Thursday, June 29, 2017

Happy 10th Anniversary iPhone!!

On June 29, 2009, the world witnessed the much-anticipated release of Apple’s first smartphone – the iPhone.  Although there was much excitement and buzz around this release, no one could foresee the overwhelming impact this device would have on practically everything we did in life.

But this original release was not app-rich yet but did pack a high “cool factor” that everyone wanted to have.  What the iPhone did have was an ability to access multiple functions, conveniently packaged in one device: 

·      One of the functions that would help to drive the device’s popularity would be its ability to play movies and music – a function integrated from the Apple’s earlier released and ever-popular iPod.  Many may have forgotten that it was the iPod that initially launched Apple into the consumer market and made a bigger invasion into homes than all previously sold Mac computers combined.  The craze over music on a mobile phone would eventually lead to the surging of iTunes, which would become the largest music store in the world.

·      Another lifestyle-changing feature was the inclusion of maps and ability to interact with geo-based data based on a keyword search.  One could then use the results of that search to locate the closest location of that which they searched. This was important with regards to a consumer’s ability to get information such as a business’ location, phone number, etc. and then call that business by just clicking on the phone number listed.  This is something we take for granted today but 10 years ago, this was somewhat revolutionary. 

·      Although cellular data speeds were somewhat slower in 2009 than today, many found having access to a data-rich web browser on a mobile device, a very cool thing.  The premier iPhone had Apple’s Safari browser built-in and people used it.  Again, although via some slow surfing speeds, people began surfing by mobile at an increasingly high rate, something that would eventually lead to the need to for website designers to take this into consideration when building their websites – leading to a term we now call “responsive” websites.

·      Although it had email, it was somewhat limited, as it could not be used with the ever-popular corporate Microsoft Exchange (Outlook) email service (yet).  Apple and Microsoft would later sign a deal to grant Apple access to Microsoft’s code so that iPhone users could display Microsoft email and calendars, a move that (I personally feel) was the beginning of the downfall of the Blackberry (RIM), who previously had exclusive rights to Microsoft’s email services (it’s then sole selling point).

Although the accolades for the iconic iPhone could go on for days, the release wasn’t without some controversy.  Apple decided to release the iPhone through an exclusive deal with AT&T.  But everyone (or almost everyone) wanted to have an iPhone, regardless to the mobile service provider they used.  So whenever the contract of someone on a network other than AT&T expired (or they “creatively” found a way out of their contract prematurely), they switched to AT&T just to get their very own iPhone.  The changing culture was that you were “left out” if you didn’t have one.   The appeal of the iPhone has been described as “addictive” since its first inception.

Over the years, I personally suspected that this mass migration to AT&T was causing serious network congestion, thereby slowing down speeds.  This was later confirmed by an independent investigation.  It appears that AT&T underestimated the migration of new customers and didn’t properly prepare its infrastructure to handle the traffic.  This was a similar fate experienced by AOL (remember them?) when they switched from a fee-based service to free service in order to stay afloat in the quickly changing world of the Internet.

Now some 1.2 billion sold iPhones later, Apple remains a major player in the war of mobile phones.  The later versions have not seen as many game-changing new features as previous versions; the new game seems to be that of faster processors and higher resolution cameras (since people live their lives through photos and live video sessions).  It has been very interesting to witness the maturing of the world’s most popular mobile phone and none of us can probably imagine what is to come in this arena in the next 10 years.

Happy 10th Anniversary iPhone!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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