It’s been 10 years since the iPhone first became available to the public. And since it was released back in June 2007, a lot has changed in the mobile industry. In fact, many of the changes in the industry were brought about, or at least influenced by, the iPhone.
For starters, the iPhone was the first hugely successful mass-market mobile to be operated completely by a touch screen without a stylus. Before the iPhone, ‘flip phones’, and phones with a split keyboard and screen, were the norm. The huge success and usability of the iPhone’s full size touch screen changed the industry in a matter of months. If you think about the phones we carry around in our back pockets today, almost all of them will boast full touch screen capabilities. It’s only now that ‘flip phones’ and ‘retro’ phones are coming back into the market with a wave of nostalgia – Samsung has been rumoured to be launching a new flip phone, the so-called Galaxy X, that comes with two screens.
Since its rise to fame, the iPhone also helped to develop the App Store, which created a brand new source of revenue for both Apple and brand owners. The success of the iPhone reduced the dominance that handset manufacturers like Nokia and Blackberry previously had over the mass-market, and gave brand owners greater access to consumers. In recent years we have seen a huge growth in demand for mobile apps, and app makers’ total income from the App Store is now more than $60bn.
Over the past few years, we’ve also seen NFC payments growing in popularity, as retailers update their IT infrastructure to support a faster payment tool. Back in July 2015, the launch of Apple Pay gave contactless payments a huge push and brought the ‘mobile wallet’ to the everyday consumer. In fact, the number of transations made by Apple Pay has risen by 450% in the last quarter, compared to the same period a year ago.
This will most likely continue to grow as consumers and businesses alike move towards a ‘digital first’ payment model and slowly move away from traditional cash purchases. This comes down to the fact that electronic payments are more convenient for consumers, and are quicker, easier and more accuracte for retailers to process.
On top of these developments, we can’t forget the birth of the pioneering Apple Watch back in April 2015, which was also powered by the iPhone. When it was first announced to the public, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, called it ‘the most advanced timepiece ever created’ which is a massive statement in itself. But let’s not forget that the Apple Watch relies on being wirelessly connected to an iPhone 5 or a later version of the device – without it, the watch has limited functionality.
These are just a few examples of how the iPhone has conquered the mass market and brought about a wave of change in the mobile industry.
And looking to the future, it doesn’t seem like the iPhone is set to stop disrupting the market anytime soon. With the growth of new tech like Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and machine learning, the opportunities for Apple to keep developing its devices are endless.
Two areas in particular that are quickly advancing are the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G. Mobile operators, networks and manufacturers are gearing up for the introduction of 5G networks, which will allow phone users to consume vast amounts of data, in addition to what has already been possible through 4G (which was created to predominantly enable video streaming).
The launch of 5G will be a huge driving force behind IoT, as its larger bandwidth will enable everyday devices and computing systems to connect seamlessly with each other and transfer huge amounts of data quicker than ever before. The smartphone will be central to this, with apps controlling multiple elements of IoT connectivity, such as home heating or security systems – it’s likely that the iPhone will be the smartphone to lead the way for IoT through the ever-growing App Store.
In the near future, location tracking will become more important too. Although data security remains a key concern for many users – our latest report found that three quarters (74%) of consumers said they were most concerned about the security of their information stored on apps – location tracking and GPS has opened up a wealth of digital opportunities for iPhone users. Companies like Uber and Just Eat have developed hugely successful business models in a very short space of time, with this technology central to their service offerings. And as mobile technology continues to advance, this trend isn’t unlikely to slow down and we could well see other businesses across a range of sectors rising up and taking advantage of what’s on offer.
It’s worth noting that the original iPhone didn’t even have any GPS location tracking capability, so this is quite a significant development that will most likely become even more advanced as consumers are able to utilise this functionality for hyper-localisation services. This could be in the form of promotional offers that are presented to customers through their iPhones when they’re in-store and approach items the retailer knows they’re interested in.
Over the last 10 years that the iPhone has been available, smartphones have continued to develop, getting more intelligent and innovative year after year. And as Apple continues to be a major player in the mobile phone market, it’s highly likely that we’ll see even greater developments over the next 10 years. It will be extremely exciting and interesting to see what else Apple can come up with to make our devices even smarter.
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Nick Black, CEO, Apadmi
Image Credit: Jeshoots / Pixabay