The Apple iPhone turned 5 this week. In that short amount of time, the phone has made a huge impact on the world as we know it. In fact, the iPhone is probably the most influential consumer electronics product ever made. Here are some ways that I have uncovered from several sources that I believe will help me to show why I feel the iPhone has been such a game changer.
Game changer 1: When Apple shipped the iPhone in 2007, its radical design and incredible popularity caused not a ripple, but a tidal wave of change throughout the mobile phone industry. The iPhone prompted cellular makers to abandon physical keyboards in favor of all-screen input and make thinner phones with better screens capable of multi-touch input.
Game changer 2: Changed the world of software distribution. Before the iPhone, installing phone apps was relatively complicated and filled with problems. You had to find a good store online, download the app to a desktop computer and follow the unique and often complicated directions for installation to the phone, which happened through the sync process. Each app maker had to be paid using PayPal or credit card. Uninstalling apps was rarely straightforward.
The iPhone radically improved the processing for discovering, installing, paying for and uninstalling software. The process was so seamless and easy that it forced Apple-style App Stores on smart phone competitors and even desktop-software makers like Microsoft.
Game changer 3: Made the world safe for software keyboards.
Before the iPhone, the idea of using an on-screen keyboard on a phone or tablet seemed unimaginable. The biggest first complaint with the iPhone itself was about the screen-based keyboard. Rather than giving users what they were screaming for, which was an add-on, peripheral or third-party range of physical keyboards, Apple deliberately made sure they were unavailable.
Apple dragged the user community kicking and screaming into the future of keyboards. After a couple of years, everybody got used to the idea.
Game changer 4: Killed the stylus as a mainstream input device
It’s hard to imagine now, but before the iPhone, most smart phones had little pens for writing and pushing on-screen buttons. They were clunky, and easy to lose. They may still exist but they serve more as a sign of a dinosaur than as a tool for efficiency.
Game changer 5: Opened the door for PC-to-Mac Switchers.
The majority of iPhone users were Windows users. This device gradually introduce PC users to Apple’s way of doing things. They get people into Apple stores. The constant iTunes updates bring people to the Apple web site. Eventually, PC users make the switch, but not after being softened by one of Apple’s mobile devices.
Game changer 6: The iPhone changed everything. By introducing the idea of the app and an all-screen multi-touch interface, it changed the future of smartphones forever.
The introduction of the App Store in the second generation iPhone 3G changes things again, and created a platform for third-party developers to reach their target customers.
All it required was an iTunes account and credit card and all you needed to do to install a new app on your phone was to press Install. Simple.
Google quickly followed suit with the Android Market (now Google Play) and Microsoft has the Windows Marketplace.
Game changer 7: Apple created a device that was part iPod, part phone, part portable games console, part internet portal and combined it in a beautifully designed unit which was easy to use. And, despite five years of trying, no other manufacturer has quite managed to match this combination.
I will stop with these 7 ways that the iPhone has been a game changer. The Apple iPhone may be the most influential consumer gadget ever, changing the way phones work, changing the way people see the world and changing human culture. Not bad for just five years.
Happy birthday iPhone and thanks for how you have assisted and at times dragged some into a much better way of things.