A turbulent shift is upon us on a global scale, where is Apple in this maelstrom?

The shift in the global economy and climate is both alarming and frightening. Day after day, the news reports are filled with repetitive themes of calamity that seem to be strengthening in scope and scale. Banks, automobile and insurance companies have been brought to their knees in just a short time period. Mass layoffs and a deteriorating global economy have sparked fears of political and social instability. As if that wasn’t enough, it seems that climate change due to global warming is the fault of man and it will literally remake our world as we know it today and bring dire consequences upon its inhabitants! So, will Apple somehow save the day?

It is truly shocking to see just how interconnected the world is and how fragile our global socioeconomic and political infrastructures really are.

But, at the same time, how exciting this period in history is where information and communication can be rapidly accessed to enable and nurture human connections that lead to the sharing of ideas and perhaps to solutions for the ills that plague mankind!

The emerging platform to facilitate this interconnection and intertwining of people and ideas is the iPhone and, by extension, the iPod Touch as they run the same operating system.

With the preview of iPhone OS 3.0 earlier this month, we caught a glimpse into the future and perhaps it will bring us a step closer towards fostering a unified and interconnected world with the intent to gain enlightenment and evolve as a species.

OK, so now you’re thinking, “Isaac, you must be high on something, and I’m not talking about your altitude!”

Well no. I’m not high on anything. Allow me to explain, (although 2,000 feet above sea level makes the oxygen levels here a tad thinner.)

Think about this: with iPhone 2.0 and the wildly successful App Store, there have been 800 million third party applications downloaded through the App Store that, after only 8 short months, now boasts about 30,000 apps! You can already easily stay in touch with many of people through a myriad of iPhone social networking apps like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitterific and AIM to name a few (for free, I might add).

The connections created through these services give you virtual access to all those people every moment of your day. The flow of ideas, from what you’ll be doing that weekend to solving complex business conundrums with your trusted colleagues will stream through cyberspace and get you the answers or feedback you’re looking for almost instantaneously. 

It also can open up new opportunities in these difficult economic times, so you can take advantage of what may not have been available before or opportunities that you may have missed by not having a mobile device that affords a pervasive connection to the right people and information getting you to “the right place at the right time” to meet that particular opportunity head on.

With iPhone 3.0, “push notification” will make constantly emerging and changing information accessible to you in real time without delays that could spell disaster for the goals you are pursuing.

Peer to peer connectivity in iPhone 3.0 will actually (in the digital sense,) interconnect people and allow them to seamlessly share information, leisure activities and bring a new dimension to interactions between you and your peers!

What if you’re an Emergency Room (ER) physician and a patient that you’ve worked up for trauma or cholecystitis or another more esoteric ailment will be admitted to the hospital for a lengthy stay? The information you’ve amassed within your iPhone, including the patient’s history, physical exam, radiographs, CT scans, lab work and differential diagnosis will all be automatically transferred from you, the ER physician to the new treating physician using this simple peer to peer connectivity between iPhones to ensure safe and orderly transfer of care.

The same scenario can be realized for transferring information between nurses during their change of shifts to give their patients appropriate continuity of care that is necessary for their safety and well being.

Accessory support is probably one of the most exciting and “futuristic” capabilities announced as part of iPhone 3.0.

Imagine taking daily glucose reading on a brittle diabetic with a machine that wirelessly transfers that data to a patient’s iPhone and then transfers that data in real time to their doctor for immediate feedback. Keeping track of any specific vital signs that would be necessary to track for optimal and timely medical treatments will be possible through this feature.

Of course, medical applications are only a part of the entire picture. Applications with this enhanced functionality will be found in various and diverse fields that developers will take advantage of to make our lives better, safer and even more interconnected.

Apple’s preview of iPhone 3.0 did not mention all the new features inherent in the new operating system upgrade and since there tends to be an “air of mystery” surrounding unreleased and/ or undisclosed Apple products, we can be free to speculate, debate and extrapolate!

There are some terrific iPhone apps to track your finances which is increasingly important in today’s harsh economic climate.

Mint allows you to track multiple financial accounts, such as your bank, loans, credit card balances, transactions and cash flow.

Certain banking apps such as Citi Mobile and Chase Mobile even let you manage your accounts including pay bills and make transfers on the go in real time.

There are apps that will turn your iPhone into a credit card terminal, such as Transactions, that enables you to perform credit card sales wherever you are so that when the opportunity arises, you don’t disappoint yourself or your customers!

Now what if in the next iPhone OS iteration, we would be able to use our iPhones AS a credit or debit card to purchase anything we want, wherever we are. This would eliminate the need to carry plastic cards around and would surely help get the economy moving in the right direction!

The credit, debit card and ATM will be things of the past relegated to obsolescence just as the horse and buggy made way for the automobile and the printing press will soon make way for the iPhone, errr, e-Book reader.

We are living in turbulent times with monumental changes and shifts of great magnitude occurring. Imagination will be the rate limiting factor as more functionality, features and advances are brought to Apple’s OS X both for the Mac, with the imminent release of Snow Leopard 10.6 and the iPhone 3.0.

Opportunities are making themselves available for you to tap into, will you be instrumental in changing the world or will you be changed by it? The choice is yours.

What other features not mentioned in Apple’s preview do you think will materialize with the release of iPhone 3.0 and which features do you secretly yearn for?

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