From Morse code to Marimba: The noisy history of technology alerts

Since we invented communications devices, we've had to come up with ways they can let us know we should pay attention to them. Based on what we see in the world today, maybe they do too good a job.
  • 1 of 12

Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Last year, New Yorkers trying to enjoy an evening at the Philharmonic were instead subjected to the seemingly unstoppable sound of the iPhone's iconic Marimba ringtone, which went on so long that conductor Alan Gilbert had to stop the performance. Could such a weird moment have been predicted back when the ironically named Alexander Graham Bell first (supposedly) invented the telephone? Let's take a look back at the history of communication alert sounds to see how it came to this.

Return to slideshow
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies