Always Be Learning – The World Keeps Changing

collection_01_largeProbably the best thing about being a software developer is that everything is always changing and there’s always something to keep you engaged and learning new things.

I think that is what helps keep your mind sharp as you get older. Being a programmer full-time is like spending all day doing Sudoku puzzles and getting paid for it.

The new iPhones and especially the Apple Watch opens up a new world for programmers to work on bringing software ideas to even more personal hardware. The amount of sensors and processing power that is now making its way from your pocket onto your wrist is astounding. The true effects of this shift has not even begun to be understood.

It was just 7 years ago that Apple announced the original iPhone and changed everything about how cellphones are perceived. They introduced the full touch screen interface which is now the way that all smart phones operate.

Between then and now Apple introduced the iPad. An entirely new category of product that has since become a staple part of every household.

There is a trend to this, of course. The continuing miniaturization of electronics coupled with advances in software and the ubiquity of the internet.

The Apple Watch is the current pinnacle of the technology. And this version 1.0 device is just about to land in the hands of millions of users.

Developers have a unique chance here to be at the front of the next wave of technology that should last for 7-10 years.

The amount of technical innovation between the first iPhone and the first Apple Watch is truly a massive leap. Given that technology has tended to advance at an exponential rate, in 7 more years it is very difficult to imagine just what is in store for us. What will be possible in 2021?

Back to the here and now… The kinds of things that we developers can start to work on which are personal enough to wear on your wrist and take advantage of the entire stack of established technology abstractions it mind blowing.

From the expansion of the data gathering technology that is already built into the Apple Watch that can be recorded, analyzed and integrated into cloud systems. And on the other you can feel the pulse of the world on your wrist as the internet gets filtered and pushed to you.

With things as they currently are hardware wise, developing a program that automatically detected a heart attack and notified the ambulance on your behalf would actually be relatively simple. There are so many things you could detect through the accelerometers, pulse sensors, and pressure sensors that before now there was feasible way to develop.

Creating an interface to everything on the internet and putting it on your wrist is perhaps just an evolutionary step from your pocket. However sometimes even a small change in the user experience can result in a larger shift. As Siri has gone from 95% accurate to 99% accurate in understanding spoken commands the usability of the Siri has exploded. It remains to be seen if the Apple Watch will result in a cultural shift similar to the one that smart phones ushered in.

I would encourage all software developers out there to take on this challenge to build the next generation of personal software that can possibly play a big role in all of our lives for the next decade.