Apple: The iPhone turns 10
On June 29, 2007, the original iPhone hit stores for the first time, said Mike Murphy in Qz.com. Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, touted the phone as revolutionary, and it created a consumer sensation, with “people camped outside Apple stores to pick one up.” But “no one could’ve guessed” at the time just how right Jobs was. Ten years and 1 billion iPhones later, the device’s “impact has been clear.” It has singularly “upended how we communicate,” put the internet “into the pockets of billions,” and inspired countless copycats and competitors. It’s also made Apple into one of the richest companies of all time.
“In hindsight, there is only before and after the iPhone,” said Lisa Eadicicco in Time.com. The mobile device you owned before 2007 probably had a simple camera, a calendar, and a few basic apps and games, with a clunky numeric keyboard. The iPhone introduced “two very important concepts that would remain at the core of mobile computers for years to come: the touch screen and the App Store.” When Apple allowed thirdparty developers to begin building iPhone apps in 2008, it created a $70 billion industry and paved the way for our ability to summon a car, share disappearing photos, and send money with a couple of thumb taps. “The Ubers, Snapchats, and Venmos of the world wouldn’t exist without smartphones, and the iPhone was and remains the category’s foundation.”
Today, the iPhone’s dominance is Apple’s biggest weakness, said Matt Weinberger in BusinessInsider.com. “So much of the company’s fortunes are tied up in the iPhone that it can’t just up and move to whatever the next big thing turns out to be.” Meanwhile, the likes of Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon are furiously working to figure out what the successor to the smartphone will be. Augmented reality goggles, for instance, might one day replace our pocket computers. “Why carry a separate phone if your texts and games are projected straight into your field of vision?”
“I’m not sure if the world changed for the better with the iPhone—or merely changed,” said Timothy Egan in The New York Times. Smartphones were supposed to help create freer, more educated societies by putting the world’s knowledge in the palms of our hands. “But the failure of the Arab Spring, and the continued suppression of ideas in North Korea, China, and Iran, has not borne that out.” The iPhone has also made us more narcissistic, and it’s impossible to sit for more than a few hours without our fingers twitching for a screen. “Daydreaming has become a lost art.” Sure, it’s an impressive gadget. But let’s ask ourselves on this 10th anniversary, “Has the device that is perhaps the most revolutionary of all time given us a single magnificent idea?” ■