Ten Years On, Why The iPhone Really Did Change Everything

Exactly ten years ago today, Steve Jobs teased audiences by saying he was about to unveil ‘a revolutionary product that changes everything.’ The first iPhone was born, and the rest is history, but what can we learn from how the new gadget was received by the world that got to eventually love typing and swiping on glass instead of a physical keypad.

Anyone that remembers the days when an Apple keynote was an exciting mouthwatering event will probably have fond memories of the moment where it all began. This kind of interaction was unheard of at the time, and set a new precedent that many would attempt to mimic but seldom succeed.

As we began getting to grips with GPS, threaded text messages, pinch to zoom and the birth of the app store, it seemed the concept of a smartphone was sprouting right before our eyes.

We know that change is the only constant in life, but that does not stop consumers and businesses from being fearful of the unknown. On the other hand, swimming against the tide is possibly just as risky as following everyone else.

Not everyone was convinced that the iPhone would be a success. These skeptics however, were about to experience a rude awakening. Do you recall those consumers that proudly declared their BlackBerry to be the absolute best for e-mail?

In fact Steve Ballmer mocked the release of the $500 iPhone stating it didn’t even have a keyboard! And then Microsoft itself ended up having a chain of expensive fiascos from the Zune to the Windows Phone.

Anyway, it’s hard to imagine how different our life was just a few years ago.

We happily ate our food instead of taking photos of it, we lived in and enjoyed the moment than try to record or frenziedly stream to our friends and followers. But before we look at the past through rose-tinted glasses and ruminate about battery life that lasted longer than a day, let us not deny the fact that the iPhone really did change everything.

I am sure you can remember the days where phones required an almost secret combination of button presses just to navigate menus. The introduction of a touch interface aimed to simplify everything and most importantly, just work. Apple will always infuriate the hardcore techies that want unfiltered and unpoliced independence to create and integrate with their ecosystem, something that Android has had at its core. However, it’s making life easy for those outside of the tech community, that has been Apple’s greatest métier.

Critics are often baffled by the almost religious fervor that surrounds Apple products. Many also blame the rise of smartphones for causing more harm than good from a cultural and sociological perspective. In fact, I recently wrote this piece titled Are Digital Devices the Modern Cocaine Infecting Our Kids’ Lives – Literally? that was fervently supported by LinkedIn’s readers. So there is a sentiment here that is not unfounded.

However, let’s not forget how easy it has become to communicate with anybody on earth. We can now seamlessly share, collaborate, communicate and video call almost anyone regardless of their location. We can hire people for remote work from any part of the world via our Smartphones that have also helped tear down geographical barriers and stereotypes.

Phone packages with unlimited texts and minutes have become the norm as their importance has become increasingly irrelevant in a world of free iMessage, WhatsApp and Wi-Fi Calling. Meanwhile, at this year’s Adobe Digital Summit in Las Vegas, Brad Rencher, EVP highlighted how the least interesting thing we can now do with our phones is to make a call.

Today in 2017, we are clearly suffering from a perpetual fear of missing out and are incapable of going longer than thirty seconds without some stimulation from our phones, those little things that store basically our entire life. So what is next big thing for the iPhone?

Many believe that Apple has lost their way and forgotten how to be truly innovative. Smartphone stagnation also suggests that we have grown tired of gimmicks designed to make us upgrade when all we want is longer battery and a device whose screen doesn’t scratch or crack at the drop of a hat.

Rumor suggests we can expect to say goodbye to the home button in favor of a larger screen. But the biggest talking point seems to be around its name being either the iPhone 10, X, 8 or Pro which quite frankly, leaves little room for excitement.

The days of any smartphone being revolutionary feel like distant memory. Will Neural Tools Kill Our Phones – For Good? Will Mark Zuckerberg Exterminate the Smartphone? I mean, at this year’s F8, Zuckerberg offered a vision of the future with Facebook at the center of a project to “bring people closer together,” to remove barriers, and to overcome the polarization that so blights our society. Step one? Get rid of the smartphone. Zuckerberg plans to displace the smartphone with Augmented Reality (AR) glasses.

Maybe HoloLens inventor and in-house futurist Alex Kipman got it right when he said: “The phone is already dead, people just haven’t realized”.

Did you own the first iPhone? Or did you hang on to your Nokia N95 until the 2nd generation release? Share your stories by below.

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