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The iPhone's incredible, amazing 10-year history

Jan 10, 2017 at 1:17pm
Apple's iconic computer nugget is 10 years old and how it's changed.

When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone in 2007, it was a squat, chubby gadget sold largely on the merit that you could use it as a "widescreen iPod."

In the decade since, the device has evolved into arguably the most iconic bit of consumer electronics of the 21st century. Its influence is hard to overstate.

Say what you will about social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and the ability to take high-def photos or livestream video with a device that fits in your pocket—none of it would exist in the forms we enjoy today without smartphones. And smartphones probably wouldn't be what they are without the iPhone leading the charge.

Not that Apple's pull has always been a great thing.

For instance: The ultra-compact form factor has rubbed off on rivals like Samsung, producing a glut of hard-to-recycle electronics that people are constantly pressured to upgrade (even by one's subconscious). Intimate conversations at dinner are now accompanied by a buzzing temptation from below. People text during movies. And who hasn't drifted to sleep under the bright blue glow of their smartphone screen?

Still, there's no debate that the iPhone is capital-I Important. Reflect on its power with this quick look through the device's 10-year history:
Steve Jobs teased his audience at the 2007 Macworld SF conference with the reveal of an "iPhone" that looked like a rotary iPod.

And here it is, in Jobs' hands publicly for the first time. From afar, the device really doesn't look so different than the versions of it many of us are using today. In fact, some problems from those very first moments persist—though they'd be framed differently today.

"Bottom line: Heavy BlackBerry addicts may not want to jump ship just yet," David Pogue wrote in The New York Times after struggling with the touchscreen keyboard and autocorrect for the first time.

Apple would finally allow the installation of third-party keyboard apps in 2014 with iOS 8—and some of them mitigate problems by encouraging different typing techniques or reformatting the keyboard's layout. Even so, many would say typing on a smartphone screen remains a frustrating experience that's inferior to mechanical keyboards.



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