One of the best ways to know your platform has made it is when you see users start injecting their own creativity into it. Obviously, the most common indicator is when lots of programmers start developing apps and add-ons. But, the other big thing to watch is feedback from users on how they see the future trajectory of the product.
Although there's not really a question that the Apple iPhone has made it as a platform, some of the passion and high expectations for future development of the product were on full display recently as a 3D animation company called Aatma Studio created what it refers to as a concept design for iPhone 5.
While the concepts that Aatma shows off in its one-minute video are definitely not going to show up in the iPhone 5 — which is expected to launch in October — there are some compelling ideas that could show up in the iPhone and other smartphones within the next 3-5 years.
The most interesting stuff that Aatma explores are the ideas of a holographic display projected into the air from the iPhone and a laser keyboard projected on to a table top from the iPhone. Interestingly enough, the video shows theses two ideas separately, but if you put them together then you can see where the smartphone becomes a full PC replacement (a concept I've been talking about again recently).
Aatma CEO Pramod Modi Shantharam said, "We at Aatma are massive fans of the iPhone and are eagerly awaiting the release of iPhone 5. Meanwhile, going by the buzz the iPhone 5 is generating, we felt it's a good time to launch a concept such as this, and showcase our vision of key features of an iPhone 5 or subsequent models could have in the future."
Who knows if Apple will pick up on these ideas, but if they don't then other smartphone makers certainly might.
Here's the video:
What do you think? Would want to use a smartphone with a holographic display and projected keyboard? Could the ergonomics work? Can you holographic experts out there chime in and tell us how possible this would be and what the timeframe might look like?
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.