We had the eldest son and his family up on holiday and all they do is take snaps on their phones. I took a selection of shots on my A77. The difference in quality at pixel level is quite marked however for web use (Facebook etc) they don't need any better. When they want a nice photo print for the wall, they have to come to me for one of mine as theirs are not good enough
Mike, in a nutshell you spelled out what's happening today. Photography - real photography, like that requiring a DSLR, - is not dead, but neither is it on the rise as we once thought.
People who are serious about photos, whether for advertizing, art, personal enjoyment, whatever, are still using high end tools to take photos of good quality.
What we photographers fail to see is that the rest of the world aren't taking photos, their taking snapshots. No, no photo snapshots, but 'snapshots' of time to record and share their memories with others. While this has always been done to some extent - the vacation photos - in the new connected world everyone wants to immediately share their life with everyone else. (Obviously, we have too much free time on our hands!)
Until the rise of the adequate quality camera-phone, this role was fulfilled by the DSLR, bridge camera, or compact, and we (photographers, in the traditional sense) thought
we were seeing a real rise in peoples interest in photography. We weren't, we were seeing a rise in the interest to mass communicate to the world the cute things our, children, dogs, cats, neighbors, etc., did today, that we used to do by talking about it on the phone or at a coffee klatch. And, also to preserve, like the vacation photos, a visual record of what we had done or places we had seen. There's not the real interest in photography for the sake of photography, but that digital photography makes it easy to do what they never could before.
We of course have reaped the benefits of it for a while, and will continue to do so on some level. Sensor development for one. In the past, people were willing to pay big money to buy a bridge camera of a good compact to take these snaps, but now it's integrate into the all-purpose devise that we call a smart phone. So much so of a multipurpose device that I wonder if the next iteration of Star Trek won't have to combine the Tri-corder with the Communicator!
As people transition from 'real' cameras to phone cams, the cost of DSLRs and accessories will increase as demand decreases, and the Golden Era of Digital Photography slowly fades away.
A couple of a350's, an a700 and now an a580, plus even more lenses.