My former student, friend, and frequent co-author, Charley Hooper wrote the following on Facebook. He titled it "Ode to iPhone." I'm reproducing it with his permission.
Now that the iPhone is turning 10, I want to tell a story of what life was like before it existed.
I was heading to Dartmouth for a conference and flew into Boston to spend the night with a friend. His mom was in the hospital and he had to cancel our plans. Did he text me? Did he call me? Did he email me? No. We didn't have the technology for that! I discovered that our plans had changed when I landed and called him on a pay phone (remember those?).
Next I needed to find a hotel. I did that with the Yellow Pages (actual paper) and a pay phone. I called hotel after hotel until I found an acceptable rate. Then I had to get there.
I found a taxi, but the driver didn't speak English well and he didn't know the area, so we got lost and went in circles. (We eventually shared a pizza as it got dark and stated to rain.) My iPhone would have solved the problem with directions. We eventually found my hotel and I paid the driver in cash.
The next morning I needed to get to the bus station. I had the public transit map and the local map and, even though they were side by side, I couldn't figure out what stations I needed because the stations were named for local landmarks that weren't on the regular map.
My short stay in Boston was spent primarily trying to communicate with others and trying to find my way, meaning that I didn't get to do anything fun. The iPhone has changed all of that. The same trip today would be dramatically different.