The wait is finally over. Apple has announced its latest smartphones dubbed as iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The launch marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone since the first one was launched in 2007.
Over the years, Apple has incorporated upgrades to the iPhone to get it to what it is today. But did Apple really add anything radically new to its flagship phone?
The original iPhone, launched in 2007, changed the way we thought about phones. A device with touchscreen capabilities was not very mainstream at a time when everyone owned phones with buttons. Naturally it caught the world’s attention.
The touch screen feature was nothing new, but it was the first phone which really shook the market and made major manufacturers play catch up.
Yet iPhones would not have a FM radio chip for years, a feature widely available even on cheap phones of that time.
When the iPhone 3GS launched in 2009, it surprised the world by not including a flash or a front camera, again a standard feature among top tier phones. The first iPhone to have built in flash was the iPhone 4 in 2010. Back in 2007 when the first iPhone was launched, its major competitor was the Nokia N95, announced in 2006. The N95 not only sported a better 5MP camera, it also had a LED flash, much like several other high end devices.
IPhone 7 plus happens to be the first iPhone to sport dual cameras, a feature that had been made available way back in 2007, just two months before the launch of the iPhone. Back then the dual camera set-ups were not perfect and manufactures experimented with 3D images. However, the image quality was subpar despite the hardware offering several features. Soon the fascination for dual cameras died until 2016 when LG launched the G5 and Huawei’s P9/P9 Plus. Other manufacturers like Samsung and Xiaomi followed suit and so did Apple.
IPhone did not have customizable wallpapers for a long time, a common feature for all devices.
Perhaps the first virtual assistant used on a phone was Siri, introduced in iPhone 4. Cortana, Alexa and Google Now followed Apple. But some phones did support basic voice commands that allowed calling and toggling a few features.
In 2010, Google announced the Nexus S which featured a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, following which several companies designed phones with NFC chips built in. IPhone users had to wait till the launch of iPhone 6 in 2014 to get NFC functionality.
Apple’s fingerprint scanner, known as TouchID was launched with the iPhone 5s in 2013. Again Apple failed to become the first company to apply a new piece of technology to their phones. Motorola’s Atrix, launched in 2011 was the first phone to sport a fingerprint scanner. Sadly, Motorola ditched the feature later on and fingerprint scanner would not become mainstream until the launch of the iPhone 5s.
IPhone have traditionally sported LCD displays unlike their competition. With the launch of the iPhone X, we finally see the entry of OLED on an iPhone. Apple’s competitors like Samsung, LG and others have had OLED displays on several phone models for years. It is heartening to see Apple finally catching up.
This is 2017 and we are looking forward to waterproof phones. But this is not a new concept, in fact, the first ones were designed and marketed back in 2005 with the Casio Canu 502S / GZ'One. Apple played catch up on department as well. Barring the iPhone 7 and above, none of the previous phones from Apple were waterproof. IPhone 6 and 6s are only water resistant, which means it can survive a few spills or maybe a quick dunk, but if submerged for too long, the device will be history.
A lot has been spoken about the android vs iPhone debate but this not a post on that. A few hours before the iPhone 8 launch, Qualcomm tweeted an image listing all innovations made by Android devices compared to “other platforms.” With the iPhone launch being only a few hours away, it didn’t take long for people to guess whom it was meant for. [tweet available]
The iPhone has completed 10 years of existence. We have seen it evolve from the small screen iPhone 1st gen to the mammoth iPhone X. every year a “new” feature has been added to iPhone. But are these features really new? It seems that Apple has modified and refined technology before releasing it to the public. While this is a smart move as it cuts down flak that one can expect if a new feature does not perform as expected, it also leads us to wonder if iPhone ever had a feature that is truly new in the smartphone industry. Could it mean that Apple isplaying a catch up game with its competitors?