We’ve seen the future and it looks suspiciously like an iPad. A study conducted by touch screen producer Elo Touch Solutions in 2004 concluded that America’s young adults had embraced touch screen technology and expected it to become ubiquitous in the future.
The takeaways from the “In Touch” study were unequivocal. Young adults were experienced, comfortable, and conversant with touch screen technology. Over 80% of respondents had used touch screens, with 85% indicating that they were “comfortable” using touch screens in public. And this was before the launch of the first iPhone. Only 19% responded that they had “rarely” or “never” used touch screen technology.
Nearly everyone (99%) agreed that touch screens would become more popular in the next few years, and suggested that touch screens would become “the standard way” of conducting a number of customer service related transactions in the near future (e.g., airport check-in, grocery purchases).
And they were right. In a more recent article (2013), the Atlantic Monthly referred to modern babies and toddlers as “The Touch Screen Generation.” More and more, tablets and smartphones are becoming the preferred toys of younger kids. The article cites a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which in 1999 discouraged television viewing for children younger than 2, stating that it impacted brain development, and that younger children needed direct interaction with their parents. In 2006, young children were beginning to consume more media, but the Academy of Pediatrics held its stance. By 2011, this stance had fallen. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its report, due to “smart cell phone” and “new screen technologies.” The article’s author, Hannah Rosin, goes on to say that the report “did not address interactive apps. Nor did it broach the possibility that has likely occurred to parents…: that some good might come from those little swiping fingers.” And really, to those of us who grew up making up games to play outside, it’s pretty impressive that a two-year-old can navigate his/her way around an iPad with ease. To today’s youngest generation, it’s second nature, the way of the world.
Going into 2015, tablets are replacing cash registers in stores and restaurants (see our solution here), and our cellphones have long replaced calculators, organizers, navigation devices, and even our wallets – there’s no doubt that the development and growth of touchscreen technology has made our daily lives, whether personal or professional, exponentially more efficient.