The iPhone is 10: How it changed the world

The iPhone is 10: How it changed the world

The iPhone is officially 10 years old today - on Jan 9, 2007, at a Macworld event, Steve Jobs stood on stage and unveiled the device that heralded the smartphone age.

He announced the iPhone to the world as a three-in-one products - "a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough Internet communications device."

At the time, Jobs was hoping to capture a fraction of the multi-billion dollar market for phones.

Little did he know that this small device and many other smartphones after it, would literally change the world.

We've compiled a list of things that have changed as a direct result of the introduction of the iPhone.

Almost nobody buys a feature phone anymore

Remember when we had a dinky candybar or clamshell phone which had a keypad and only allowed us to send text or picture messages and make phone calls?

Many of us still fondly remember the Nokia 3310 and some still use one for nostalgic reasons, but let's face it, the feature phone is dead.

Photo: The Straits Times

In fact, the speed at which the iPhone was accepted essentially toppled rivals like Nokia and Microsoft who were slow to introduce their own smartphones and made way for new contenders who adopted Google's Android.

Almost nobody buys a music player that only plays music anymore

Remember when people used to buy MP3 players that only played music?

In fact, many of us had Apple's own iPod, which in its day killed the portable CD and cassette player.

Ten years since the introduction of the iPhone, the smartphone has effectively killed the market for standalone music players, including Apple's own iPod line and Apple hasn't updated the iPod Touch for a number of years now.

To be fair, there are still one or two standalone digital music players still on the market, but those cater to a very niche market.

Today, we don't just download music but stream it using Spotify or myriad of similar services.

Almost nobody buys a compact camera anymore

Another casualty of the introduction of the iPhone and smartphone in general was the compact camera market - with almost everyone using the smartphone's built-in camera to take most of their casual photos, sales of compact cameras tanked within a few years.

And the downward trend for compact camera sales have continued ever since, with each subsequent smartphone offering higher-quality cameras.

Today, with everyone taking most of their photos using their smartphones, camera manufacturers have only been able survive in the compact camera business by offering models which offer better quality or longer zoom ranges than that offered by smartphones.

Almost nobody makes regular phones calls or sends SMS messages anymore

Remember when we used to get charged for every text message we sent and for every minute of our phone calls?

Those days are gone - people started finding new ways to connect with others by utilising the data connection on the smartphone to make free calls and send messages using Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line, Whatsapp or FaceTime.

Photo: AFP

This trend has forced telcos to change how they offer their plans - many now offer phone calls and text messaging for free while bumping up data quotas.

The rise of ride-hailing

Photo: AFP

It's fair to say that without the iPhone 3G and other smartphones since and their built-in GPS, apps like Uber and Grab would not have existed.

Talk about disruptive technology - since the introduction of ride-hailing apps, consumers are now able to travel cheaper using alternatives to the regular public transportation system.

Ride-hailing has been controversial (and illegal) in some countries but it's hard to deny the impact that it's made on society in general.

Arguments over Teh Tarik are now over

Remember when we used to argue at length over who acted in or what was said in a particular movie? Or who won the football match on a particular date?

Well, those arguments are now a thing of the past since we can settle any argument within seconds by taking out our smartphones and Googling it.

In fact, according to the latest statistics, most people access the Internet on their smartphones than on a PC.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.




Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.