A brief history of the iPhone

Apple released some financial results yesterday and once again, the iPhone drove everything for the company. At some point, Apple will become a trillion-dollar company, something that they could never have done without their phone/internet communicator/gaming device/Star Trek tricorder.

How did we get here? Wired has this history.

IT’S NOT JUST the best-selling gadget ever created: It’s probably the most influential one too. Since Steve Jobs announced the iPhone in 2007, Apple has sold more than 1.2 billion of them, creating giant businesses for app developers and accessory makers, and reimagining the way we live. Millions of people use an iPhone as their only computer. And their only camera, GPS, music player, communicator, trip planner, sex finder, and payment tool. It put the world in our pockets.

Before the iPhone, smartphones mostly copied the BlackBerry. After the iPhone, they all copied Apple: Most phones now have big screens, beautiful designs, and ever-improving cameras. And the iPhone Effect goes far beyond smartphones. In order to make so many phones, Apple and its competitors set up huge, whirling supply chains all over the world. Those same manufacturers now make the same parts to power drones, smart-home gadgets, wearables, and self-driving cars. They don’t look like your phone, but they might not be here without it.

Thanks to the iPhone and the apps developed for it, the world has reorganized itself around the smartphone, and a few people have started to wonder what the iPhone hath wrought. They worry that we spend too much time buried in our phones, heads down, ignoring the people and the world around us. The iPhone ushered in a new era of connectedness, where we can access anything and anyone at any time. But with that comes that now-familiar sense of undefinable stress, the feeling like there’s always too much going on and you can never get away even if you want to. The iPhone changed so many things, some of which we’re only just now grappling with.

Keep reading.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38308 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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