This Man Predicted the Modern Smartphone in 1953

iPhone 13 Pro rear camera

Here’s a cool story from Open Culture to start the week. In 1953, Mark R. Sullivan, director of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, made a prediction in a newspaper.

Here is my prophecy: In its final development, the telephone will be carried about by the individual, perhaps as we carry a watch today. It probably will require no dial or equivalent and I think the users will be able to see each other, if they want, as they talk. Who knows but it may actually translate from one language to another?

Check It Out: This Man Predicted the Modern Smartphone in 1953

3 thoughts on “This Man Predicted the Modern Smartphone in 1953

  • In 1948, Robert A. Heinlein published “Space Cadet”, a science fiction novel. In it a student arrives at the academy, goes to his dorm room, pulls a phone out of his backpack, and calls his parents. One of the early mentions of what we would come to know as a “cellphone”.

  • Andrew:


    Arthur C Clarke published Childhood’s End in 1953's_End?wprov=sfti1, in which he too predicted a personal device that we would carry around with us and that would be used for communications and would store all of our life’s data (one of the main characters dies, and a family member retrieves his data – maybe he didn’t have a family plan on iCloud).

    This is not to say that Mark R Sullivan’s idea was not original, rather that more than one visionary of that period foresaw not only the possibility or even inevitability of the iPhone, but both the need and demand for the device as well.

    Great minds and all…

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