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iPhone - Who wants a stylus?!

Updated: Apr 4

“Every once in a while, a product comes along that changes everything."

Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

It's hard to imagine a world without smartphones; at least for my generation. We've grown up, almost all of our lives, with super-computers packed with billions of transistors stuffed into our pockets. Would we have the advanced phones that we have today if it hadn't have been for Steve Jobs and Jony Ive?

I don't think so.

iPhone, in my opinion, has probably had one of the biggest impacts on the world of any product in recent history.

It was released at an Apple Keynote event in 2007, where Steve began the reveal by stating that Apple was releasing "three revolutionary products".

"An iPod"

"A phone"

"And an internet communicator"

"An iPod"

"A phone"

"Are you getting it?!"

"These are not three separate devices. This is one device."

"And we are calling it..."



"Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone."

Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

And they did. Apple completely changed the smartphone, making radical jumps from the current smartphones on the market and shaping the industry that we see today.

Before the iPhone, smartphones had big, clunky, plastic keyboards. My first phone was an Alcatel, which was sort of like a BlackBerry. It had one of these awful keyboards, which even with my tiny, 6 year old hands, was almost impossible to type on. The other issue with these keyboards was that they were permanent. They're always there whether you needed them or not, they couldn't change to suit the application you were using, and the manufacturers couldn't update them after the product was shipped. "You can't run around and add a button on these things; they're already shipped". Apple revolutionised the industry with a full-screen device that displayed a touch screen keyboard; interchangeable between applications, temporarily removable when not required and updatable via software developments.

The touch screen on the iPhone was the real game changer. A screen that you could touch with your finger, "the best pointing device in the world - it works like magic". It seems bizarre nowadays to think that no one had really done this before. You could argue that other companies tried; IBM released a touch screen phone in the early 90s but it was nothing like that of the iPhone. It was so intuitive and it showed that Apple was highly perceptive of the issues currently at hand in other smartphones. Other devices on the market had those clunky keyboards, big buttons, and sometimes even a stylus.

"Who want's a stylus?!"

"You have to get 'em [out] and put them away and you lose 'em..."


"Nobody wants a stylus."

Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

It would be interesting to know what Steve would make of Apple Pencil...

The iPhone was a leap-frog product, not just in the mobile phone industry, but in the whole technology industry. I am beyond certain that, without it, we would have half of the technology that we have today. Other smartphones wouldn't have adapted and followed in the path of iPhone, as they so clearly did after it's release. Products such as the iPad, and thus subsequent tablets, would never have seen the light of day. The technology designed and developed to make iPad so thin and lightweight would never have been integrated in our laptops and desktop computers. The impact that iPhone has had on the world is truly incontrovertible.

The other major advantage that Apple had on its competitors was their ability to combine great hardware with great software. This is something that Apple still has a major advantage on today. Apple's hardware and software are integrated to the finest details. The fact that Apple makes their own software means that they can perfectly design their products to match the hardware, and vice versa. Companies such as Samsung can't do this in the same way; they rely on Google and Android to design software for their phones, and you can't get that harmony in the same way that you can with iPhone. Apple had begun to see the real benefits of this since the original Macintosh back in 1984, but the iPhone, yet again, took things to a whole new level.

Steve once said "I want to put a ding in the Universe", and I can think of countless occasions where he did just that. But the biggest, supernova causing, black hole forming, galaxy shattering "ding" that Steve Jobs put in the Universe - was iPhone.


Hardware Design - 10 / 10

The iPhone completely revolutionised the smartphone industry. It was like nothing on the market before it, and yet everything on the market after it followed in its footsteps. Apple, through hardware AND software, completely changed the mobile phone, with what seems like such obvious design implementations and decisions, but at the time were beautifully radical and chaotic.

Usability - 10 / 10

The integration of a multi-touch display into the original iPhone was a game changer. It made smartphones extremely easy to use, especially compared to how they were used before. The clunky buttons were gone, the stylus was gone, the complexity of the hardware was gone. But it wasn't just the hardware changes that made iPhone so easy to use. The software was intuitive and designed so well that it allowed people to use desktop-quality applications on a device that fit into your pocket. It was unheard of, and something that was never possible on the smartphones that came before it.

Fun Factor - 10 / 10

iPhone was a brand new, innovative consumer product. It allowed people to use their phone in a way they hadn't done before, as well as access things they'd never been able to access on their phones before. You could easily switch between YouTube and iPod, as well as capture photos that last a lifetime - literally. It was exciting, inventive and original. It caused a huge amount of excitement in the world, and continued to do so for a long time after its release.

Innovation - 10 / 10

As mentioned throughout this post, iPhone really did change the world. I feel like that sort of statement is usually arguable and debatable, but I also feel that's not the case when it comes to iPhone. The technology developed within the iPhone undoubtably impacted on every modern consumer tech product after it. However, it's not just the technology that made iPhone so innovative. Even just the notion of iPhone was so innovative in itself. It was radical Apple thinking at its absolute finest.

Aesthetic - 10 / 10

For its time, the original iPhone was the best looking phone on the market. All of the other smartphones were clunky, messy and covered in plastic from front to back. An aluminium back completely changed the general conception of how a smartphone looked, and got away from the tacky, cheap, plastic casings. The almost all-screen front gave the iPhone an aesthetic that no other smartphone had, and is something that Apple has worked on more and more over the years. In 2023, we now have iPhones that really do have an all-screen front; simplicity and minimalism at its unadulterated best. Apple take so much care in their physical design, with iPhone designed to be beautiful and aesthetic, as well as ergonomic and intuitive.

TOTAL - 10 / 10

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