- Part 1: The Pocket-Sized Computer
- Part 2: We’re Going to Make Our Own Phone
- Part 3: The Revolution Begins
- Part 4: Just the Right Amount of Everything
Dressed in his trademark black turtleneck, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the media with the boisterous confidence of a man who revolutionized the music industry a few years prior. The success of iTunes and the iPod revitalized a struggling company, and Jobs wasn’t about to let go of Apple’s grip on the future of hand-held consumer products.
But the history of the iPhone doesn’t begin in 2007. No. Instead the story of the iPhone starts outside a Moscow hotel room, and involves a murder by one of technology’s great men.
The pocket-sized computer.
The Apple Newton Messagepad was the company’s first foray into the world of personal digital assistants. With Newton, Apple wanted to develop pocket-sized computers that were so functional that users wouldn’t leave home without them.
“The number one requirement was that it had to fit in John Sculley’s pocket,” said Gavin Ivester, who ran Newton’s industrial design. “We focused on width because that affects how you hold it. You need to be able to reach around with your fingertips on one side and the fleshy part of your thumb on the other to feel like you’re not going to drop it. You really only feel secure if you can turn it over in your hand and still hold it.”
The Newton Messagepad was designed to include a pen, a radio working on pager frequency, forms and document templates built-in that were transferable to Mac and PC. Built using the Newton Intelligence operating system, the software would anticipate user behaviors and then act on them. The same way Google Maps prompts users with directions based on driving patterns, the Newton Operating System utilized similar technology decades before.
“For example, if one would write ‘Lunch with Bob tomorrow’ on the screen and then tap the Assist button, the Newton MessagePad would interpret the phrase and open a meeting slip already filled out with the last-accessed person named Bob, tomorrow’s date, and the lunch hour already allocated to this new meeting.” iPhone users may recognize this feature as a precursor to Siri.
But for this technology to work, Apple CEO John Sculley knew the Newton Messagepad needed innovative software never successfully implemented before: Handwriting Recognition Software.
“Eat up Martha.”
There are two sides to every story about handwriting recognition software.
The first, like an international spy thriller, begins with a knock on a Moscow hotel room door belonging to Apple Vice President of Board Relations Al Eisenstat. When Eisenstat opened the door, he saw a programmer fidgeting and pacing back and forth down the hallway. The programmer looked around to make sure he wasn’t followed. Once the programmer knew he was in the clear, he handed Eisenstat a floppy disk containing handwriting recognition software.
The floppy disk was then passed on to the Newton team.
Or is the truth the second version? Russian software engineer and founder of the Moscow-based Paragraph International, Stepan Pachikov, started advertising his handwriting recognition software around Silicon Valley until a meeting with Apple executives led to the software being licensed by the Newton team.
Either way, one fact remains true: early versions of the handwriting recognition software did not work.
The built-in software needed to interpret a user’s handwriting (hand printing and cursive), and then turn it into computer-readable text. Unfortunately, instead of direct recognition of a user’s words, the Newton Messagepad delivered bizarre nonsequiturs that were prominently mocked in a weeklong Doonesbury comic strip and an episode of “The Simpsons.”
In the episode “Lisa On Ice”, school bully Dolph tries to write a memo to “beat up Martin.”. Instead, the Newton produced “Eat up Martha,” at which the unlucky tablet is hurled in the direction of Martin.
In a collection of interviews about the creation of the iPhone touch keyboard, Nitin Ganatra, Apple’s former director of engineering for iOS applications, said “Everybody on the team knew full well that Apple had attempted to ship a device in the past with an alternative touch-form input, and it was laughed at by the industry: the Apple Newton.”
“If you heard people talking and they used the words ‘Eat Up Martha,’ it was basically a reference to the fact that we needed to nail the keyboard. We needed to make sure the text input works on this thing, otherwise, ‘Here comes the Eat Up Marthas.'”
Apple knew that they couldn’t make the same mistakes with the iPhone keyboard that were made in the development of the Newton.
Later versions of the Newton handwriting recognition software worked wonderfully, but by the time the products hit the shelf, the court of public opinion had already moved on.
A commercial failure.
The Newton project, named after an early rendering of the Apple logo with Sir Issac Newton under a tree, was first released in August of 1993 as The Apple Messagepad at the Boston Macworld Expo. For $900, 50,000 Messagepad’s were sold in the first three months of launch.
The size of a VCR cassette tape and requiring three AAA batteries to run, the Newton was a commercial failure. Despite the public mocking on television, poor battery life, and the advertised handwriting recognition software a failure, Apple continued to develop updated versions of the Newton for six years.
By the time the final Messagepad was released in 1997, the software was better, the processor was faster, and the memory was larger. But it was too late.
“I didn’t trust the people running it.”
“If Apple had been in a less precarious situation, I would have drilled down myself to figure out how to make it work. I didn’t trust the people running it. My gut was that there was some really good technology, but it was fucked up by mismanagement. By shutting it down, I freed up some good engineers who could work on new mobile devices. And eventually, we got it right when we moved on to iPhones and the iPad.” – Steve Jobs
Jobs, who returned as Apple’s CEO in 1997, had no interest in continuing work on the Newton. Some say it’s because of poor sales; others claim it was because Jobs hated former CEO John Sculley (who had ousted Jobs in a boardroom coup).
But the Newton’s death was not in vain: the issues with the handwriting recognition software helped Apple develop the iPhone’s touch keyboard. And parts of the Newton OS are ingrained into the fabric of Siri, Cortana, and apps across both iTunes and Google Play store.
All that matters is that the Newton needed to be murdered so the iPhone could be born.
“We’re going to make our own phone.”
QWERTY keyboards, flip-screens, lo-fi cameras and tinny speakers. Therein lies a graveyard of mobile phone devices pre-iPhone buried at the bottom of dresser drawers or retired to boxes labeled “old electronics” in the back of closets.
A 2007 advertisement for the BlackBerry Curve 8300 highlighted the phone’s ability to allow users to check and send emails with an attached QWERTY keyboard, listen to MP3s on the go, and take photos with their phone. This was the pinnacle of mobile technology at the time.
No apps. No Wi-Fi. No 3G.
Other phones like the Nokia N95 and Motorola Razr flooded the market. Mobile devices with limited shelf life, poor user interfaces, and lack of functionality were the only options for customers.
But Apple wanted to create something different. Apple said, “We just want to have a cool phone. Everybody else was focusing on being smart. Apple focused on being loved,” said Horace Dediu, former Nokia analyst.
The iTunes phone.
2004. The year that brought us Usher’s “Yeah,” Robert DeNiro asking to be milked like a cat, and the Motorola Rokr, was also Apple’s first foray into cell phone technology.
Worried about the impending irrelevance of the iPod, Steve Jobs partnered up with Motorola to develop the first-ever iTunes phone. Motorola developed the handset; Apple worked on the iTunes software. On paper, the relationship between Apple and Motorola was perfect because Steve Jobs had reservations about developing an inhouse phone (“[Jobs] wasn’t convinced that smartphones were going to be for anyone but the ‘pocket protector crowd,’ as we used to call them,” said an Apple executive).
Apple wanted to preserve sales of the iPod: “It was, How can we make it a very small experience, so they still had to buy an iPod? Give them a taste of iTunes and basically turn it into an iPod Shuffle so that they’ll want to upgrade to an iPod. That was the initial strategy,” former Apple executive Tony Fadell said.
And while the internet rumor mill dreamt of a unique mobile phone experience in the Rokr, Fadell and the rest of the Apple team knew otherwise.
During the September 2005 Rokr announcement, Jobs looked defeated as he held up the device to a mostly disinterested crowd. “This is not gonna fly. I’m sick and tired of dealing with bozo handset guys,” Jobs told Fadell after the demo.
Early reviews were poor, highlighting slow music transfer speeds, clunky software, and a lack of cutting-edge features. Wired featured a cover story about the Rokr entitled “You Call This The Phone Of The Future;” the phone was returned to stores at a rate six times higher than the industry average.
The failure of the Rokr spurred Jobs and Apple to go full-throttle into the development of their own phone.
A leapfrog product.
“We want to make a leapfrog product, smart, and easy to use. This is what iPhone is.”
After the live demo of the Rokr, employees at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters started to disappear.
Slowly, Apple executives, designers, and engineers worked around the clock to develop a top-secret project codenamed The Purple Project. To create the iPhone, secrecy was vital (maybe a holdover from the early announcement of The Newton Messagepad that led to a series of competitors releasing similar, cheaper products before the release of the Messagepad).
There were two teams involved in the creation of the iPhone: one team worked on a design similar to an iPod mini, but with a phone built-in, while the other group created “an experimental hybrid of multitouch technology and Mac software.”
The iPod team’s idea was to produce an iPod with two distinct modes: music player and phone mode. “It was this interesting material… it still had this touch-sensitive click wheel, right, and the Play/Pause/Next/Previous buttons in blue backlighting. And when you put it into phone mode through the UI, all that light kind of faded out and faded back in as orange. Like, zero to nine in the click wheel in an old rotary phone, you know, ABCDEGF around the edges,” said Senior iPhone engineer Andy Grignon.
The obvious problem with using a rotary style interface was that no one wanted to use a clunky rotary interface. Dialing phone numbers became complicated, and typing was nearly impossible. “…Texting and phone numbers — it was a fucking mess,” said Grignon.
Despite its failures, the radio system that was used for the iPod phone was the same radio system shipped with the first iPhones.
Apple engineers switched gears to focus on the multitouch technology that transformed the way consumers interact with mobile devices.
Former Apple designer Doug Satzger said “The initial concept of multitouch was from a tablet-computer brainstorm. We were always trying to shove a PC into a tablet. Duncan Kerr [a designer] sat people down for a couple of hours and just talked about multitouch. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just turn a page like you were turning a page? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just zoom in and out by doing some kind of gesture? We had all those ideas on paper in the ID team. And I’m sure Duncan was talking to the sensor people and the hardware people about multitouch. A couple of weeks later, we were all just blown away by the prototype Duncan and his team built. We were zooming in and out on Google Maps and rotating it.”
“[Bas Ording] called me back a few weeks later, and he had inertial scrolling working,” Jobs said.
A reinvention of the phone.
“Before we get into it, let me talk about a category of things … the most advanced phones are called smartphones. They typically involve a phone, have plastic little keyboards on them, the problem is they’re not so smart, and they’re not so easy to use. If you make a biz school 101 graph, cellphones are at the bottom… smartphones are a little smarter, but they’re harder to use,” said Jobs at the 2007 Macworld event.
Jobs knew he was right. Just two years earlier, he stood on stage with the Rokr, a failed difficult-to-use mobile device that was lambasted across the media. Jobs remembered the response to the Newton Messagepad and the Doonesbury comics.
“An iPod. A phone. An internet communicator,” said Jobs as the Macworld 2007 softly chuckled.
Jobs walked back and forth. The crowd hung onto every new feature announced.
“We have been very lucky to have brought a few revolutionary user interfaces to the market — the mouse, the click wheel, and now Multi-Touch. Each has made possible a revolutionary product, the Mac, the iPod, and now the iPhone.”
Reviews for the iPhone were mostly positive. CNET wrote, “The iPhone really could change the future of computing. It’s quite possible that June 29, 2007, will one day be remembered as the day that the average consumer realized what mobile computing was all about.”
The New York Times said, “As it turns out, much of the hype and some of the criticisms are justified. The iPhone is revolutionary; it’s flawed. It’s substance; it’s style. It does things no phone has ever done before…”
Time Magazine wrote “For the iPhone, Apple has brought to market a revolutionarily smart, sensitive touchscreen and created an entirely new user interface to match it, all in one go, so seamlessly that my 3-year-old daughter — and I apologize for going to this place, but the fact is striking nonetheless — had no trouble unlocking the iPhone and dialing with it.”
Customers agreed. The initial price for the iPhone was $499 for the 4 GB model and $599 for the 8 GB model. Seventy-four days later, Apple sold their 1 millionth iPhone. As of November of 2018, Apple has sold 2.2. Billion iPhones.
“An iPod. A phone. Are you starting to get it now?” repeated Jobs to the raucous audience.
Yeah. We get it.
The revolution begins.
“Isn’t this awesome?”
Steve Jobs said as he acknowledged a member of the crowd as he continued his presentation on the first iPhone. “So photos, SMS, and the phone app — that is part of our phone package for iPhone. Really great call management, scroll through contacts with your finger, all the information at your fingertips. Favorites, last century [shows dialer], calendar, SMS texting, incredible photo app, the ability to take any picture and make it your wallpaper.”
Jobs and the Apple team wanted to reinvent the phone, but nobody in the company would be able to predict how the iPhone revolutionized not only mobile devices but the way humans interact with the world around them.
The iPhone was never meant to be just a phone, but no one at Apple knew how the iPhone would change the world.
iPhone – iPhone 3S
The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007 with three versions available at launch: 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB. Over 300,000 were sold the first weekend of release.
Each iPhone came with a 2 MegaPixel camera on the back. Photo quality was impressive for its time, but the real revelation was the Photos App that launched with the first iPhone.
“The third app I want to show you is Photos — we also have the coolest photo management ever. Certainly on a mobile device, but I think EVER. Let me go to photos, scroll through here… to go through pictures I just swipe them. There’s one that’s landscape; I can just turn my device, and there it is. I can swipe while I’m in landscape,” said Jobs.
For the first time, iPhone users swiped through their pictures, flipped between landscape and portrait mode, and zoomed in on photos with a simple two-finger pinch. An entire photo album that you fit inside your pocket.
The camera software itself was basic offering only a shutter button with a fixed focus lens.
Early reviews for the much-lauded multitouch interface were positive. CNET proclaimed “the iPhone display is remarkable for its multitouch technology, which allows you to move your finger in a variety of ways to manipulate what’s on the screen.”
Other features like visual voicemail were proclaimed revolutionary as users no longer needed to listen to every saved voicemail to access their latest one.
That doesn’t mean the iPhone didn’t ship out with flaws. “We just don’t understand, however, why Apple doesn’t include multimedia messaging. Sure, you can use e-mail to send photos, but without multimedia messaging you can’t send photos to other cell phones–pretty much the entire point of a camera phone,” said the CNET review.
Gizmodo’s Brian Lam wrote “The real elephant in the room is the fact that I just spent $600 on my iPhone and it can’t do some crucial functions that even $50 handsets can. I’m talking about MMS. Video recording. Custom ringtones. Mass storage. Fully functioning Bluetooth with stereo audio streaming. Voice dialing when you’re using a car kit. Sending contact info to other people. Instant friggin’ messenging. Sending an SMS to more than one recipient at a time.”
Despite this, sales for the iPhone were huge. The one millionth iPhone was sold 74 days after launch.
Apple decided to skip the iPhone 2, instead moving on to the iPhone 3G because of the mobile devices 3G internet connectivity.
Arriving with the iPhone 3G, Apple’s App Store debuted with 500 different apps to choose from. Within a week, that number jumped to 800. Currently, there are nearly 2 million apps available to download on the iPhone and iPad.
“Software distribution was absolutely primitive before the App Store,” app developer Phill Ryu told Wired. “It deserves just as much credit as the original iPhone hardware and iOS in defining our modern smartphone experience.”
There was a small upgrade to the phone camera with the release of the iPhone 3GS as it introduced a new 3 MegaPixel camera and video recording. Some early iPhone owners were upset over the release of a newer, more advanced iPhone, and struggled to find a reason to upgrade. That changed with the release of the iPhone 4.
iPhone 4 – iPhone 5c
“This changes everything. Again.”
Released on June 24, 2010, the iPhone 4 shipped with a new Retina display, 512 MB of storage, and an upgraded 5 MegaPixel camera. But the most significant quality of life improvement was the debut of the front-facing camera.
Thanks to the iPhone 4, taking self-portraits was easy.
A few months later, the iPhone 4S released with an 8 MegaPixel camera. Boasting the iPhone’s best camera yet, photos taken with an iPhone 4S were featured in magazines, newspapers, and art galleries. Photographers also used their iPhone’s to build an audience through Instagram.
The iPhone 4S also marked the debut of Siri. VentureBeat described Siri as “the beginning of something that will fundamentally change the way we live with our computing devices over the coming years. Modern touchscreen smartphones already seem futuristic compared to the clunkier handsets that came before, but Siri feels like something straight out of science fiction.”
Siri is a voice recognition software embedded into the Apple iOS that acts as a mobile personal assistant. Ask Siri about the weather, and she will answer. Want to know about nearby restaurants? Siri will provide a list of restaurants ranked by reviews.
Voice recognition software existed before the release of the iPhone 4S, and in fact it was previously available as a free app in the App Store known as the Siri Assistant. After Apple purchased Siri in April of 2010, the company decided to install it on all of their new mobile devices starting with the iPhone 4S.
Less than a year later, Apple launched the iPhone 5. Over five million iPhone 5’s were sold in the first week. Offering a bigger screen, 1 GB of memory, and brand new LTE connectivity, the iPhone 5 was a major jump for iPhone users.
A year after the release of the iPhone 5, Apple delivered the iPhone 5S and 5C. The 5C was Apple’s first foray into selling a slightly more affordable product by switching out some of the more advanced internals from the 5S and having a plastic shell. Despite the lack of big changes from the iPhone 5 to the 5S and 5C, nine million 5S and 5C phones were sold in the first week.
iPhone 6 – iPhone 6S Plus
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus shipped out in September of 2014. Despite internal specifications not much different than the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus delivered a larger HD display screen.
Then, four years after the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple announced the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. More memory, higher quality display, and the introduction of 3D touch rounded out the technical improvements for the phone. On the camera side, the 8 MegaPixel camera was upgraded to 12 MegaPixels.
Apple began to push the photographic qualities of the iPhone 6S.
Large scale advertisements highlighting the strength and beauty of the iPhone camera started popping up across the country. Apple scoured social media for pictures to feature on these advertisements that were featured in the subway, on billboards, and in some instances, covering the side of a building.
The message from Apple with the “Shot on iPhone” campaign was clear: anyone can produce great photography with an iPhone.
iPhone 7 – iPhone X
Everyone remembers where they were when they heard Apple was removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7.
Okay. Maybe not. But you may remember the massive online freakout in the hours that followed Apple’s announcement.
Even Samsung got into the thick of it.
Despite the negative response, the iPhone 7 and 7S was the world’s best selling smartphone in the first quarter of 2017.
The iPhone 8 and 8S debuted wireless charging, alongside upgraded tools for editing photos and videos. The lack of a headphone jack became less of a conversation amongst smartphone users as other companies began releasing phones without a headphone jack as well.
In November of 2017, Apple released the iPhone X. Tech Radar’s review opens with “Finally, the rebooted iPhone we’ve been waiting for.” The iPhone X was the first iPhone without a home button, and cost $999. The steep price took consumers off guard which lowered initial sales, and it’s current price of $900 isn’t changing that at all.
But with the largest iPhone OLED screen available, innovative facial recognition software, and incredibly powerful processing ability, the iPhone X remains one of the strongest smartphones on the market.
After 12 years and over 2.2 billion iPhones sold, Apple created a product that revolutionized what a phone can do. Steve Jobs was right, “Isn’t this awesome?”
Just the right amount of everything.
2007 brought us the iPhone. “An iPod. A phone. An internet communicator.”
2008 brought us the App Store. “The phone you’ve been waiting for.”
2015 brought us the 12 MP camera. “The only thing that’s changed is everything.”
And 2019 brings us the iPhone 11. “Just the right amount of everything.”
There aren’t any revolutionary innovations to the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro; instead, Apple focused on the smaller feature improvements. Compared to the iPhone 7, the iPhone 11’s photo quality featured brighter colors and a higher level of detail.
What the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro does better than any previous iPhone release is Night Mode (comparable to Google’s Night Sight). Night Mode activates automatically on the iPhone 11 and “merges together a bunch of shots taken with different exposure lengths, taking the best, sharpest bits of each.”
One glance at the difference between a Night Mode photo on the iPhone 11 and a regular picture taken at night on the iPhone X couldn’t be any starker.
The iPhone 11 also offers a longer battery life than the iPhone X. But for a company that at one point was releasing world-changing device after world-changing device, Apple’s iPhone 11 is just alright.
If you own an iPhone 7, then the iPhone 11’s camera improvements and speed adjustments are enough to consider upgrading.
How did the iPhone change the world?
It’s crucial given the history of the iPhone for us to reflect on how the iPhone changed the world.
The Newton Messagepad is a story of triumph and failure. Apple attempted to develop a product that fits in your pocket, carrying all of the information you need. The Messagepad was supposed to be everything from a personal planner to an email communicator. But the initial failure of the included handwriting recognition software led to a lack of public interest in the Messagepad.
Years later, Steve Jobs returned to Apple and found himself on stage holding the Motorola Rokr, the world’s first iTunes phone. A clunky interface and slow music transfer speeds led Jobs to declare after the demonstration, “We’re going to create our own phone.”
Two years later, the immortal words of Jobs revolutionized mobile devices forever.
But on that stage twelve years ago, no one in the audience imagined the effects of the iPhone on the world.
More than 1 trillion photos were taken in 2018 thanks in large part to the accessibility of cameras attached to our smartphones. If you own a smartphone, a camera is with you at all times. No need to carry around a clunky bag filled with film; no need to wait two weeks for your pictures to develop. Everything you need to be a photographer is instantly at your fingertips.
Pulitzer Prize nominee Richard Koci Hernandez described his love for the iPhone in an interview for Pixabay:
“My main reason for using a cell phone in my photographic work is the devices immediacy and its reach. In my experience as a photographer, there has never been a device better suited to shooting, processing, and delivering photographic images so immediately. It has become my camera, darkroom and printing press, not to mention delivery truck all in my pocket. I am in love with the potential of shooting, post-processing, and sharing globally in just a few clicks. It’s a device that’s always with me and allows me to be more creative and experimental and receive immediate feedback.”
A distracted universe.
The iPhone and other smartphones have led to a decline in gum sales. According to a study posted on Vox, gum sales have gone down by 15% since…, in part to customers staring at their phone rather than the magazines, candy, and gum that line grocery check-out shelves.
Another unintended effect of smartphones is the turmoil caused in relationships. A study by James A. Roberts and Meredith E. David revealed that couples who spent more time on their phones than those who didn’t were more likely to be unsatisfied in their relationships and more likely to be depressed.
The way we work.
Uber. Instagram. ParkMobile. Without the development of the App Store, none of these companies would exist.
Like the camera, the App Store proved that the iPhone was more than a phone. Google Maps allowed us to use our phones as a GPS. Netflix turned our phones into portable movie theaters. And Spotify placed our entire music collection (and then some) in our pockets. Anything and everything was available on the App Store. As Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted out, “There’s an App for that.”
Developers also began to create software specifically for mobile devices. Mobile-only apps like Tinder allowed users to “swipe right” on potential partners; Uber paved the way for ridesharing apps. Mobile games such as Candy Crush, Flappy Bird, and Pokemon Go introduced a new generation of kids to the future of mobile gaming (and hurt the traditional handheld gaming industry).
The App Store also increased the amount of on-demand job opportunities, such as delivering food for DoorDash and Instacart, ridesharing with Uber and Lyft, and even walking dogs with Rover. There are approximately 5.8 million on-demand workers, and the numbers continue to increase.
A cableless future.
The chaos of the headphone jack led to mass hysteria on the internet. And now, two years later, maybe Apple was right?
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 removed the headphone jack. Google stripped the headphone jack from the Pixel 2 (although the Google Pixel 3A does offer one). And Apple sold 35 million AirPods in 2018.
Apple’s risk to remove the headphone jack may not have been popular when announced, but their belief in a cable-less future has paid off.
Something in the middle.
The iPad wouldn’t exist without the iPhone.
In 2010, Jobs asked the audience at a San Francisco media event if “there was room for something in the middle” between an iPhone and a Macbook. Minutes later, the screen behind him flashed Apple’s latest foray into mobile technology, the iPad.
Tablets released before the iPad struggled to gain popularity amongst consumers. The tablets were too heavy; the tablets didn’t have the right software.
The initial response to the iPad was a similar backlash from Apple fans. “I got about 800 messages in the last 24 hours,” Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson. “Most of them are complaining…. I kind of got depressed today. It knocks you back a bit.”
Newsweek Technology Editor Daniel Lyons reported, “I haven’t been this let down since Snooki hooked up with The Situation.”
But like the removal of the headphone jack, Apple and Job’s belief in the iPad proved fruitful. Since 2010, Apple has sold more than 360 million iPads. There have been 19 models of the iPad released to date. Customers found themselves using the iPad as a multimedia device to watch Netflix, but with the addition of the Apple Pen accessory in 2015, more consumers are editing photos and videos on the go with their iPads. Classrooms are buying iPads in bulk as more and more educational apps and games make their way onto the App Store.
Between 1993 and 2009, there were eight tablets released on the market.
Post-2010, consumers had the choice of a variety of tablets. The Nexus tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, and Microsoft Surface tablet all released in the years that followed the debut of the iPad.
The pattern for Apple was simple: take a risk, get mocked on the internet for said risk, then profit later as the consumer market becomes flooded with imitators and replicas.
A war for your wrist.
Apple is winning the war of watches. Apple first changed the technology we put in our pocket with the iPhone. Then what’s in our briefcase with the iPad. And in 2014, Apple took control of what’s on our wrists.
A place on Time’s Best 25 Inventions of 2014. Mashable described the Apple Watch “as an excellent, elegant, stylish, smart and fundamentally sound device.” And in 2017, Apple became one of the largest makers of watches in the world.
Apple was not the first wearable on the market; there was Fitbit, Garmen, and the Pebble Watch. All known for their fitness tracking abilities. But like the iPhone, the Apple Watch wanted to be more than a watch.
The first Apple Watch released in April of 2015. Since its launch, Apple announced a new selection of Apple Watches building on the previous models. The latest model, the Apple Watch Series 5, features an always-on display, a new titanium frame, and an upgraded international SOS mode.
These features build on the previous model’s ability to use Apple Pay, make phone calls, listen to music, locate directions, act as a television remote, and track activity goals.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, Apple shipped more Apple Watches than the entire Swiss Watch industry.
But like the iPhone and the iPad, Apple’s synergy between devices and functional user-interface is the reason for the Apple Watch’s success in the wearable market.
More than a phone.
Apple redefined technology on the go. Whether you own an iPhone or an Android, smartphones have become essential to our lives. Productivity is now dependant on instant access to email, social media, or software. The Messagepad attempted to revolutionize the technology in our pockets: the iPhone succeeded.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review, the smartphone outpaced the TV as the consumer technology with the fastest adoption rate, reaching 40 percent market saturation in just 2 1/2 years.
Our brains are changing how we catalog knowledge because of instant access to Google on our phones. “These results suggest that processes of human memory are adapting to the advent of new computing and communication technology,” said Professors Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu, and Daniel Wegner in a study for Science. “We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found.”
Josh Ong, editor for The Next Web, cataloged all of the devices rendered obsolete by the iPhone: “a feature phone, music player, point-and-shoot camera, GPS, alarm clock, flashlight, calculator, handheld gaming device, ebook reader, guitar tuner, voice recorder, electronic dictionary, remote and a box for making video Skype calls.”
That list was written in 2012. You can now add the personal assistant, 1080p video cameras, audio, and video editing device, live streaming device, and portable television.
Steve Jobs told Macworld 2007 that Apple wanted to reinvent the phone. Unknowingly, Apple reinvented the way we interact with the world.
How has the iPhone changed the way you interact with the world? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Dudefluencer.