Evolution of Phones: From Wall Phones to iPhones That Convert Speech Into Text

This wall phone reminds me of the wall phone at my grandpa's farm in Allendale Missouri on his 80 acre farm, back in the late 50's.
This rotary phone was seen in most American homes in the 50's and 60's.
This touch tone phone was found in almost any office for many years for office workers with a phone at their desk.
The latest cell phone today is the Apple iPhone 4s which looks nothing like the phones we grew up with over 50 years ago.

I remember back in the old days, when we would have to rent our phones from Bell South, paying a monthly charge to use the phones.

Now after the evolution of the phone from a wall phone, to a rotary phone, then to a touch tone phone found in most offices and also used at home.

It seems like it was only yesterday, when we only used phones to make phone calls and receive phone calls. Nowadays cell phones not only make and receive calls, but allow you to not call at all by using texts to transmit messages back and forth.

Cell phones have become a multi-purpose electronic device that enables owners to listen to music, watch television shows, movies and videos.

They can be used to play games, pay bills, make bank transactions on the phone, take notes, take photos and shoot HD quality videos. The iPhone 4s also can browse the web and remind you of an important event, that is approaching. If you get lost, you can use a built-in GPS to find your way.

The Apple 4s also has an intelligent assistant named Siri which will let you use your voice to ask questions:

It knows what you mean.

Siri not only understands what you say, it’s smart enough to know what you mean. So when you ask “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri will reply “I found a number of burger restaurants near you.” Then you can say “Hmm. How about tacos?” Siri remembers that you just asked about restaurants, so it will look for Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. And Siri is proactive, so it will question you until it finds what you’re looking for.

This is taking smart phones to a whole new level.

It helps you do the things you do every day.

Ask Siri to text your dad, remind you to call the dentist, or find directions, and it figures out which apps to use and who you’re talking about. It finds answers for you from the web through sources like Yelp and WolframAlpha. Using Location Services, it looks up where you live, where you work, and where you are. Then it gives you information and the best options based on your current location. From the details in your contacts, it knows your friends, family, boss, and coworkers. So you can tell Siri things like “Text Ryan I’m on my way” or “Remind me to make a dentist appointment when I get to work” or “Call a taxi” and it knows exactly what you mean and what to do.

One of the best features is that the iPhone 4s takes dictation, then converts your spoken words into text. If you are sitting at a dinner table, trying to make conversation with a 4s user, it will be a futile endeavor, since they will be too busy using the features of the 4s, to even notice you are in the room.

iPhone 4S takes dictation.

Here’s another amazing way to get things done: just use your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Then say what you want to say and iPhone listens. Tap Done, and iPhone converts your words into text. Use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web, and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write and send Instagrams.

Summary: We have come a long way from the wall phones of the past, which couldn’t be used to text or send emails, shoot videos or play music, to phones that are the electronic center of what is going on in our lives.

My problem is that I don’t have a cell phone, so still use a regular home phone to make and receive calls. The new technology is astounding, but if you can’t afford it, then it becomes worthless.

We all remember the high telephone bills of the past, when making a lot of long distance calls in a month. Owning a cell phone today may actually be cheaper, if someone was having $150 worth of long distance calls, month after month.

It becomes cost prohibitive to own a iPhone, a iPod and a iPad and a laptop not to mention paying for  monthly cable and internet service.

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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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