This month, Apple celebrates the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone. In that period, the smartphone has evolved almost past recognition. However, things could have been very different.
Apple has served to inspire a wide range of other phone manufacturers, which has led to real competition and further advancement of smartphones. This is despite the fact it was a hugely bold step to create a touchscreen phone a decade ago.
Touchscreen phones were a rarity at the time, with BlackBerry dominating the market. Without a keyboard, the industry was sceptical that the iPhone would be a success.
Taking on BlackBerry was brave and seen by many as foolhardy. The Canadian company had taken charge of the burgeoning smartphone market, appealing most to business users since they could access their emails and were reassured that their devices were protected from hackers.
When Apple announced the iPhone at the 2007 Macworld Conference, according to the book ‘Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry’, BlackBerry was impressed by the concept of the device but not afraid for their own fortunes.
However, it transpired that they should have been. BlackBerry did not make the necessary changes to their own devices to keep up with what users were starting to prefer and when they eventually did, it was too late.
However, it could have been the case that the full touchscreen phone was not adopted by Apple, which would likely have altered things drastically. It has recently been revealed that the iPhone could have featured a scroll wheel built into its touchscreen, inspired by its wildly successful iPod.
Eventually, Apple decided against the scroll wheel and went ahead with the touchscreen, which we all know now was the right decision.
It was the apps that really set the iPhone apart. With the ability to download programs that could help users get directions, read the news and play entertaining and visually appealing games, the apps were the biggest selling point for the iPhone and one of the reasons the device has proved so popular for ten years.
Initially, Apple had created a small selection of native apps, being unwilling to open the platform up to third party developers due to security fears. According to Backchannel editor Steven Levy, Apple’s then chief executive Steve Jobs said: “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform. You don’t want it to not work because one of three apps you loaded that morning screwed it up.”
Mr Levy reported that he went on to say that the iPhone was “more like an iPod than it is a computer in that sense”.
Apple’s stance changed, however. The company opened up the platform and allowed developers to create some truly groundbreaking apps and mobile games
Today, users have downloaded more than 140 billion apps to their iPhones.
The iPhone is only gaining in popularity, with the latest update due out later this year. There are a number of rumours about what the iPhone 8 will feature and these change almost daily.
What is certain, though, is the fact that having the newest iPhone has almost become a status symbol for some. This means that demand is not set to wane soon, even though the smartphone market is saturated at this point.
With each update, the iPhone installs a bigger and better screen and improves the camera. It is expected that the same situation will occur with the iPhone 8. Some sources have reported that it will feature a 5.8 inch OLED wrap-around screen with embedded sensors.
It is also currently thought by some that Apple will release two new models, being called the ‘iPhone 7S’. These will reportedly feature 5.5 inch and 4.7 inch LCD screens, in line with Apple’s historically favoured screen.
What Apple actually does choose to implement in its next iPhone remains to be seen. What we know already is that interest is growing and that analysts and potential buyers are eagerly awaiting the release date.