Before the iPhone, smartphones were a small niche. Only wealthy business people, and people who wanted to look like wealthy business people owned them. They offered amazing capabilities compared to the typical cell phone. That was a time when the only reason people bought cell phones was making phone calls without being tethered to a cord.

The T9 key entry allowed for a rudimentary form of texting. Smartphones gave you a full, QWERTY keyboard for faster and more accurate text entry. Those early handsets even incorporated styluses for a more natural form of input. They also included app stores and repositories enabling tasks such as voice recording, graphics calculators, and basic web browsing.

Still, none of these functions was enough to get the attention of the general public. It required the iPhone to give average consumers a taste of the possible. Apple did not pioneer pocket computing. But they took it to the next level. Suddenly, people were looking to smartphones to take over functionality that was once reserved for computers.

Today, the smartphone is not just a novelty choice for doing certain things. It is the primary choice for much of what we do. People are now choosing to use their smartphone to do things they used to only do on a computer. Here are a few examples of things better done on a smartphone than anything else:


One of the greatest advances in the modern age is mobile banking. Before mobile, banking was a hassle. We had to deal with short hours, long lines, and not so great service. People were using their lunch hour to deposit checks. By the time they got off work, the banks were closed.

Today, you can get a platinum debit card that you can use from your smartphone or smartwatch. You don’t need to pull out a physical card and take a chance of losing it or having someone shoulder surf the card numbers. You can get all the benefits of a Platinum MasterCard with all its protections in the convenience of a smartphone.

That is just one aspect of banking that is better on a smartphone. There is also the fact that you can deposit checks just by taking a photo of the front and back, and uploading it into your banking app of choice. You can review your accounts, pay bills, and transfer money 24 hrs a day on the same device you play Candy Crush. Almost everything about banking is better when done on a smartphone than on any other device. The only thing you can’t do is get cash from the charging port.

Health Management

Mobile tech and health management are no longer strange bedfellows. You can access your medical records from the privacy of your smartphone. This is a genuinely big advance as your smartphone is very likely the most secure device you own.

Beyond access to health records and doctor’s appointment confirmations and even telemedicine done right over the smartphone, there is the newest advance in contact tracing. Thanks to the pandemic, we all know about contract tracing. Before, it was a highly manual process where people had to track down anyone who had contact with a person who contracted a virus to notify them and suggest they get tested. This can now be done in the background over a large network of smartphones. Thanks to the smartphone, health management has been improved by a generation.

Music Consumption

Remember the radio? Well, forget about it. If you want to hear talk shows, open your favorite podcast app. You don’t even need to open an app for traffic and weather. You can see that data in a home screen widget. As for music, no radio station will ever be able to compete with even the worst music streaming service you can get on your smartphone.

For roughly $10 a month, you have access to every song ever recorded, every song in circulation, and every song yet to be released. You can play them by genre, mood, time of day, or create a station based on some random song you just heard. Just think of all this replaces. You don’t need to browse the shelves of music stores. You don’t need a radio. You don’t even need MTV anymore. Best of all, you can get some subset of these services for free.

Sure, you could live your life without a smartphone. But if you did, you would be giving up the absolute best way to do your banking, manage your health, and consume the broad world of music.