What the Tech? iPhone turns 16

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(ABC 6 News) – Everyone’s favorite daily companion is turning sweet 16 this week. The iPhone was first released to the public on June 30th, 2007. Can you picture what the world was like before?

Maybe not. It’s not easy. Watch a movie from 2000-2005 and see actors talking on giant cell phones, calling the office to ask for information, shopping in malls, and being unable to reach someone in an emergency. That’s another world, isn’t it?

When former Apple CEO Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone in January 2007, he boldly said: “Today, we’re going to make a little history together”. Even Jobs may not have been able to visualize how much the world would change all because of that handheld device. Unless you stop to think about it, you may not realize just how the iPhone has changed the world.

That’s not a hyperbolic statement. The iPhone changed the world as much as the automobile, airplane, and personal computer ever did.

It’s important to note that it is actually smartphones overall that have changed so much of what we do. Then again, the first iPhone sparked innovation at Google to design and release its first touchscreen smartphone. That being said, here are four ways the iPhone changed the world. For better or worse.

  1. It put the internet in our pockets. Prior to 2007, we had to drive home or to the office to get on a computer to access the internet. Can you even imagine having to do that now? If we need to know how a particular stock is performing, we can look at our phone and an app to get all of the information on its movement through the day any news that affects its price. If we need to know how old Stevie Nicks or Taylor Swift is because we’re sitting in a group of people who are wondering, we can look it up online or ask Siri for the answer. Being connected to the internet 24/7 has been around 16 years. Hard to believe isn’t it?
  2. It made it easy to shop. Maybe too easy. Before 2007 people shopped in malls and brick-and-mortar retailers. We could shop online, but only from a computer. Today, if you think you need a new oven mitt, it’s as easy as opening the Amazon app and having it delivered before you get home. I remember reporting on a Cyber Monday shopping in 2006 and the only way the person I interviewed could do that was from her office computer. Thanks to the iPhone, she can take advantage of Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday cells while waiting in line at the drive-thru.
  3. It made us all photographers. Prior to the iPhone release, Kodak stated there were about 80 million photos taken each year. Of course, you couldn’t take a picture without a camera, film, or a capture card. After the iPhone was released suddenly everyone had a camera with them at all times. You can snap a photo of a fantastic sunset, record your child scoring their first soccer goal, or record a video of someone behaving badly.
  4. The iPhone made dozens of gadgets we used to purchase obsolete. No one buys an alarm clock, calculator, GPS, fuzz buster, answering machine, day planner, or audio player anymore. There’s no need. Many of those gadgets come pre-loaded on the iPhone and other smartphones. If you need something else you can probably find dozens of apps in the app stores that take their place. 5. The iPhone made getting and staying in touch easier through social media. What would Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok be like if we had to be on a computer to use them?

The iPhone set Apple up to become the world’s most successful company. Its annual revenue is around $394 billion in 2022 much of that comes from taking a percentage of what iPhone users spend on apps.

Yes, Steve Jobs, Apple did make history on those 2 days in 2007.