I have spent my career in IT and dealing with obsolescence. I agree with you, @Philreedshikes although I wouldn't mark it as completely obsolete yet.

I usually call this the "Fresh Cut Christmas Tree" effect: A freshly cut Christmas tree is a dead tree but it hasn't finished dying yet. With infusion of water and nutrients, you can slow down the dying process but the tree's eventual demise is assured.

I think this is where we're at with traditional handheld GPS units. Items like the InReach and others have definitely sped up the downfall of GPS units but I suspect that even those devices will become less attractive within five years and here's why: this pandemic has created a lot of new outdoor enthusiasts who are hiking, backpacking, camping, running, etc. Try to find a new tent or kayak. Or, just for fun, try to find a decent camper (used or new) right now.

The point is this - with all these people now exploring the outdoors, they're typically wanting to take their phones with them because they've likely never thought about physical maps, GPS communicators, etc. They have their phone and have probably "discovered" that they have built-in GPS. So they will create a demand for apps and functionality within their phone instead of carrying a second device. Even the existing community of hikers and backpackers want the same thing because one less device is shedding some weight.

Google and Apple will respond and start building in the ability to communicate the same way that you can with the InReach. I remember a few years ago when Apple came out with iMessage - unlimited texting that circumvented your carrier's text plan. So they've already done it with that and they'll figure out how to add GPS communication (and charge for the service).

And this should happen - look what it's done for GPS in the car. When was the last time you saw an actual GPS unit instead of a smartphone mounted on the dash? Now it's the handheld's turn.

All the functionality of the older GPS units with greater location accuracy and high-definition screen to show where you are on the map built into the same lightweight device that has my camera (both video and stills), my music, a book to read while camping at night, and lets me order a pizza to my hotel room after coming off trail so I don't have to go out and offend non-hikers with my "eau du trail" cologne?

I still take paper maps because they don't have a battery that will die but my having my phone has become critical. In fact, I would suggest that the smartphone become part of the "10 essentials" that get carried all the time.

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

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