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- Apple cofounder Steve Jobs made several predictions about the future of tech throughout his life.
- Jobs foresaw iPhones in the 1980s, the ubiquity of the internet, and the computer mouse, among other advances.
- Many of Jobs’ predictions came true, although a couple were off the mark.
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Eight years after Steve Jobs‘ death, his name continues to dominate discussions about how the evolution of technology and where it’s going next.
From 1976, when he cofounded Apple, Jobs presided over a revolution in micro-computing, with his vision extending to phones, tablets, music distribution, apps, and everything else we’ve come to take for granted in our 21st-century user experience.
On top of pioneering revolutionary tech products, Jobs was celebrated for predicting the future. After all, as one of his favorite quotes goes, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
But looking back, although many of Jobs’ predictions were spot on, some were off the mark. Here are 10 of his biggest prophecies, as well as two surprising misfires.
‘We’ll be using computers at home, for fun’
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In 1985, Steve Jobs told Playboy that the use of personal computers would spread into the home. At this point, computers were used mostly just by companies, schools, and a few pioneering souls running businesses from their homes.
In 1984, 8% of American households had a computer, according to the US Census Bureau. By 2015, this figure had risen to 79%.
And as Jobs predicted, computers are a source of recreation for millions of people, whether it’s watching movies and TV, playing games, or messaging friends.
‘We will all be connected through the computer’
In the same interview, Jobs explained the most compelling reason for people to buy a home computer would be "to link it into a nationwide communications network."
His remarks came four years before Tim Berners-Lee’s pioneering work to develop what became the World Wide Web, and five years before the first ever web page was posted online.
‘It’s much faster to do all kinds of functions, such as cutting and pasting, with a mouse’
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Before Jobs released his Lisa computer in 1983, most personal computers required instructions to be laboriously typed on the keyboard. When Jobs introduced his mouse — explaining to Playboy that "pointing is a metaphor we all know" — he made all those commands visually simple, even for those with little computer training.
Thirty-five years later, the mouse is something we take for granted in computing, and it’s even become a little quaint thanks to advances in touch-screen technology, made popular on phones and tablets by Apple and other companies.
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