Ten years ago, the original iPhone hit stores in the U.S. for the first time and revolutionized how companies designed and built cellphones.
When then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the Macworld Conference & Expo in January 2007, he announced that the company would be releasing a wide-screen iPod with touch controls, a next-generation mobile phone and a breakthrough internet device.
It turned out he wasn’t launching three devices, but one. Now, a decade later, here are some of the technologies that the original iPhone and its successors have made must-haves for all modern smartphones.
The iPhone’s most obvious contribution was to ditch the physical keyboard.
Prior to 2007, phones fell into two main camps: feature phones with a numeric keypad or “smartphones” like the Blackberry with a full QWERTY keyboard. The latter sometimes came with a touchscreen but they required a stylus to operate and weren’t really suitable for typing.
The iPhone instead featured a 3.5-inch (9 centimeters) LCD screen with multi-touch technology. Not only did this get rid of the stylus in favor of what Jobs said was the ultimate pointing device — our finger — it enabled “smart” functions like pinch-to-zoom and physics-based interaction that presented on-screen elements as real objects with weight, size and intuitive responses.
More importantly, it allowed the screen to cover the entire face of the phone, which was the basis of many of the devices’ other innovations.