It’s hard to underestimate the influence that the iPhone has had on the world in the ten years since Steve Jobs unveiled the first version of Apple’s smartphone.
From the app economy to a total reimagining of what a smartphone should be, so much is owed to Apple’s bestseller.
Here are five things that wouldn’t have had nearly as much exposure or may not have happened at all were it not for the iPhone.
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1 Samsung smartphones
Samsung was already making smartphones and impressive devices when Apple first unveiled the iPhone. But without it, it’s unlikely it would have been able to become the colossus it is now.
The influence on the early Galaxy phones is clear, so much so that Samsung was forced to pay damages to Apple over stolen intellectual property, a battle which still rages to this day.
Samsung may well have developed their own, more futuristic handsets. But it’s unlikely they would have ended up looking and feeling like they do today without the arrival of the iPhone.
2 Google Android
Android, Google’s smartphone operating system, didn’t land until late 2008, well after the first iPhone. It wasn’t until the following year that they began to make waves.
And then, it wasn’t easy to miss the influence of Apple’s iOS (at that point still called iPhone OS), from the app icons and the screen transitions.
Yes, Google’s offering was perhaps richer and, in parts more detailed, but as the years have passed, Android’s simplification has owed much to iOS.
Likewise, modern versions of iOS have a debt of gratitude to Google’s efforts.
3 The iPad
The idea of a large, touchscreen tablet had been floated around by Apple fanatics around the same time as the first iPhone launch.
But it wasn’t until 2010 that the iPad first arrived. Many had hoped and expected that Apple would use its desktop OS X system to make it a true powerhouse, but the decision to use iOS instead proved inspired.
Jobs and co road tested iOS on the iPhone, saw its potential via the App Store and scaled it up for the iPad.
Without the smartphone nous Apple gleaned from launching a handset, it’s unlikely the iPad would have been the product we know today.
4 Social media
Sure, Facebook and Twitter already existed. But the boom in smartphones heralded by the launch of the iPhone, helped push these services off of the desktop and into people’s hands.
According to figures released in 2016, a massive 85% of smartphone owners around the world use Facebook, with 47% accessing the social network exclusively via their phones.
It’s no exaggeration to say that without the iPhone, Facebook would not be as big and powerful as it is today.
5 Major apps and services
Apps like Uber, Deliveroo and Evernote have become everyday names, services which are used and accessed via smartphones the world over.
And while Google’s Android Market (now Google Play) could have pushed these products, the simple, unified approach to apps offered by Apple helped turn them into huge businesses.
Without the iPhone, the app ecosystem would be very different today.
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