Its been 10 years, since the original iPhone rocked the entire world and it’s only fitting for iPhone X to debut this year, again redefining the way we use phones. I still remember watching in awe when Steve Jobs swayed us with that magical device called the iPhone, 10 years ago. That single device, magically changed our lives and launched so many opportunities and possibilities.
I really would like to take a few minutes and point out all the changed with the iPhone which we take it for granted now-a-days!!
1) That amazing multi-touch technology!! Do you even remember how touch screens where before the iPhone. They were capacitive, single point-touch, we had to use a stylus to interact with them and the screens were dull and pixelated. I was one of the early adapters who used Motorola’s touch-screen phone on 3 network in the UK. The device sported a 3inch colour touch-screen, which drained the battery so much that a spare battery was included in the box!! And then, the device which even remotely came close to the iPhone was the Prada phone, which released just before the iPhone was launched. It used a flash-based user interface, still no multi-touch and the touch-screen was ok, with a bit of hit and miss. And then the iPhone came out, there was nothing like it in the market. I still remember the first time when I unboxed it and used multi-touch, it was like magic. Pinch to zoom was amazing and felt soo natural and the fluid rubber-band scrolling of menu felt just right. There really is no denying that after Windows, the mouse and the iPod Click Wheel, multi-touch was truly revolutionary when it comes to user interface.
2) That full HTML browser… before the iPhone do you even remember how internet pages looked on mobile phones. The first time I saw the globe icon on my tiny mobile screen on my Nokia phone, I eagerly pressed and keyed in yahoo.com, only to be confronted by an ugly WAP page just with text links and later an exorbitant bill for downloading like 50kb. All that just changed like magic with the internet browser on the iPhone. Viewing full html pages with styles and images on a mobile device was non-existent before the iPhone. It became such a key factor in our day-to-day lives and several businesses that it lead to the mobile-friendly revolution. Every business wanted to serve the right content for their mobile users, I myself, being an e-commerce project manager over-saw the launch of about 100s of mobile websites for various small to big businesses. I witnessed customers buying simple DVDs to complicated furniture and expensive chandeliers from these mobile friendly websites and there was no stopping. Google had to re-define their algorithms to serve better mobile content after that. It changed the way we interacted with the internet forever!
3) The APP Store – You remember, our mobile phones used to come with in-built apps before the iPhone. Apart from defaults like phone, camera, contracts, the only other exciting APP on our phones was the game Snake!! And there was no such place where you could go and download something useful or fun or custom to your own personal needs. The APP store on the iPhone changed all that. It was a gold mine for both developers and front-end users! If multi-touch was the best thing ever to happen on mobile devices, then the APP store for the second best thing! It changed lives, revolutionised businesses and pushed the device capabilities to the extreme. It made several developers very, very rich and opened a new channel of business which was non-existent.
4) The bigger iPhone (iPad) – The same buttery smooth multi-touch and UI paved way into a larger device called the iPad. When it was first announced, people made fun out of, called names and even strapped 4 iPhones together to recreate the larger size, but no one uttered a single hue when the device sold like hot cross buns! See, developers and purists can call it whatever, but for end users, it was like magic. It simply worked and the fact that you can turn it on in under a second and start browsing content whilst laying on your couch, that was never possible before the iPad. The iPad put multimedia content and the wealth of internet right into our hands. Services like Netflix, Amazon Video were born because of this amazing multi-media consumption device. It launched a whole new category for Youtube called “Vlogging” and pushed hundreds of new-gen vloggers into stardom. It changed the nature of media consumption so much that even television channel services reorganised their content to support this new device. The future was to cut the cords and enable freedom of location and content and the iPad made sure that it ticked all those boxes.
5) And the revolutionary phone which was everything else as well as a top-notch phone! Today our phones are windows to our social media, they are our personal shopping and banking assistants. They are our means to entertain our kids whilst we can enjoy a quiet meal outside and they are the devices with whom we share our most intimate relationship with. And this all started with the iPhone. Just think of those days, before the iPhone, of what phones actually were like? You could make calls, leave/listen to voice mail (you had to do that in order, you couldn’t pick up and just listen to the 10th voice mail if you wanted to!), take pictures and maybe play snake. For music, we had to carry another device (Sony did introduce their Walkman phones but the sound quality and the storage capacity was not half as decent as the iPod or dedicated Mp3 players). And now, I can pay my water bill whilst vacationing in the Lakes and I could do so listening to my favourite music and all of it on just one device! We really take all this for granted, but it really was an amazing 10 year-journey.. and all of this started when Steve Jobs walked the stage in Cupertino and showed us this device and called it “Magical”. It truly was “Magical”
I guess the points above justify the reasons why I am an ardent Apple Fan!
Now coming to the iPhone X, everyone says that its price is over-the-top and is it really worth it?? Apple always charged premium for their products but they delivered that premium experience most of the times. The iPhone X is no different. The user interface is smooth as butter and that FaceID works like magic. If I tried about 100 times to unlock the phone, it worked almost every time. In different angles, with/without glasses, in direct sun-light and even in darkness, it just worked. It almost made TouchID look outdated! The setup is super simple and fast and it still turns heads where you scan your face first to use Apple Pay.
And then that gorgeous screen… when you pinch and zoom your videos to fill-in the entire screen, it simply looks amazing… It looks like some device which you pulled out from a futuristic sci-fi movie!! I saw people making fun of the notch on the screen, but really after a few videos, you forget that it exists. The huge display with your content stays in focus and this blurs the notch from your view-point.
And the Gestures – For that full bezel-to-bezel display, Apple had to pull the home button from the iPhone X and introduced gestures instead. People were concerned about this but really, you get adjusted to this so quickly that it will make clicking the home button cumbersome. All the gestures feel natural and the learning curve is almost non-existent. I heard many complain about the position of control centre, which is a swipe from the top right now instead of bottom, but I really don’t use control centre that much so this did not bother me. One thing I struggle a bit with is reachability, which you need to swipe the bottom home-bar down to bring the screen down. This gets a little tricky, wish Apple allows us to customise the screen area, which would trigger this feature.
I don’t want to talk about the other features like cameras, speed, etc. as there are websites-a-plenty which do this, so only want to talk about the “new” .
And speaking of new, Wireless Charging makes a debut in the iPhone X along with the 8 and 8plus. It is a welcome addition and a decent alternative to charge your device if you plan on not using the phone whilst you are charging.
Oh, the Animojis, I almost forgot about them ;)) Well my 4 year-old loves them to bits, so £1000 well spent!!! For me, the attractive thing about Anmojis is the technology behind it and the possibilities it opens. We will have to wait and watch this space!!
The short-coming, there are a few..very few, especially iOS 11 has a few bugs which I’m sure Apple will soon iron them out, the reachability option is a bit tricky and maybe the weight. The iPhone 6/7 feels like you are holding an iPhone case when you compare that with the X. The glass back and front does bring in a little heft to the iPhone but it does feel very premium in hand.
So 10 years and an amazing journey later, it was time to do something bold, futuristic and drastic and the iPhone X has got just enough tricks up its sleeve just to be that. All I can say is I am super-pleased about my purchase and super-excited for the next 10 year journey. That’s all for now, Adios.