How Bill Gates Predicted the iPhone … in 1995

if you could gaze into the future...

Talk about a visionary: I was blown away by Gates’ description of something that is eerily like the iPhone in his mid-90s book The Road Ahead, as described by Maria Popova on

He called it a “wallet PC” and described its functionality as such:

“[It] will display messages and schedules and let you read or send electronic mail and faxes, monitor weather and stock reports, and play both simple and sophisticated games. At a meeting, you might take notes, check your appointments, browse information if you’re bored, or choose from among thousands of easy-to-call-up photos of your kids.”

And he even predicted Siri! The world would be so different without Bill Gates–here’s exactly how. 

“A voice from its built-in speaker will let you know that a freeway exit is coming up or that the next intersection has frequent accidents … You might ask, ‘Where’s the closest Chinese restaurant that’s still open?’ and the answer will be transmitted to your wallet by wireless network.”

Read more about Gates’ ideas for the iPhone here—and get more cool cultural finds from @brainpicker on Twitter.

Photo credit: m_bahareth/Wikimedia Commons

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest