The third stream was underlined yesterday in Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. It frankly surprised me that it seemed to take Apple so long to realize the obvious answer to the biggest complaint about their soon-to-ship iPhone: no interface for external development.
The answer really was obvious and it's what I have been calling the third stream. You see, the Apple iPhone is the first fully-mobile device to offer a full-featured Internet browser. Jobs' words are that it offers "the real Internet, not the 'baby Internet' or the 'mobile Internet,' but the real Internet." Exactly! And that's the third stream.
Those who have been paying attention know that electronic applications are moving away from being tied to a specific device like a desktop computer or even a notebook. More and more, they are presented as an amalgam of software and data that lives on the Internet and is delivered on-demand to a device that primarily serves as the viewing device and the consolidation point for the distributed content. The iPhone presents a device of ultimate portability that can serve this role. It is the beginning of the next evolution for electronic systems and the use of the Internet for personal and professional productivity.
For instance, have you spent any time with Google Applications like Google Docs? Now think about being able to collaborate on a Google document with a person using a desktop in their office, another using a notebook from a WiFi hotspot, and another using an iPhone while sitting on an airplane.
That's where this is going.
And that is why the other two streams are so important.
For example, on June 6th, Google announced that the first Google Gears application they had built was Google Reader, meaning that you will be able to keep your RSS feeds current in Google Reader, and read them from your iPhone or any other device that will let you view Google Gears applications while offline. This is a significant, dramatic, and potentially marketplace changing evolution, and you as a leader and highly productive individual need to understand it and begin to move rapidly in the direction this evolution offers.
Those are the three streams: Web 2.0 available offline, mashups, and ubiquitous real Internet availability from the broadest variety of devices possible.
The world is changing. Are you?