There are countless stories swimming the internet at the moment which examine just how important the iPhone has been to the world of technology, and indeed the world in general.
Without doubt it has been a hugely important product and one that many of us cannot imagine living without, but what would have happened had it not existed and if it were 0 today instead of 10?
Part of me wonders if the likes of Palm, Microsoft, HTC and the rest had been left to continue slowly enhancing their products, would we be in the same position today? Apps were always important for Palm and Windows Mobile users, and our phones would not have been the same without them. The process was clunky at times and it was not easy to install apps, but the likes of PalmGear did a good enough job of allowing us to implant extra features and entertainment into our incredibly sophisticated, at the time, devices.
I remember well going to Orlando in 2006 and being amazed at how many things my Treo 650 could do and how well it kept me organised. Almost everything I needed to do could be done and of course it kept me communicated as well.
We should remember that at the start of 2007 much of what we enjoy today simply was not around. Twitter was 1 year old, Facebook was 3 year’s old and the mobile internet was still relatively infant. 3G was older, but the average speeds were not great and so I do wonder if 2007 just happened to be perfect timing on the part of Apple in terms of what would follow that enhanced the capabilities.
It is true to say that the iPhone came along at the right time, but it also brought with it some design features that could utilise what was to follow perfectly. In particular the big screen and the lack of a stylus. These alone changed the entire path of the industry and over the next few years made all of us change as well. No more styluses, no more hardware keyboards, just fingers and a big screen which felt more natural than anything that had come before.
Apps followed and were light years ahead of what had come before so we should give credit to Apple for that because they, eventually, saw the potential here and did that classic Apple thing of making the process as easy as possible. The company was not even trading on the name because few of us expected Apple to become a big player in the mobile industry. Sure the iPod was a giant and the Mac was growing in popularity very slowly, but phones? No, only phone companies can do phones.
I believe that Apple has done somethings that did in fact change everything, but I would love to see what phones looked like today had the iPhone never existed. It would be foolish to even contemplate what they would look like, but it is safe to say that they would be very different. I’m not convinced they would be lesser than what we have today, but different is a guarantee.