It’s hard to believe that Apple launched its first iPhone a decade ago. Yes, it’s 10 years of the iPhone now. It was a device that came along and completely changed the game for the mobile and technology industry. At a time of Nokia N95s, Motorola RAZRs and for the business-minded folk, the BlackBerry Curve, no one could have predicted just how much the iPhone could change our lives.
The iPhone has taken the humble mobile phone to a whole new level – we’ve gone from a device that was designed for mainly texting and calling, to a mini-computer in our pockets. One that allows us to manage our bank accounts, control the heating in our homes, listen to our favorite tunes and to pay for just about anything. And that’s without the social media phenomena of Snapchatting, Tweeting, and Instagramming that leads so many of us to take pictures of our food before we eat it. With a device so iconic, we decided to look back over the last 10 years of the iPhone to celebrate the device in all its glory. But also, to understand the impact it has had on the secondary device market.
There are a couple of reasons why the iPhone has been such an iconic device. The first is because it really kick-started the mobile internet revolution. There were phones in the 2000s that did have internet capabilities, but they were slow, and were nothing like the internet experience on a PC. If you added data to your tariff, you would be lucky to get 1MB – certainly not enough to tag you or your friends at your favorite restaurant on Facebook. Aside from the revolutionary user interface and experience, the real reason that the iPhone was such a significant innovation was because Apple had thought well beyond the device – it had developed an entire ecosystem. Central to this was the birth of the App. Apple threw down the gauntlet to developers and they have delivered a plethora of Apps that have changed the way we live – from making payments to retrieving boarding tickets, online dating, booking restaurants and so on. Even for his appearance was a lot of phones that adapt the style of the iPhone case, because not only its technological capabilities are qualified but accompanied by a fairly modern look
Creating the App Store and in turn, a developer ecosystem, means these apps can be commercialized too. It’s thanks to Apple that we have the phrase “there’s an app for that”! Since the launch of the iPhone, we have seen Apple drive mobile innovation with every new device it’s launched – we’ve gone from the iPhone 3G to the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, we’ve seen upgrades to the camera, the introduction of the lightning connector (to the frustration of many who had to buy new docking systems), and not forgetting, our good friend Siri. We’ve also seen the introduction of the Plus devices, meeting market demands for bigger phones, while the 5C and the SE have given consumers the option of an iPhone at a much lower price tag. However, Apple has done a lot more than just create an ecosystem with the iPhone – it has effectively created a secondary market – the used device market. IDC has reported that the global market for used smartphones will grow to over 222 million units in 2020, and will be worth $30 billion – a market that is being driven by device trade-ins. Before iPhones and smartphones came to be, feature phones didn’t really have much of an afterlife – they were either handed down to a relative until they simply stopped working, or put in the back of a drawer. But a few years after the launch of the iPhone, it was clear that smartphones and iPhones were having a huge impact on the trade-in market.
There is no doubt that the iPhone has impacted our lives for the better. By bringing connectivity to the masses, it is a device that many of us couldn’t live without. It’s also having profound effects on markets around the world, allowing more people to enjoy the device more affordably. So, here’s to another 10 years of the iPhone, and the innovations Apple will continue to bring to the market.