“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” said Steve Jobs during his keynote at the Macworld Expo 2007.
True to his words, he stood on the stage and announced the launch of a new smartphone that was soon going to revolutionize the industry and take the world by storm. The original iPhone had an app ecosystem and its responsive touch-based user interface meant that a physical keyboard was not needed anymore. Its large 3.5-inch display was unique among phones at that time.
Born out of a grudge that Jobs had with an employee at Microsoft, the iPhone was marketed as a device performing three, hitherto, separate functions. It was a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; as well as an Internet communications device. Jobs and his Project Purple team secretly worked on the iPhone for more than two-and-a-half years to come up with a device miles ahead of best-selling phones of the time such as the Motorola Razr, Sony Ericsson and BlackBerry.
By 2017, Apple has gone on to sell more than 1 billion phones, raked in record-breaking profits and made itself one of the most recognized companies in the world. The company is now worth twice as much as the oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil and thrice as much as General Electric.
How has the iPhone changed over the years?
The iPhone has slowly evolved over the years. It has become slimmer, its processor has become faster and more advanced, and the screen size has increased.
Now long after its release, iPhone featured a front facing camera and a retina display and came in a body of stainless steel and glass.
Then Apple launched its voice assistant, Siri, and put the phone in a new glass and aluminum casing. New colors – such as gold, space grey and rose gold – were introduced and the phone included a Touch ID and fingerprint scanner. Eventually, the design became more curved and featured a pressure sensitive display.
Apple even made the unpopular decision to remove the headphone jack. iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were water-resistant and the mechanical home button was replaced by a static version that was force sensitive. The iPhone, as we see it today, has replaced many everyday items and become the most essential gadget you own. It is now a flashlight, stopwatch, GPS device, high quality camera, camcorder, newspaper, an e-wallet and a TV – all in one device.
10th Anniversary iPhone
Now, 10-years after the iPhone was launched, Apple is set to bring out its much awaited anniversary iPhone. Despite the company remaining tight-lipped about the new iPhone 8, it is rumored to have a glass body that will enable Apple to move towards long-range wireless charging. It could have an edge-to-edge screen with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, making its screen size 5.8 inches. Apple is rumored to have built its Touch ID beneath the glass screen, something not even Samsung has been able to do yet. The company might include new features such as iris scanning or 3D sensors in the vertical rear camera to provide augmented reality capabilities.
Meanwhile, where Apple was once “five years ahead of anything on any other phone,” several of the company’s competitors have already come out with new smartphones at the same level or, in some instances, ahead of iPhone in some benchmarks. Recently, the OnePlus 5 phone beat iPhone 7 in a speed test.
Today, it remains to be seen whether Apple can still reinvent the phone.