Ten years ago today the world’s most valuable company gave birth to the handset that would define an entire generation of technology and become the most sought after device in the world.
Apple celebrates a decade of design innovation when back in 2007 they unveiled their first iteration of this now modern classic to the collective uproar of critics and audiences globally.
It’s hard to imagine, but ten years ago the world was still getting used to the idea of a mobile computing unit that could demonstrate capabilities beyond basic text and simplistic mobile games.
Yet from the bowels of the design-forward powerhouse that brought us the most utilized mp3 player of the 2000s would the marriage between music, cellular capabilities, and a personal assistant combined in the most unique package in the phone industry.
Nearly overnight, the iPhone would completely shatter the known realms of the tech industry.
At every juncture, Apple raised the bar, dominating the competition, and hammering the nails in BlackBerry’s coffin.
The establishment of the mobile gaming industry left Apple shaping how millennials would interact.
No longer would companies like Nintendo reign supreme in mobile, and now ten years later even the century-old gaming company, Nintendo has changed its rigorous and strict tone towards mobile and found a new home on the App Store.
So much has changed globally since the first iteration of the iPhone. Now all phones are smart.
The establishment of social media is solely dependent on the proliferation of mobile computing.
The entire music industry has expanded and changed from purchasing to streaming, and the inclusion of a high-power camera has turned the world into amateur photographers.
Nearly 12 versions and 7 generations later the iPhone is the predominant smartphone today, and despite other companies flourishing within the mobile industry, it’s obvious to say that Apple is the true originator of smartphone design.
But what made Apple’s ascension so powerful?
Surely some of it comes down to the novelty of the product at the time, but we must understand the deeper context that allowed Apple to define the technological landscape of our world.
After truly outlandish zeitgeist of the mid 2000’s it seemed that culturally the world was ready for a shift in aesthetic.
The gaudy (but still fire low key) had run its course and the cutting edge had supplanted it. The world was entering a new age of technology.
Now by no means was the advent of the iPhone the first of its kind.
Nokia had been successful with their Symbian based smartphones, but where iPhone excels is in being the first phone with multitouch.
This one feature would completely change how we interface with everything. Apple truly ventured into the realm of science fiction with a device that had never been seen before.
Multitouch was such an advancement that for an entire year the possession of an iPhone defined social structure, becoming the phone of choice for the wealthy elite, and placing everyone who didn’t have an iPhone in the shadows of those who did.
One remembers that infamous iPhone commercial in which Justin Long tells us all simply, “if you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone.”
Its limited release would have consumers globally hunting, with ebay auctions going into the thousands for an unlocked unit.
The exclusivity of the product to AT&T initially would propel the telecom to the forefront of the big four for the better part of a decade.
Celebrities would flaunt the single digit gold units across social media leaving followers frothing for the product.
The public craved the iPhone. For an entire year it became the only device that people were talking about.
In that iconic Macworld press conference, the late Steve Jobs would emerge in his classic black turtleneck and on that stage define how the world would look for a decade.
That sleek rounded design, that large, keyboard-less screen – the iPhone appeared before us like the black monolith out of 2001: A Space Odessey and humanity would be touched by designs seemingly blessed by something beyond.
Beyond Apple’s impeccable advertising campaign which changed the face of marketing – the iPhone was ingenious in its development of iOS.
The forward-thinking, yet simplistic interface that made users intuitively know what to press and how to engage with the user interface would leave competitor Samsung completely in the dust.
In fact Samsung’s utter defeat in the early era of the modern smartphone war was so close that Samsung would release the now-infamous 132 page document on how the company would emulate Apple’s successes.
It’s no secret that Apple has defined culture.
From its inception from the 80s to 2017, the company has catapulted the tech industry forward and will continue doing so.
Despite Jobs’ passing, and unfortunate sales declines in the previous year, it isn’t wrong to think that Apple will have the next ace up the sleeve in tech. Apple changed the world, and we are all better for it.