It may seem strange now, but when the iPhone originally launched (10 years today, as if you didn’t already know by now), it wasn’t viewed as a smartphone in some quarters because of restrictions placed on the device by Apple.
Wireless industry analyst firm ABI Research’s definition of a smartphone was "a cellular handset using an open, commercial operating system that supports third-party applications", but Apple at that time was blocking third-party apps from the iPhone.
On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. It was the usual quality presentation from Apple’s sorely missed boss, with some great moments of humor. Our first glimpse of the phone was in fact actually a mock-up of an iPod with a rotary dial in place of the usual click wheel. The audience clapped and hooted. Jobs then went on to show the real device, and it was pretty mind-blowing.
Here was a phone that looked nothing like a phone. It looked nothing like an iPod, for that matter either. It was pretty much all screen, controlled by touch using your finger -- or fingers, thanks to the power of multi-touch -- and was, according to Jobs, powered by OS X. The device could tell if you were holding it portrait or landscape, and knew when you were holding it up to your ear, and so prevent you prematurely ending a call with the side of your face. It came with a 620MHz processor, 128MB of memory and a 2MP camera. It was a magical device. This was the future, being shown right here. A device to be coveted by all. But I didn’t want one.
The original iPhone went on sale ten years ago today, and in celebration I’ve been trawling through the BetaNews archives. Sadly we didn’t review the first iPhone, but we did gather together some of the best press and user comments following the device’s announcement, and they are amusing to say the least.
Below is the original story written by Ed Oswald, and underneath that are some of the best reader responses to it. Knowing what we know now, I think you’ll find it entertaining.
When the original iPhone went on sale ten years ago today, there was a lot of excitement, and people queued up outside of Apple stores to get their hands on what was to be a game-changing device.
Trawling through the BetaNews archives I found two examples that best illustrate the excitement at the time, including a very illuminating first hand report from Tim Conneally. First up is a selection of photos from iPhone launches across the US.
Steve was right, and I don't refer to Apple cofounder Jobs, but to an iPhone buyer I met 10 years ago today. He was among the eclectic group of people waiting outside Apple Store Montgomery Mall to spend $499 or $599 on the fruit logo company's first smartphone. The amount was outrageous at the time for a locked, unsubsidized handset. "I think this is a day that you’re going to see a change in how computers, how handheld computers are done", he told me. "I think we’ll look back in 10 or 15 years, and like on that day the gadget came out...it changed the game". Could anyone realistically disagree a decade later?
But you had to be a believer in June 2007, with iPhone launching on a single carrier (newly rebranded AT&T) in a single geography (USA) from a company with no cellular device experience going against hugely established competitors—with Nokia, the smartphone's inventor, standing atop the heap. By every sensible measure imaginable, Jobs and his team took nothing but risks, making Steve the customer's prediction all the more remarkable.
Today the European Union gave Apple a great gift to celebrate iPhone's 10th anniversary (on June 29th): The ridiculous, record $2.7 billion fine, and associated sanctions, against Google that once again demonstrates the EU's small-minded oversight that wrongly regulates evolving technologies in a big world. The adverse antitrust ruling finds that the online titan favored its own online shopping services (and paying customers) over rivals.
In February 2010, with the EU Competition Commission's preliminary investigation starting, I rightly called "Google a dangerous monopoly". Seven years later, the competitive landscape has dramatically changed, and rapidly evolves. The Commission's action is too much, too late, and in the short-term can only benefit rivals like Apple that will dominate online activities and commerce as what we knew as traditional web search becomes something else.
Just a few weeks ago, Apple revealed iOS 11 at WWDC 2017. While a few things have been taken away in this version of the operating system, plenty have been added, and this is being seen as one of the most significant upgrades for iPhone and iPad owners.
iOS 11 will be an important aspect of the upcoming iPhone 8, but it's also going to be a substantial update for anyone with an iPhone 5s or newer, or a supported iPad. We've already seen a developer preview released, but now there's an official public beta of iOS 11, and you can install it right now.
Back in April, Imagination Technologies revealed that it had been dropped by Apple and would therefore no longer be supplying GPU chips for use in iPhones, iPads and other products. Now, having lost 70 percent of its value, the UK company is putting itself up for sale.
Shares in Imagination fell dramatically after Apple ditched it, but news of the sale led to a jump of 21 percent. The company is valued at around £425 million ($538 million) and the announcement comes after several parties expressed interest in an acquisition of Imagination Technologies Group plc in its entirety.
The launch of the iPhone 8 is still some way off but -- as with just about every smartphone of note (we're looking at you, OnePlus 5) -- lots of details have slipped out ahead of any official announcement. The latest leak "confirms" what we've long expected: that there's a quite significant redesign coming up.
We have already heard rumors that the iPhone will be near-bezel-less, and we've seen supposed production-line images that show off the front and rear panels. The front panel images showed a weird cut-out at the top of the phone and a new listing on accessory website MobileFun for an "Olixar iPhone 8 Full Cover Tempered Glass Screen Protector" appears to back this up.
Although I love the look of my Jet Black iPhone 7, I can be a bit clumsy at times, so I’ll always protect it with a case. There are plenty of phone case choices out there, but my new favorites -- by some margin -- are those from the RÖK collection.
The latest cases from WÜD are made with real stone harvested from a slate quarry. The pieces are sliced thinly, so they don’t add a lot of weight to your device (around 1.2oz/34 grams), and each one is handcrafted and unique. The cases aren’t exclusive to the iPhone either -- you can buy them for numerous Samsung models, Google Pixel phones, and the LG V20.
Apple now allows you to tip developers via in-app purchases -- and creams a bit off the top for itself
If you're particularly fond of an app, you may feel like showing your appreciation to the developer by throwing a little money in their direction. Apple is now making this possible by permitting tipping from within apps using in-app purchases.
This is great news for developers who had previously found Apple cracking down on tipping, but it's also good news for Apple's finances. Updated App Store policies permit developers to enable in-app tipping, and Apple takes a 30 percent commission for this privilege.
I have a one-year old Norwegian Forest cat called Daisy (see above) who likes to chew on cables. While she will occasionally have a go at thick cables, her preference is to gnaw on thinner ones. To date she has managed to destroy three microUSB charging cables, three Lightning cables, and two headphone cables. She’s very good at finding and biting through cables no matter how well hidden they are.
UNBREAKcable, from Syncwire, is a charging cable with a lifetime warranty -- if it breaks or malfunctions, the company will replace it for you free of charge. That sounds promising, but is it Daisy proof?
To celebrate the launch of Apple's new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, I ordered Pixel C, which arrived three days ago. Worst case, the tablet can be returned for refund during the buyer's remorse period; there ain't any regrets so far—just the opposite. To my pleasant surprise, the tab is much more enjoyable than I remember, because Nougat is so pretty, efficient, and buttery smooth than was Marshmallow on the device. The screen scorches any available iPad, Pro or otherwise, and the performance is shockingly nimble. My Pixel C shipped with Android 7.1.1 and quickly updated to 7.1.2. I will soon install Android O; Google released Developer Preview 3 yesterday.
There's a certain insanity to the purchase, which I am sure flaming commenters will just love. I reviewed Google's Android slate 15 months ago; that makes the thang ancient as measured in computing years. But Big G still sells the tab, and there must be a reason, right? I got another because a college student took possession of my first Pixel C in early 2016. With keyboard cover, the tablet makes a helluva handy carry-along on campus.
There are lots of new features in iOS 11 that will make the operating system more usable on iPhones and iPads. Apple has not previewed all of them at WWDC 2017 though, with one of the lesser-known additions being Wi-Fi sharing.
Normally, when you have guests who want to use your Wi-Fi you have to tell them the password so they can connect to the network. However, for iOS 11 users, the Wi-Fi sharing functionality removes this step from the process, letting you wirelessly send the password to their iPhones and iPads. How does it work?
Apple has long made it clear that support for 32-bit apps will be phased out eventually. On the iPhone and iPad side, the final nail in the coffin comes with iOS 11. However, macOS developers have a bit more time left to prepare for a 64-bit only future.
Starting next year, Apple will no longer accept 32-bit macOS apps in the App Store, which means that any new titles must be 64-bit from January onwards. However, for existing apps and their upcoming updates there is a different deadline.