If you know the iPhone and the hype it generates, it is because, in 2007, Apple decided to drastically change how we perceived our most used gadget. The mobile phone. In a time when phones were categorised on their needs and physical input buttons were dominant, Apple took a bold move with their first generation iPhone, and in turn, revolutionised the term ‘Smartphone’.
Touch screen panels existed during the iPhone launch but most of them had resistive touch inputs. Steve Jobs was adamant on a capacitive touch screen display for the iPhone and with features like kinetic scrolling, multitouch and others. The world soon transcended from button inputs to touch inputs or both.
Before the iPhone, the mobile phone market was dominated by Nokia, Blackberry, Sony, Motorola and other brands. Nokia had products in every shape and size, Blackberry was considered a corporate product and Sony phones were pioneers at music and camera technologies. Initially, iPhone lacked the intensive feature list of other specialised phones apart from a large display featuring a good touch input.
The iPhone began its true dominance when Apple introduced the App Store. You may agree that your phone is only as smart as the software and apps on it. The App Store model is what everyone follows, even today.
Why should you be excited about the iPhone’s 10th Anniversary?
When you think about it, ever since the iPhone was released 10 years ago, the average mobile phone imitates every iteration of Apple’s iPhone. From design to performance, the iPhone is considered as a benchmark for most other phones.
The original iPhone had a 3.5-inch display with a 480 x 320-pixel resolution running on a 2G network. And yet, it changed everything about mobile phones.
And why should it not be? From chamfered metal edges on the iPhone 5, Touch ID on the iPhone 5s to a smooth and consistent user interface, Apple leads the hardware and software quality innovation game. Ten years since its introduction, many other manufacturers have drawn inspiration and raised the benchmark.
Where these manufacturers lack, is the software. Google releases their latest Android OS every year. But, Android phone makers fail to bring these latest updates to their smartphone customers as early as Google does for its own phones. Thus, Android versions are all over the place and so is compatibility with apps, thanks to hundreds of hardware makers.
Apple has both the hardware and software in control. They still support their 4-year-old phones with software updates. It would not be wrong to say that iPhones have indirectly made other phones better. Samsung and LG took inspirations, but have surpassed Apple in hardware and feature innovations by some extent.
This has turned the tide. Apple now has to compete with some of the best handheld phones that contest for a podium position. The next few years are crucial for a phone considered as a benchmark for the latest and greatest in its segment.
How could it go?
To be blunt, you should be critical and optimistic at the same time. Critical, as Apple is notoriously known to make bold moves (ahem, headphone jack!). If that was not enough, there are rumours about supply issues on essential display tech. Optimistic, as their list of patents is one of the most interesting ones in the tech realm.
From the rumours and leaks, this year we might have to settle with fewer changes. Apple is struggling with hardware suppliers and hence, all the mind blowing features might not be loaded on this iteration of the iPhone. Yet, if there is any design or feature change, expect everyone else to follow a similar approach. That said, the next couple of years could bring a revolution in smartphone technology, we have been dreaming about. And the iPhone will surely be one of the torch bearers.
Apple’s smartphone has been consistent when it comes to quality hardware and software. We expect the legacy to continue. Though innovations have taken a hit since Steve Jobs’ demise. Will the current flag bearers bring back the glory this phone once commanded? Time shall reveal.
We live in interesting times
For now, be excited even if you love Android over iOS. From feature list to design standardisation, the next iPhone could be considered as the inspiration for your next smartphone. In its tenth year, Apple will try to bring many goodies in this metal and glass gadget. This year will mark an important step in smartphone evolution and we are indirectly a part of this.