By Prashansa Srivastava
Ten years ago, June 29th, 2007, was a milestone in the history of computing: it was the launch of the first iPhone. As the late Steve Jobs best put it, it was “An iPod. A Phone. And an Internet communicator.” Since 2007, Apple has sold more than 1.2 billion iPhones and has become the most profitable public company in the world. Moreover, it has sparked a mobile revolution and changed how people access the Internet.
How the iPhone changed the world
In the decade that followed, the iPhone triggered a societal shift. It led to a world of ubiquitous connectivity and ushered in an era of apps, emojis, selfies, instant connections.
With the launch of the App Store in 2008, the need to open internet browsers was removed. The App Store is what made the iPhone a must-have device. Launched with just 500 apps, there are now 2.1 million on the App Store and 3.4 million on its Android competitor Google Play.
With users’ needs to personalise their phones, the iPhone has expanded the market for mobile accessories. Consumers now invest heavily on headphones, charging docks and phone cases. Touchscreens that were once rare have now been incorporated in everything—even refrigerators. The iPhone brought the touch screen into mainstream use, virtually killing the physical keyboard. The touchscreen also spawned games like Angry Birds and Pokémon GO.
Menace of iPhones
This increasing addiction has led to the coining of a new term “smombies”, or zombies on smartphones. Socialising, which used to be a non-media activity, now mostly occurs on social media and over mobile connections. Concerns of privacy and cyber-bullying are rising. The iPhone has also been linked to the rise in hyperactivity disorder and short attention spans in kids.
The technical capabilities of modern phones and the ingenuity of apps are formidable. However, in the past decade, the smartphone has become the most vivid example of how technology can be both inspiring and disillusioning.
What the future holds
Ten years ago no one could have imagined that the Apple iPhone would become the most influential consumer gadget that could transform human culture. However, with a projected growth of just 3% per year through 2021, the massive wave that Apple rode over the past decade has crested and is now washing out. But one new emerging category offers the potential for massive growth: augmented and virtual reality headsets.
Expected headset growth is set to hit a compounded annual growth rate of 198% by 2020 and Apple does not want to be left behind. Apple’s new ARKit—a framework to create high quality augmented reality experiences for the iPhone and iPad—will blend digital objects with the physical environment and take apps beyond the screen. Apple’s advantage lies in their promise to combine the convenience of the daily phone with the appeal of advanced AR.
The iPhone and all the devices it’s inspired in the decade since its inception have gone beyond “convenience” to “lifeline.” Here’s to a decade of the iPhone and the revolution it has stirred. May the next 10 years be as revolutionary as the first.
Featured Image Source: Pexels