05 Sep 2017
10 Years Later: 10 Things iPhone Changed
Do you know someone with an iPhone? If you said no, then you’re lying to yourself. It’s likely that you’ve got an iPhone at arm’s reach as you’re reading this and if it’s not an iPhone, it’s a device that was heavily influenced by it. It’s hard to imagine what life was like before our world with touch screen devices that are essentially full-fledged computers in our pockets. These days, anything you can do on your computer, you can likely do on your mobile device.
It was just 10 years ago when Blackberry was dominating the smartphone market that was filled with phones with built-in keyboards that took up nearly half the front of the device. When the iPhone was announced in January 2007 it changed the way smartphones looked and everything else as well. Have a look at the pre-iPhone smartphones on the market and you’ll see that they’re vastly different to the smartphones after the iPhone was originally released. There’s a common theme about most phones released after 2007, the keyboard and buttons are replaced with a single sheet of glass that acts as the buttons, keyboard and overall user interface. The device shaped the mobile industry and help create brand new ones as well.
Check out the video below to watch the original announcement of the iPhone by Steve Jobs and see just how far we’ve come in the ten years since that fateful day. The iPhone was not just a phone, Steve Jobs said, it was a “revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device.”
The way phones look in 2017 is not the only thing the iPhone influenced. The effects of the original release of the iPhone and its ongoing developments to the device are more far-reaching. On the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, we look at 10 things the iPhone changed.
1. Smartphone Design
Apple did not invent the smartphone, but it did reinvent what the smartphone was. No matter how you feel about Apple, you can’t deny that Apple paved the way for the modern smartphone era. As we had mentioned earlier, smartphones in the era before the iPhone were vastly different to the ones we see today. The addition of a touch screen on the iPhone set a path for other mobile phone manufacturers to follow. Samsung, who’s been making mobile phones for decades, went in a completely different direction after the iPhone was released. Their popular Galaxy line was directly influenced by the iPhone – gone were the number keys, the keyboard and introduced was a single sheet of glass, the touch screen. And while Samsung is now pushing the boundaries of the smartphone (quite literally removing the bezels of their new Galaxy S8 devices), it was Apple that helped get them to where they are today.
2. The App Store
Apple introduced their mobile software marketplace, the App Store, a year after the original release of the iPhone. It was launched alongside the iPhone 3G, the phone that helped pave the way for next generation cellular networks. The App Store and a full-screen touch panel allowed developers to create what their hearts desired and although games were present on the majority of smartphones, they were unlike anything we have today. The App Store helped create new businesses, industries and some healthy competition. Google subsequently launched their own marketplace, the Play Store, for the Android-based devices. Development teams began to shift their focus from PCs and on to mobile devices. The cumulative revenue for downloads and in-app purchases on the App Store and Play Store reached $15 billion USD in Q1 2017. Any idea you may ponder up and there’s an App for that.
3. Mobile Internet
Apple put the internet in everyone’s pocket. The original iPhone was launched with Safari, its popular web browser, pre-installed. It let users browse full websites instead of stripped-down versions seen on other mobile devices at that time. Steve Jobs was adamant about not supporting flash websites and content on the iPhone due to poor battery life, security and performance issues and he was right in doing so as it pushed development of HTML5 content. After the iPhone launch, developers focused on improving the experience for mobile users. Many sites nowadays take a mobile-first development approach looking at the UI and UX of their mobile site ahead of the desktop counterpart. In late 2016, mobile web browsing overtook desktop browsing for the first time. The advent of the iPhone and the technologies and advancements that followed changed how we communicate with data and all this data usage has forced the development of newer and more powerful data networks. The iPhone launched on 2G/Edge, but later adopted 3G and 4G LTE - in the coming years we should have next generation 5G devices with further improved capability and speed.
Your old flip-phone had a camera, but today’s smartphones sport high-quality cameras allowing just about anyone to be a photographer. The original iPhone came with 2.0-megapixel camera, outmatching its competition at the time. Since then, smartphones cameras have become better and better. The App Store has also seen its share of photo sharing and editing apps – Instagram is a popular option for those looking to display their creations. The majority of digital photos are now taken by a smartphone and there’s no surprise digital camera sales have been in decline.
Phones were invented to communicate across long distances, but phones these days, ironically, have all but eliminated the need for phone calls. It’s quicker and easier to send a text message, an iMessage, a Facebook message, a WhatsApp message – or a message of any type than it is to call someone. We have various social media platforms that we use to keep contact with friends and family. We speak in shortened text, with Emojis and with images instead of full and complete sentences.
6. Music & Video
The iPod introduced us to iTunes – an online marketplace for music and video content. It transformed the way we download and listen to our content and then the iPhone took it the next step further. Before the iPhone, most people had to carry around their phone and an MP3 player such as the iPod. One was a dedicated communications device and another was a dedicated music player. And although phones were able to play music before the iPhone it was cumbersome. The iPhone integrated the features of the iPod which meant having two separate devices would be a thing of the past. It seamlessly blended your already vast music library into your phone. Music streaming has also since been introduced by Apple and several other companies – something that likely would not be possible in a world without smartphones.
Candy Crush. Pokémon GO. Clash of Clans. Angry Birds. Do any of these names ring a bell? If you haven’t played them, you’ve likely heard of them. The mobile gaming industry is massive and again it’s thanks to the app stores and the freedom developers have in creating apps or games for the masses. Even if you aren’t a dedicated gamer playing Xbox or PlayStation, you’re still able to enjoy games on your mobile device. Simple controls that can be easily picked up by anyone and addictive gameplay has made gamers out of all of us.
8. How We Work
Prior to the iPhone, Blackberry was the go-to device for businesses and their employees. It had a built-in hardware keyboard and access to emails on-the-go. Nowadays, although email is great to have on your mobile, and it works way better than it had in the past, there are other applications that the iPhone introduced to the world of business. Just about everyone has a touchscreen device that enables them to download apps and connect to the internet, meaning they can be connected to all their usual work applications including enterprise software. At Mane, our consultants are provided with their own smartphone to remain connected while on-the-go and we have access to our CRM right at our fingertips and away from our desks.
9. Anything We Need
The iPhone, along with the App Store allowed for the development of any app imaginable. New businesses and business models have been created as a result. The on-demand economy is striving, all thanks to mobile devices. We’re familiar with the likes of Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb, but these are just a few of the many new platforms popping up each and every day. The on-demand market is a convenience we could not have had prior to the iPhone. On your mobile device, you can book a place to stay using the Airbnb app, use Uber to get you there and then order a meal on Deliveroo that will arrive at the doorstep to your Airbnb. How did we get here? Anything we need, we can have it. Inside your Airbnb, you can even get onto Tinder and potentially set up a date for the night. This has disrupted established industries, but also developed and created new ones all together.
Apple was an entirely different company before the iPhone. The date iPhone was revealed Apple also dropped ‘Computer’ from their official title to become simply Apple, Inc. With the name change came a number of other changes as well in the next 10 years. Apple was no longer just a computer manufacturer, and it hadn’t been for a while. In 2006, Apple’s revenue sources included the iPod (40%), Macs (38%) and everything else (22%) totalling $19 billion USD. Last year, Apple’s revenue was at $216 billion USD with iPhone pulling in 63% of the total whereas iPod is now a part of the ‘other’ category at a mere 5%. The iPhone cannibalized the sales of the iPod, the once dominant category of Apple’s product line, but in turn helped make Apple the world’s most valuable company. The iPod, while still alive in the iPod Touch, is dwindling and will eventually disappear entirely from Apple’s lineup. The iPhone however, continues to grow and as does Apple. With the tenth anniversary of the iPhone upon us, what does Apple have in-store for its most successful product in its history? And although Apple has recently been criticised for not innovating, we’ll find out in early September where the next generation of iPhone takes us.
It's estimated that Apple has cash reserves exceeding $250 billion USD. With the excess cash, Apple has made its fair share of acquisitions picking up patents and trademarks along the way. They've even built a brand new HQ called Apple Park that cost over $5 billion USD to design and build.
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