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My 10 years with the iPhone

My 10 years with the iPhone

Thoughts on each generation of the iPhone and how it created trends that the industry would follow

It's been ten years since the original iPhone was introduced by Steve Jobs and, needless to say, it changed the mobile landscape for ever. Companies such as BlackBerry and Microsoft that had shrugged it off have already tombstones for their mobile devices. Except for the iPhone 5c, I've had the pleasure of using every single iPhone that was ever released and even though I've switched to competing platforms, I keep coming back to the iPhone. In this article, I thought I'd summarize my thoughts on the different iPhone models I've used over the years. 

The first iPhone was locked to the AT&T network in the US but it was so far ahead of its time that every phone enthusiast on the planet wanted one. A few weeks after its release, a hardware hack was figured out which let the iPhone work outside the AT&T network. Between myself and a buddy of mine, we ordered five of them from an unauthorized reseller at quite a price. I remember dismantling the units to perform the hardware mod and killing two phones in the process. But three survived and I was given my first dose of the future. I had used touch screen phones before but the capacitive touch experience on the iPhone was so far ahead of its time that it was magical. Soon, the rest of the industry followed. 

As much as I loved the original iPhone, I couldn't use it as my primary phone because it did not support Microsoft Exchange or BBM which was the most widely used chat app back then. But Apple changed that and a lot more with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS models that followed. You no longer had to mod the hardware to make it work and the introduction of the App Store changed the industry again. Instead of downloading files from random developer websites, the App Store introduced a unified space for downloading and installing apps on your phone. Soon, the rest of the industry followed.  

Apple firmly pegged itself as a master in design with the introduction of the iPhone 4. Where other phones were trying to copy the original iPhone, the redesigned iPhone 4 completely overhauled its look and it was stunning. The dual glass panes wrapped up in metal showed the world that phones can be sexy. It was also the first phone with a high resolution Retina display. Following that was the blazing fast iPhone 4S that introduced us to Siri, a voice assistant everyone fell in love with. Soon, the rest of the industry followed. 

With the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S Apple moved away from an all glass design to metal on the back- a design that has lasted until now. It was also the first time since the introduction of the iPhone that Apple increased the size of the display. The iPhone 5 retired the 30-pin iPod connector in favor of the reversible Lightning port that is only now being adopted by the rest of the industry through a USB Type C. With the iPhone 5, Apple also started focusing on providing a fantastic camera experience that got even better with the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S laid the foundation on which the next few iPhone models will be built on.We also saw a revamped iOS7 with a flat look and the introduction of the fingerprint sensor TouchID.  Soon, the rest of the industry followed. 

And that brings us to Apple's latest design that has now lasted for three generations- the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 7. Although I wasn't a big fan of the new design, the tweaks made by Apple in the last couple of years have made it much more elegant. With these new models, Apple finally gave us a big and a really big sized phone. Apple also introduced features such as Apple Pay, 3D Touch and a fantastic camera.  

But in these last couple of years, Android manufacturers have caught up, and even surpassed Apple as far as hardware and design is concerned. Devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, the Xiaomi Mi Mix and the Huawei Mate 9 have swayed me over to use Android a lot more often than U used to. But I always come back to the iPhone. The quality and polish of apps as well as the cohesiveness offered by Apple doing the hardware and software is unmatched and creates a better overall user experience than any other phone. 

That being said, Google is also in the game now and Apple really needs to turn on the heat. I can't wait to see how this year's 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone ups the game so the rest of the industry can follow.

Abbas Jaffar Ali

Abbas Jaffar Ali

Founder of tbreak.com, Abbas has been living and breathing technology before phones became smart or clouds started storing data.

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