The Phone That Changed The World
The Apple iPhone turned 10 in January. At its launch in 2007, Apple boss Steve Jobs said: “Apple is going to reinvent the phone.”How right he was.
It is hard to overstate the impact the iPhone has had over the past 10 years, here we look at 10 ways the iPhone has changed our daily lives.
1. No More Tiny Keyboards
It is hard to remember just how strange the first iPhone looked. A sleek rectangle with a glass face, it took your breath away. But wait, where’s the keyboard?
On a media tour to promote the first iPhone a journalist complained to Steve Jobs that the virtual keyboard didn’t work and he kept making typos. “The keyboard’s too small for my thumbs,” he said. Jobs replied, smiling: “Your thumbs will learn.” And they did.
2. Internet On The Move
We are now online 24/7. No more logging on and waiting for the dial-up tone (remember that sound!) and then loading Internet Explorer or Firefox. If you want the news, the sports results or to settle an argument, it’s all there in your pocket.
The iPhone made browsing on the move accessible for the first time. And then someone thought of something to make life on the move easier still – apps.
The first iPhone didn’t have apps and there was no app store. Apps didn’t appear until the iPhone 3G came along in July 2008, where you had access to 500 apps. Since then, apps have been downloaded more than 10 billion times and generated more than $3bn for Apple.
Where would we be without apps? Still trying to hail a cab in the rain probably, as there would be no Uber. And, we would have no one to share our distress with as we wouldn’t have Instagram or Snapchat.
It’s true, there were cameras on phones before the iPhone came along. But, where the iPhone made a difference is with apps like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you can share photos so easily.
But it was how people used their phones to take photos that became a social phenomenon. The first front facing camera appeared on the iPhone 4 in 2010, and from there the selfie exploded. It is estimated that 12 trillion digital photos will be taken in 2017, 85% of them on mobile phones.
Remember those bulky camcorders people used to lug around? Now, that camcorder is your phone. That in itself is astounding (to anyone over the age of about 30, anyway).
Cisco estimates that by 2019, 80% of internet traffic will be video. Much of this will be live streamed through platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope. Facebook boasted eight billion daily videos as of November 2015, the latest available figures.
The most downloaded app in the first year of the app store was a game: Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D. That has since been eclipsed by the likes of Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and the Candy Crush Saga. Between them, these have been downloaded billions of times and, admit it, wasted countless hours.
If the iPhone is the gadget of the century, the iPod can make a good shout for second place. Launched in 2001 with the slogan ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’, it was the product that set Apple on the road to superstardom.
Before the launch of the iPhone and the iPad, the iPod was responsible for 48% of its revenue. Now it is little more than a footnote. The iPhone does everything the iPod can do, plus a lot more. The iPhone has all but killed its big brother.
Text messages used to be stored on phones as individual files. It could be a time-consuming hassle, as you had to open a whole series of files one by one to follow a conversation. Then the iPhone came along and introduced threaded messages. You could see a whole conversation in one place. It’s a feature that has been mimicked by WhatsApp and saves valuable time, every day.
Cash is no longer king. It’s not quite in its death knell but Apple is doing its best. You can use Apple Pay on your phone to pay with your debit and credit cards wherever contactless payments are accepted. You don’t need to get your wallet out, just your phone. You can even use it to replace your Oyster Card on the tube.
10. Everything Else
If the iPhone was 100 we would still struggle to put in everything we use it for and all the items it has made redundant.
Here are a few more: alarm clocks, books, step counters, compasses, maps, calculators, flashlights, the radio. We could go on.
If only they could get the battery to last a little longer…