The iPhone has sold more than 1.7 billion units and is mostly responsible for making its company, Apple, the first company to reach a market capitalization of $1 trillion.
By the time the first iPhone (iPhone 2G) was launched, 3G network was (although still in its early stages) already adopted by some smartphones. When the iPhone 2G was launched, it had an EDGE and 2G wireless network. These networks were awfully slow and drew several negative reviews. But the iPhone 2G would still go on to impress a lot more people and become the brand of the decade.
Before the iPhone was launched in 2007, the company focused on niche products. The smartphone industry was dominated by Nokia and Blackberry. Apple led by Steve Jobs spent a lot of money building and marketing the first iPhone but it was already destined to succeed. It had a strikingly different design from the other smartphones that were in the market. Unlike the other smartphones that had smaller screens and a multitude of buttons, the iPhone had a single button at the middle bottom of the phone. It was like holding a mirror in your face. The single button gave you access to the menu of the phone. The other buttons were replaced by a screen interface that allowed you to access applications and other interfaces with one click. The time you spent going through your phone to find what you’re looking for was cut drastically. You could swipe the screen to change the displayed item. You could pinch the screen to minimize or maximize items. The absence of a keyboard meant that the screen and display replaced the keyboard space, thereby increasing the display of the phone. This display made it possible for you to view the desktop version of websites on your phone and not the less aesthetic mobile versions. These features were not available before the iPhone 2G. It was quite revolutionary.
Other revolutionary innovations brought in by the iPhone 2G were the accelerometer that detected a rotation of the phone and flipped the display to retain the orientation of the display while adjusting it to maintain its ratio. It also introduced sensors that detected the ambient light conditions and adjusted the phone lights correspondingly to save power. Steve Jobs wanted the iPhone to serve practically as a minicomputer. Instead of being just a phone for doing the basics, he wanted it to do more. The iPhone 2G had a calender, notebook, GPS. It was also connected to itunes to revolutionize how we listen to music. You can also use iTunes to listen live radio. Despite its shortcomings, these groundbreaking features and Steve Jobs’ marketing genuis made it a huge success, selling millions of copies in its first few months of launch.
It didn’t take long for iPhone’s rivals such as Samsung to copy the design. With the help of Google’s operating system, android, Samsung has continued to give iPhone a run for their money. iPhone accused Samsung of copyright infringement and sued them. This case has been one of the most high profile court case in tech history.
Steve Jobs was a bit of a showman. He had a quiet charisma that made it easy for him to market anything. He knew the best way to arrange his words to strike the desired impression on his audience. He was a marketing guru. He was the face of iPhone and it will be difficult to extricate the man from the product.
Today, up to 900 million people depend on the iPhone for their business and social activities. For many iPhone users, there has never been a better product ever made. Many of them wouldn’t know that the iPhone probably wouldn’t have happened if the history of radio didn’t turn out the way it did.
The modern communication system for mobile phones such as the iPhone operate within the radio wave spectrum. This means that your calls, messages and files are sent as radio waves. Makes you wonder why people were burning cell towers over 5G technology but listen live radio on their smartphones.
Scientists always wanted to communicate across long distances without the wires used in telegraphy. They wanted a wireless system of communication. When this was finally invented, it was called many things such as ‘wireless telegraph’ or ‘wireless telephone’.
The first decade of the 20th century saw point to point communication by radio. As the First World War broke, the US government banned the use of radio receivers by civilians. This ban was lifted in 1919.
By the 1920s, radio programs were broadcasted to the public from different radio stations. This brought about worries related to the dangers too many voices and ideologies broadcasting to many people can bring. By the end of the 1920s, more than four million radio receivers were active in the US. These radio programs were broadcasted in AM. AM was also used in navigation and point to point communication.
Using the Radio Act of 1912, the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) was established and became the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in 1934. They were to regulated the activities or broadcasting stations.
The AM radio had a problem of interference and low fidelity. Edwin Howard Armstrong developed the FM radio which was approved by the FCC in 1940. FM was assigned 40 channels ranging from 42 - 50 MHz. The first 5 channels were awarded to non-commercial stations while the rest were assigned to the commercial ones.
Based on a 1945 study, the FCC concluded that the FM was prone to interferences during solar activities at low frequencies. The FM frequency range was changed to 88 - 108MHz. It had a 100 channels. 20 of them assigned to non-commercial stations while the rest went to the commercial ones. After a few years stall when listeners had to upgrade their radio receivers, FM listeners grew in millions.
In 1980, the FCC chose two formats as the US AM stereo formats. This was highly unpopular. In 1982, it decided to allow the market to decide. By 1983, the FCC has liberalized the issuance of radio licenses. By the 1990s, there was satellite communication available which made it easier and necessary for the liberalization of the use of radio waves.
New technology caused an exponential growth in the speed and reliability of communication using radio waves. All Steve Jobs needed to do was tap into this opportunity to create something spectacular, and be did. Just as radio went through quick growth that relied on how people want to play their music, the iPhone’s success is no surprise.