Apple Inc.

The hot new debate over the future of the smartphone

A smart phone disappearing into the grass
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Just 12 years after the first iPhone, almost every conceivable smartphone consumer on the planet currently owns one — some 4 billion people, according to the consensus. Which has begotten a surprising new trend: a still-small but growing chorus of forecasts (like this) of the smartphone’s demise.

What’s happening: According to the smartphone naysayers, it might look like we are bionically tethered to our devices, but we are actually poised to shed our reliance on them, one function after another. We will turn to our cars to make phone calls, send and receive texts, and get directions. Wearables and home smart assistants will do tasks, make payments, and help us stay on schedule.

Apple's Tim Cook meets with Trump as tariffs loom

In this image, Tim Cook and Trump sit next to each other at a long table in the White House, both wearing suits.
Apple CEO Tim Cook listens to President Trump at a 2017 White House meeting. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with President Trump at the White House on Thursday.

Driving the news: It's not clear what was discussed, but it's hard to believe trade relations with China wasn't on the agenda — given the president's threat to impose an estimated $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese-made goods, including the iPhone.