MANILA — When the late Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in 2007, his goal was to capture just 1 percent of the mobile phone market the following year with what he called a “revolutionary product” that “changes everything.”
Expensive (up to $599 at that time) and available in limited quantities, it took a couple of years, crossing into the next decade, for the iPhone to disrupt how humans interacted with technology.
As the iPhone went mainstream, other devices followed its lead, swapping physical keyboards for a large touchscreen and functioning as both a productivity and entertainment device. In the process, Apple’s marquee device slayed Blackberry, Nokia and Palm.
More than a coveted piece of tech, the iPhone, and the smartphones it inspired, became springboards for computing to shift from desktop to mobile, and with it, millions of apps for nearly everything from booking plane tickets and vacation homes, gorging on streaming music and video, and finding love and hookups.
Thirteen years since the first iPhone keynote, Jobs’ words endure as portents of the 2010s, the decade when humans had the internet at their fingertips, literally.
“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”
And that’s what the iPhone did, turn a utilitarian communications device into coveted jewelry that you seemingly can’t live without and have to replace almost every year.
In the early 2000s, accidentally leaving your phone at home wasn’t a problem. In the decade that followed, leaving it on purpose means a much-needed detox.
“What we want to do is make a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has ever been and super easy to use. This is what iPhone is.”
The first iPhone only had 4 buttons (5 if you count the mute switch). It went down to 3 when Apple killed the home button on 2017’s iPhone X.
The iPhone is simple and intuitive, so much so that it doesn’t come with a manual. It made technology accessible by making it easier.
“Software on mobile phones is like baby software. It’s not powerful. Today, we’re gonna show you a software breakthrough. Software that’s at least 5 years ahead of what’s on any other phone.”
Unlike smartphones before it, the iPhone was built to stand alone, not as an accompaniment to a laptop or desktop computer. It had none of the “crippled stuff you find on most phones,” Jobs said.
Smartphones allowed people to work and play using just one device. It was not without its bugs, however, as the first iPhone lacked a basic: copy and paste.
“We’ve designed something wonderful in your hand. Just wonderful.”
The iPhone is a status symbol and Apple upgrades it annually (the internals at least on ‘S’ years), calling on its faithful to buy the latest model.
In the Philippines, look no further than Greenhills, the boneyard of pre-loved tech, to see how people are changing smartphone models like they do their clothes.
“This is an application we’ve written to deliver apps to the iPhone and we’re going to put it on the every single iPhone with the next release of software… We think this is pretty cool.”
While not in the original iPhone keynote, Jobs’ description of the Apple App Store as “pretty cool” was an understatement. The app marketplace was as revolutionary as the device that hosts it.
Without the App Store, and Play Store on phones powered by Google’s Android, consumers will have no one-stop shop to download Instagram, Telegram, Airbnb and Netflix.
“This is a revolution of the first order. To bring the real internet to your phone.”
Before the iPhone wave, web pages on mobile were inferior to their desktop counterparts — slow and bare bones.
In the smartphone decade, consumers harnessed the power of the internet on their mobile devices.
“We’ve also got stuff you can’t see.”
Jobs demonstrated the practicality of invisible tech with the iPhone, how the screen turns off automatically when sensors detect that it’s placed on the ear when making calls.
Much of what smartphones can do is invisible, like how Angkas detects your location and matches you with a motor taxi driver.
Google and Huawei are heavy on Artificial Intelligence (AI), automatically adjusting photos even before it appears on the user’s gallery and adapting battery usage to how the owner uses the device.
“I’d like to order 4,000 lattes to go please. No, just kidding. Wrong number. Thank you.”
Jobs prank-called a Starbucks store in San Francisco as he displayed the location mapping and phone-number-matching capability of the iPhone.
Today, not only can we order food using our phones, we can also choose the delivery service. In the Philippines alone, there’s Grab and Food Panda.
“There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love: I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. We always tried to do that at Apple since the very, very beginning and we always will.”
The 2010 decade ended with manufacturers looking to the next step in design like folding displays, to little mainstream success. Apple, Samsung and Huawei are also offering connected devices like earphones, watches and speakers.
From 2020, device makers and carriers will begin rolling out 5G, which promises to switch computing to the “internet of things” with ultra fast and stable connections.
Apple, iPhone, Steve Jobs, smartphone, consumer technology, app, Blackberry, Nokia, Palm