It's easy to look back at how complicated life was before smartphones.
In the nine years since the iPhones release, smartphones have become a ubiquitous part of our lives, so much so that many of the functions that our phones now quickly perform have made us forget our low-tech pasts.
But the reality is that we couldn’t even take selfies with a front-facing camera before 2010, so here’s to not taking things for granted by looking at the top life-simplifying features introduced or mastered by the iPhone.
Mobile phone design went through a seismic shift after the first iPhone because of one central feature: the touchscreen. Overnight, flip phones went out of vogue and the iPhone’s capacitive touchscreen became the golden standard of phone design (good riddance to that awkward BlackBerry keyboard).
As early as iOS 1.0 the iPhone had functioning pinch-to-zoom gestures along with inertial scrolling capabilities, and when that functionality was combined with a software keyboard no one wanted to ever go back to using a stylus.
Internet in your hand
Another major game changer had to be the fact that the iPhone transformed the way that we use the internet while out of home. By introducing a mobile version of Apple’s Safari browser, we were able to access the web in a way that we’d never done before on a phone, changing the way that we consume information forever.
Watching media, playing games and unique sensors
It was a huge deal to go from black-and-white scrolling iPods to iPhones that could show widescreen video in six years, especially because the iPhone’s ability to display books and play music, movies and television cut down on the amount of devices you had to carry around.
The iPhone also made mobile gaming much more powerful, intuitive and enjoyable with its inclusion of an accelerometer and gyroscope, features that detect the orientation of the phone by how you’re moving it. These features have revolutionised the way we use our devices, and the good news is that they’ll only get better in the years to come.
The App Store
iOS 2’s introduction of the App Store presented third party apps in a native, ordered and unified marketplace. This allowed thousands of new possibilities for the iPhone in an instant. The App Store experience was leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors, especially compared to older phones that required most third party applications be downloaded from disparate places on the web or, at best, clunky external app stores – seems like a major drag today, right?
Find my iPhone
Friend of the prone-to-losing, the stolen-from, and those people who just don’t ever know where they put their phone, the Find My iPhone app was introduced in iOS 3 and remains a mainstay of the device’s security features. Installing it let you send messages to your phone, make it play audio, or even wipe it all remotely using your iCloud account. It may be personal experience coming into play here, but I’d say it’s one of the best things to hit the market since sliced bread.
You might not even know what this is even though you probably look at it nearly fifty times a day: the springboard app is the name of Apple’s basic grid-layout home screen that’s now mimicked by most mobile operating systems.
In 1987 Apple released a concept video of the “Knowledge Navigator,” a digital assistant remarkably similar in spirit to what we know today as Siri. The virtual assistant that launched with iOS 5 in 2011 was able to understand naturally spoken language, solving a big problem that had plagued speech-parsing applications and leading us—whether we like it or not—into the future of AI. Sure, Siri can throw a whole lot of shade our way, but AI technology is bound to only get better from here on in, so we’ll undoubtedly start to use AI’s like Siri more with our smartphones in the future.