Apple announced today its first all-in-one phone/iPod/PDA. Be prepared for tourists 2.0! Okay, I’m joking with the Web 2.0 / Travel 2.0 buzz but this new revolutionary cell phone (and all the upcoming ones) will have an incredible effect on tourists and on the industry.
What’s the iPhone exactly?
The introduction on the iPhone website goes like this: “iPhone combines three products â€” a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, maps, and searching â€” into one small and lightweight handheld device. iPhone also introduces an entirely new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering new software, letting you control everything with just your fingers. So it ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, completely redefining what you can do on a mobile phone. “
More on the iPhone on Apple website.
Which features interest us the most as members of the travel and tourism industry?
Without any doubt the Wi-Fi (and Edge) support let the user connect easily to Wi-Fi networks no matter where he is. In a wireless city it is “oh so” a nice feature. Wherever you go, you can use Internet for free on your cell phone!
The other thing is that it uses Safari - Apple standard browser -, it supports widgets, it plays Mp3 and videos as well as it can take pictures. You got it, it is much more than a cell phone. Maybe they should have named it iVerySmallComputer which also can be use as a cell phone. ; )
Now let’s see what could we do with that…
There are so many things I’m thinking to actually, I’m going to give you some of them right away because the new phones (iPhone and some others) bring us an all-new bunch of opportunities.
A tourist will be able to:
- Easily search for hotels online while he’s in town instead of going to each one of them to verify if they have a room available.
- Wait a bit longer to book his activities because it’s now easier to book them online while traveling.
- Look for the bus schedule while waiting for it.
- Translate on Google Translate an English sentence into this foreign language you try to learn.
- More easily go on World66.com, for example, to get some suggestions of activities to do because “today it rains and I certainly won’t go to the beach!â€
What is the most interesting opportunity, in my opinion, is the possibility to get information on request. The tourist will be able to search on the Internet for information about the park/museum/church he is actually visiting, read info on Wikipedia, download historic videos or mp3 tours, look on a map what is the nearest restaurant, find reviews about this restaurant and so on. You want to know something, no problem! Internet is in your hand.
In a couple of years…
When the GPS functionality will be integrated in most of the cell phones, do you realize that, for example, you will be able to automatically send promotions and rebates to the tourists walking in front of your business door? This day will probably come sooner than you think. Imagine the possibilities they say!