We get closer to the heart of the matter when we look at a common thought pattern, an age-old and dangerously misleading algorithm:
The [new thing] is like the [old thing] only [smaller | bigger]
We’ve seen this formula, and its abuse, before. Decades ago, incumbents had to finally admit that minicomputers weren’t simply small mainframes. Manufacturers, vendors, software makers had to adapt to the constraints and benefits of a new, different environment. A semi-generation later, we saw it again: Microcomputers weren’t diminutive minicomputers but truly personal machines that consumers could lift with their arms, minds, and credit cards.
And nothing is more personal than the handset. We might have, in an era when “receive only” was the available option, accepted commercials on transistor radios, but we never did with the Walkman.
There is a continuum from cinema to the handset, along a number of dimensions, that suggests the conclusion of this article is correct.