The science fiction trope of the box into which you jack your brain directly (Neuromancer, Shadowrun, countless others) has taken shape in modern society in the form of smartphones. What’s awesome, though, is that Gibson kind of predicted these, too, in Idoru:
“Masahiko undid the top two buttons of his tunic and withdrew a six-inch square of something black and rigid, no thicker than a pane of glass. He brushed it purposefully with the fingers of his right hand, beaded lines of colored light appearing at his touch. Though these were fainter here, washed out by the train’s directionless fluorescents, Chia recognized the square as the control-face of the Computer she’d seen in his room.
He studied the display, stroked it again, and frowned at the result. ‘Someone pays attention to my address,’ he said, ‘and to Mitsuko’s.’
‘Our user addresses,’
‘What kind of attention?’
‘I do not know. We are not linked.’
-Except by me.”
Smartphones function as windows into the digital world in a way that desktop computers (or even laptops) simply can’t. They are portable, intentionally designed for communication. They interact with our environment through cameras and microphones and wireless modules – and they do this cheaply and effectively. The iPhone, in particular, has sort of create a platform/enclave out of its app store. Businesses now offer “iPhone apps.” Sometimes they’ll have an android app, sure. But for the most part, people are offering iPhone apps. It’s like having a URL, nowadays.