Back in January when Apple unveiled their highly-anticipated iPad, Star Trek was there, using the new movie to show off its multi-media capability. And today when Apple unveiled the 4th generation iPhone, Star Trek was again invoked, this time by CEO Steve Jobs himself when introducing the new video calling capability. This prompts the question: Is Star Trek actually behind the curve on this tech?
Jobs invokes Trek for iPhone 4
The 4th generation version of Apple’s popular smart phone was unveiled today at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose. Steve Jobs gave one of his famous keynotes introducing the new phone and it's key features, one of which is the new 'FaceTime' video calling feature. Jobs prefaced his introduction saying (via arsTechnica):
I grew up here in the US with The Jetsons and Star Trek and communicators, dreaming about video calling, and it's real now!
This bit of Trek injected into the event inspired the UK Times to title their article on the rollout as: "iPhone brings Star Trek to the modern world". More info on the new iPhone at www.apple.com. A video report from the event is below.
Star Trek and video calls – when will it go mobile?
The two-way video chat is a classic piece of Trek tech, starting with the original Star Trek and conversations via both the big bridge view screen and smaller screens. However, even though the classic Star Trek hand-held communicator has often been cited as an inspiration for the modern cell-phone, they never had a video function.
Video chatting was part of Star Trek from the first TOS episode aired ("The Man Trap") to the final TNG movie ("Nemesis") – but not with the hand-held communicator
This missing bit of mobile Treknology was actually going to get an upgrade in the 2009 Star Trek movie. The new Star Trek communicators actually were designed with a screen on the inside (using a little green screen on the inside of the black flip-open cover), but this functionality was never shown on screen. The Playmates Toys version of the communciator was originally going to have a lenticular image to show this functionality, but in the end this was replaced with a simple starfleet logo. It is possible that we will finally see a mobile video chat via a communicator in the Star Trek sequel.
New "Star Trek" communicator was originally designed to have video chat – but was never shown in the film