iPhone Turns 10; A Look at How It’s Grown Up

The iPhone is a ten year old or, as my old neighbor Larry would say: “It’s two whole handfuls.” Considering the size of the latest version of the smartphone that changed the world, Larry’s not far off. 

On June 29, 2007, Apple started the smartphone revolution. In that decade, the company has sold over 1 billion iPhones. It had some bumps along the way, however. 

The first iPhone didn’t have a physical keyboard and people didn’t quite know what to think of that. It launched without an app store which is impossible to even try to imagine. It was also available exclusively to AT&T customers. You can buy today’s models for almost the same price as the original (before Apple had to cut prices to make some sales) but you have a lot more carrier options to choose from. 

In fact, that first year, Apple had to dramatically cut the price of its first cell-phone computer to try to boost sales. Things didn’t really take off until the App Store was launched in 2008. 

It has since ousted Blackberry as the leading “smartphone” and now has primary competition from Samsung and Google Androids, some of which make the “hot” trending news postings for all the wrong reasons

The first iPhone offered the choice between 4 and 8 gigabytes of storage with current offerings peaking at 256 gigabytes. 

You couldn’t send any photos you took with the first iPhone and you had to find good lighting because there was no flash for the camera feature. It also had no video feature and the front-facing, selfie-phenomenon-instigating camera didn’t come until 2010 and the iPhone 4. 

You were lucky if the battery lasted for 5 hours of talk time; iPhone 7 Plus boasts 21 hours of talk time. 

Though it hasn’t been quite long enough for consumers to forget the headphone jack in the wake of Apple’s new wireless, bluetooth concept, in a way the fact that the first iPhone had such a place to plug in your headphones (that wasn’t also inconveniently where you had to plug in the charger) does make such a feature seem a bit more antiquated. 

The next installment of the iPhone is promising more 3D capabilities, a more more intuitive and user-friendly operating system, including easier multi-tasking according to beta testers. It is also supposed to have wireless charging, though don’t ask me how that’ll work. 

Most excitingly, the next iPhone is going to be equipped with Augmented Reality features, the kind made popular by the viral Pokemon Go app. With iOS 11/iPhone 8 you can use a virtual tape measure to measure objects in the physical world or maneuver a piece of furniture you haven’t bought yet around your room to see if it fits. Or you can use your camera to find information about landmarks around you without having to open Safari and wait for a search engine or GoogleMaps to figure out where you are and what you’re looking at. 

It is estimated that over 2 billion people in the world use smartphones today. One former Apple developer who studies marketing analytics told Reuters: “Being able to democratize computing and communication across the entire world is absolutely astounding.” He added that that was what iPhone creator Steve Jobs was trying to do with his Mac computers and other creations. “It warms my heart because that’s something Steve tried to do…[and] it’s finally here, 30 years later.”

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