Not having a smartphone, I’m more aware of the changes brought about by COVID that assumes everyone has one (that’s fairly recent, and that’s on a data plan or can access local Wi-Fi). My local bus stop no longer posts times, instead having a QR code / NFC which presumably sends you to a website with the times. This is going to be more certain to be accurate – I expect they’re changing them more frequently due to lower use – and can be enhanced with the standard “when will the bus get here” approximations which are common online or on the text screens in more central bus stops.

Apps for ordering in pubs and restaurants are also common. These have been a mixed bag – it’s nice to see the full selection + prices at a pub when you normally wouldn’t get that, and it’s nice to order immediately without waiting for a server, but ordering at Pizza Hut took about 10 minutes longer than normal, and we had to redo it because “salad” and “salad + bacon bits” were inexplicably two different options, not immediately obvious from the scrolling. A human server could just adjust this manually. You can say this is an app fault and I’d agree, but as we move away from human contact this is the sort of thing to not get fixed, I’d imagine, as soon as it’s good enough.

The NHS contact tracing app requires a phone newer than the one either of my parents have. This is likely for good reason, and I think there’s a non-phone alternative. Both my parents use phones primarily for calls or text chat (WhatsApp / Facebook Messenger) – my dad had to upgrade his phone last year when WhatsApp stopped supported the version he was on.

Before the pandemic, I had an issue in certain workplaces (e.g. NHSD) that required you to be able to access the internet to download the drivers you needed to access their network. Not a problem if you’ve got a smartphone and can turn it into a hotspot (I asked a colleague), but otherwise a bit of a catch-22! I hit this one afterwards at a different office, when somebody offered to email me the Wi-Fi password.