And with the wealth of the Internet in your hand, synchronous services like voice lose their place.
This is having many profound impacts on our lives and world that we don't yet credit. As a reporter my first resort was once to call someone to learn something. Now I go online first, and even when I call I am very unlikely to get any service. PR stands in the way of almost any real newsmaker. The way to flush them out is to Tweet them or just write with what's available. There is usually a lot.
Life is becoming asynchronous. You communicate when you want to, and only when you want to. When you're carrying a smartphone you're still not tethered to it, as you were 20 years ago to a wired phone. You're no longer attuned to its ringing. Instead you're checking for, and responding to, messages of various types, often using thinner data streams than you had with a digital phone call.
By contrast the PC is not dying. Its era is fading, but you're still going to write programs – both PC and TV – on a keyboard rather than an iPad. Even if you have an external keyboard for the iPad, that's a second box you're carrying, while with the PC they're integrated.
Of course the PC is going to change. It's always changing. In this case the home PC is exploding. Inputs and outputs are becoming separate from processing, the PC itself becoming a server, the home WiFi network becoming the wires, everything becoming either an input or output. Home automation, inventory control and always-on medical applications finally start to make sense in this new environment.
An iPad is primarily a client, just like an iPhone is a client. A home server in the wall is a bigger leap forward. Voice interfaces start to make more sense. You talk to the house, tell it what you want. The intelligence and connectivity controlled by the PC in the wall deliver it to you through the wireless network.
So while the telephone is dead, the PC is evolving. The phone has been replaced by the network, and the network has liberated the PC to live inside the wall. These are both profound changes, and enormous opportunities.
If you want to be an old fart and cry over the fact or pace of change, be my guest. Excuse me if I don't join you.