Apple’s innovative iPhone has had an extremely large impact on the American way of life as it has made life simpler by putting a large amount of information in the palm of users’ hands, being a tool with numerous functionalities, as well as being a platform that provides endless innovative possibilities.


The Birth of Transmitted Audio Communication

In June of 1875 a man by the name of Alexander Graham Bell had discovered that sound could be transmitted over a wire. With the help of Thomas Watson, an electrician he had found to assist him, he began to work towards a device that could transmit different tones of sound by varying electronic currents. After a year of hard work on March 10, 1876, a key date in the history of communication, the words "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you." were transmitted over wire and thus the telephone was born (Bellis, 2015).


The Telephone Goes Wireless

The telephone was an astounding invention but it had its limitations. It had to be connected to a telephone outlet which meant users were limited to using the device not only in their home but in a specific room in their home. On September 21, 1983 the Motorola DynaTac was approved by the United States Federal Communications Commission making it the first mobile phone (Motorola, 2013). The phone would become available to consumers the following year launching an era of mobile communications that would pave the way for the iPhone.


A "Smarter" Smart Phone

Smart phones were devices that extended the capabilities of the mobile phone to being able to carry out some tasks a computer could such as checking email (Cassavoy, 2016). By 2007 there were four top contenders in the smart phone market: the Motorola Q, the Blackberry, the Palm Treo, and the Nokia E62. The problem with these smart phones was the fact that they were difficult to use, had clunky physical keyboards, and didn't provide much room for different applications to have a different user interface (Jobs, 2007). In January of 2007 at the MacWorld expo in San Francisco Steve Jobs announced the invention known as the iPhone and explained numerous features that set the iPhone apart from its competitors.


Smart to the Touch

The phone would have an on screen keyboard, which meant the entire front side of the phone would be one large screen. The touch screen would not require a stylus, users could simply use their fingers. The phone even recognized multi-finger gestures which meant tapping with two fingers would have a different function from tapping with one (Jobs, 2007). The iPhone contained numerous capabilities and the possibilities were endless as to what the phone could do.


What Makes the iPhone so Smart?

The iPhone had three key points of contrast when compared to its competitors. All of the smartphones at the time the iPhone was released could only run WAP browsers, which was extremely different from a computer web browser in the fact that it was very limited (Ritchie, 2015). The iPhone was the first phone to have a fully usable HTML browser, Safari (Jobs, 2007).The next point of contrast was the mail app. The iPhone's mail application could hook up to any IMAP or POP3 email providers, which was a great deal of providers such as Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo. The iPhone featured push IMAP email meaning that when an email was received by the provider it would directly show up on the iPhone, although this feature was already implemented in Blackberries, the iPhone's email experience provided users with a better interface. Users could maintain numerous email accounts in an easy manner (Barger, 2007). Numerous smartphones at the time had GPS capabilities, but what made the iPhone stand out was the fact that it provided a Google Maps experience much like that on a computer; however, it made great use of the iPhones touch controls. For example a user could add information about a certain restaurant to their address book with a simple double finger tap (Barger, 2007).


"An iPod, a Phone, and an Internet Communications Device"
(Jobs, 2007).

Before the iPhone, Apple was known for their extremely popular portable music player known as the iPod. In August of 2007 the 100 millionth iPod was sold making it the fastest selling music player on the market (Neumayr, Monaghan, 2007). It just made sense for Apple to include music playing capabilities in their iPhone, and they did. When the iPhone was released in 2007 it featured an application called "iPod" which had the same capabilities of the popular music player. Users could sync their iPhone with iTunes and transfer music from their library to their phones. The app has since been improved and the "iPod" name was changed to "Music" when apple released its iOS 5 software update (Page, 2011).


A Platform for Innovation

Apple was not the first company to allow third party developers to create applications for their phones, but they were able to make a really nice interface for users to browse applications simply and download both paid and free application (Frommer, 2009). In the course of nine months users had downloaded 1 billion apps from the app store.

The App Store was not just a victory for Apple on the consumer end, but also on the developer side. Before Apple introduced the App Store, only certain developers were able to create applications for smart phones based on a contract of sorts with the companies. When the App Store was created, it meant anyone with an Apple account and a small bit of money could create applications for the phone. Allowing almost anyone to create applications meant that the iPhone was a platform with infinitely many possibilities, and platforms are meant to be built on (Grossman, 2007).


Generations of Innovation

The release of the iPhone had an extremely large impact on not only America, but the entire world. It wasn't simply the fact that the iPhone changed the world in 2007, but it continued to change the world each and every time a new generation model was released. Since the release in 2007 there have been 10 different models of the iPhone released; however, only 5 of the 10 models are major changes such as increasing the size and resolution of the screen and redesigning the phone. The other 5 are the "S" versions of each generation that improve the internal components of the phones like faster processors as well as some hardware like improved cameras, and the addition of a fingerprint sensor (Heath, 2015).


A Personal Assistant at Your Fingertips

In October of 2011 at the World Wide Developers Conference Apple introduced its friendly piece of artificial intelligence known as Siri. Siri was meant to be a personal assistant to anyone who owned an iPhone 4s or newer model. She could check stocks, reply to text messages, mark calendars, and much more (Forstall, 2011). Siri was going to be a game changer with her ability of voice recognition the world was going to become even simpler than Apple had already made it, and it also made smart phones accessible to individuals who may not have been able to use them before.

A 15 year old girl by the name of Lex Arriola uses her iPhone daily like any other young teenager; however, what sets her apart from her peers is the fact that she was born blind. With the use of Siri she is able to navigate around her phone and read text messages including the emojis that are sent, since Siri will describe the emoji that was sent. For example (😱) "Face Screaming in Fear" (Hernandez, 2015). Since it's release in 2011 Siri has constantly been improved and now supports even more functionalities then when it was created.


Picture Perfect

Although the original iPhone had only a 2 mega-pixel camera and no facetime camera, the 2 mega-pixels were standard for phones during 2007 (Shanklin, 2015). Today the most recent iPhones, the 6s and the 6s Plus, both contain 12 mega-pixel cameras and the camera has its color filters inside photo diodes leading to more color precision (Keller, 2015). Simply put, the iPhone's camera has come a very long way from when it was originally released. The newest camera has the ability to record 4k video which means it can record in a 4096x2160 resolution compared to the standard HD video of 1920x1080 pixels (Jukic, 2016).

Clearly Apple has had a strong focus on improving the camera quality on their phones, and it has become a great convenience to consumers. The days of having to carry around a point and shoot camera on vacation trips have come to an end thanks to the iPhone. In addition to that, you never know when a once in a lifetime moment would occur that you want to capture in a photo, before the iPhone if you didn't have your point and shoot camera with you then you were out of luck. Luckily, that isn't the case anymore.


A New Way to Pay

Another way Apple has made life simpler for its consumers is with the introduction of Apple Pay, a secure and simple way for users to pay in stores and in applications on their device. The new form of payment was announced in September of 2014. Apple Pay originally supported credit and debit cards from the three major payment networks, American Express, MasterCard, and Visa (Kerris, Muller, 2014). Today it also includes rewards cards from numerous retail stores.

Clearly storing credit or debit card information on a device that can be compromised in a way raised questions regarding the security of information. But as a matter of fact, the information is not stored on the device nor on Apple servers. Instead a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored on the iPhone (Kerris, Muller, 2014). With this Apple Pay provides users with the simplicity of having all their payment cards in one place, allowing for a less packed wallet.


The Spark That Ignited Silicon Valley's Start Ups

If it weren't for the iPhone some of the apps we have grown to love like Instagram, Snapchat, Uber, and Vine wouldn't exist. The introduction of the iPhone lead to a large array of developers creating applications for it. Some of those apps ended up being billion dollar companies, and if it weren't for the iPhone they would not exist (Yarow, 2013). The iPhone platform ignited the flame of the start up culture, with thousands of developers releasing applications on the App Store hoping to turn their small dream into a big company.

The iPhone has indirectly created jobs, if you think about it, considering how many start ups have been built off the iPhone platform its opening up a large amount of jobs in the tech field. The market demand for Software Developers, Engineers, Product Managers, and numerous other positions has risen since the release of the iPhone. By 2012 the app economy had created 519,000 jobs across the United States (Mandel, Scherer, 2012).


Full Speed Ahead

The iPhone has made numerous impacts that make the lives of its users much simpler; however, it's not all about the instant affects the iPhone has had on the world. The original iPhone that was released in 2007 lacked many features that iPhones have today, but its importance does not diminish due to that. Without the original iPhone there would be no iPhone 6s or iPhone 6 plus. The iPhone has also lead to a very important advancement in the tech world as well on a development level.

In June of 2014 Apple announced a new programming language named Swift, which would replace the previously used Objective-C language for both iOS and OSX development (Muller, Newell, 2014). The new language would provide a lot more efficiency and simplicity for developers, and Apple even says that the language is, "friendly to new programmers" (Apple, 2016). This language has since become a basis for not only developing iPhone applications and Mac applications, but also applications for the Apple TV and Watch. In addition to it being used universally on all Apple Platforms, in December of 2015 Apple also announced that the Swift programming language would be open source, meaning that the large community of developers can contribute to the improvements and new features that Swift will implement in future updates (Smith, Meza, 2015). The iPhone has impacted the world not only in a short term upon its release, but long term, and there is no telling what the future holds thanks to this revolutionary piece of technology.

The iPhone has had an extremely large impact on not only the American way of life, but the entire world's way of life. The iPhone has made life simpler for all of its users by providing them with an almost infinite amount of information, being a technological swiss army knife as it provides many functionalities that continue to grow, and being a piece of technology that will continue to grow and surprise the world. Thanks to the iPhone developers can create apps with ease, users can enjoy the simplicity of having their camera, wallet, GPS, music, and so much more all in one place, and the tech world can enjoy the benefits of the new Swift development language. It's difficult to imagine a world where the iPhone never existed, and honestly... Why would anyone want to?