The Reading Eagle editor has a few trillion dollar thoughts.

I’ve been thinking about smartphones lately. Maybe because my iPhone 5s, my trusted companion since it came out in 2013, has been failing.

I loved this phone for its thin, sleek design and light weight, and the fact that it fit comfortably in my pocket. Finally, I was able to dump the belt holster I used to carry my thicker, stubbier iPhone 4.

The holster, my sons Colin and Jesse informed me in their blunt, no-feelings-spared way, was a source of personal embarrassment for them. Surely, they thought, our Dad could not be that uncool.

But I was.

My 5s squared me with my techno-snob sons, whose names were listed on the birthday card that accompanied the box the phone came in. Guess that holster was so embarrassing they were willing to pony up some cash to make it go away.

It was a good match. My 5 and I hit if off immediately. We went everywhere together. We shared thousands of memories. We took selfies everywhere we went. We were buds.

But over the last year or so, I began noticing the telltale signs my friend was starting to fail. It was taking longer and longer for him to fetch things for me, like emails and text messages. I often had to wait for it to open doors to the World Wide Web. It seemed to have a hard time hearing the signals coming from the cell towers that surrounded it.

Then the flash stopped working. This was a real sign of trouble since I relied on this light to find things that fall and roll into dark corners, or to light my way to my office in the predawn to gather my running shoes from a closet.

When volume controls stopped working and the phone started feeling feverish, I knew it was time to say goodbye.

So, I upgraded to an 8. The iPhone is dead, long live the iPhone, right?

As all of this was happening, news broke that Apple became the first U.S. company to crest the $1 trillion valuation barrier. I wasn’t surprised. Within my own family, we have five. My wife and I have Mac computers in our home offices and I have a work-issued iPad. Wonderful thing, the iPad.

When the editors of the Eagle gather around the conference table to go over our daily news budgets or plan coverage of a special event, most of us lay our phones on the table lest we miss any news alerts that pop onto our screens. They’re all iPhones.

It’s estimated that Apple owns 40 percent of the smartphone market, the largest slice of any other maker. Match that with data that shows 77 percent of U.S. adults own a device that costs upward of $800 in some cases, and Apple’s continuing strength starts to make sense.

Research by the Pew Research Center shows that smartphone use is highest among millennials, 92 percent; followed by Gen-Xers (38- to 53-year-olds), 85 percent; baby boomers (54 to 72), 67 percent; and the silent generation (73-90), 30 percent.

So, despite its dominance, there is still room for growth among us old ones. As a demographic group, we lag far behind in smartphone ownership: 46 percent for those 65 and up, compared to 73 to 94 percent for our children and grandchildren.

So when will start seeing ad campaigns for the iPhone Senior and the Android Geezer? And how big a holster will I need to carry them on my belt?

Contact Garry Lenton: 610-371-5025, glenton@readingeagle.com or on Twitter at @GarryLenton_RE.




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