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10 years of the iPhone – revolutionising our world

The release of the iPhone X marks a decade since the first of Apple's ground-breaking mobile devices hit the high street. Plenty catches the eye about the new gadget, not least the fact that its 5.8-inch Super Retina screen stretches right to the corners of the device, while Face ID heightens security and dual 12MP cameras ensure high-quality snaps can be taken wherever you are.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves with everything that makes the iPhone X truly remarkable, we're aiming to celebrate ten years of the iPhone by taking a look at how Apple's devices forever changed the way we perceive mobile phones.

Constant internet access

In October 2016, research company, Statcounter tracked internet use across 2.5 million websites and found that more websites are now loaded on smartphones and tablets than on desktop computers.

The fact that 51.3% of all pages were loaded on mobile devices not only represented a huge increase from the less than 5% that were loaded as recently as 2010, but also showed that this was the first time that they had surpassed the corresponding figures recorded on desktop and laptop computers.

This research also came soon after Google had announced that searches on mobile had overtaken those carried out on desktop.

Steve Jobs summed it up best when he first unveiled the original iPhone, describing it as a "breakthrough Internet communications device". It helped make the Internet something that we could all access on the go.

Eliminating the need to carry multiple devices

The list of things to pack when heading out somewhere was once quite different to how it is today. If we wanted to capture great photos, we'd need to take a camera with us. An iPod, mp3 player or - if we're really going back in time - a Walkman was needed if we wanted some music. Not sure how to get to a destination? Then we had to make sure we didn't leave home without our trusty sat-nav.

Before we knew it, we were carrying a small collection of gadgets to make the most of our adventures. Not anymore though, as market research firm, KeyPoint Intelligence, found that 85% of digital photos are now taken on a phone - compared to 50% in 2011 - while GPS can be used on our devices to guide us wherever we'd like to go. When it comes to music, our devices hold all you could ever need or let you stream it through apps like Spotify and Apple Music.

The selfie trend

Whilst on the topic of our phones being used to take photos, can you imagine not having a phone with a front-facing camera? These features first began appearing on mobile devices in 2003, with the iPhone 4 being the first of Apple's smartphones to introduce them. Many believed that these cameras would be used primarily for video calls, but it wasn't long before people started to snap self-portraits and the selfie trend quickly took hold.

Selfies have had plenty of benefits across many markets. For example, the popularity of the cosmetics industry (it was the top-performing category in UK health and beauty, with sales up £100m from 2015-2017) is suggested to be the result of YouTube tutorials and the desire to share selfies on social media apps.

Chloe Humphreys-Page, a director at data analytics company IRI, also pointed out: "The impact of the so-called 'selfie generation' where people are spending disproportionately long periods of time studying their faces and making sure they are camera-ready is not just driving sales for certain cosmetics, but also boosting demand for ancillary products, like eyebrow kits, sponges, pencils, and brushes."

Location tracking

We've touched on GPS being a standard feature on mobile devices already, but the likes of Google Maps and Apple Maps offer so much more to iPhone users while they're on the go.

As of 2016, there were reportedly more than five billion searches or requests on Apple Maps each week. Each user gets access to features such as proactive suggestions (where the system predicts places people are most likely to go), up-to-date public transport information, and detailed indoor maps of a wide variety of locations across the globe.

With Google Maps, one of the most intriguing aspects was announced in 2016 when it was revealed that users would have the opportunity to become the system's editors. As a result, they can suggest new places or edit names of places to make them more accurate — improving the overall map network.

An abundance of apps

It wasn't too long ago that we had to make do with what came pre-loaded onto our mobile phones. This, of course, was in the days before the App Store. First appearing on the iPhone 3G in 2008, owners jumped at the chance boost their devices with a choice of around 500 additional apps.

Today, the App Store is home to more than two million apps. People spent around £23 billion within the virtual market in 2016 alone, downloading everything from social media apps and photo editing software to games, health and fitness hubs, and TV and movie streaming services.

The way we pay

Another app deserving of its own section is Apple Pay, as the mobile payments platform has transformed how we pay for goods and services during a typical day.

Launched in October 2014 while people were getting to grips with the iPhone 6, the app works by linking one of Apple's smartphones up to a compatible debit or credit card account and then allowing people to make contactless payments by simply scanning their device across a payment terminal supporting NFC technology.

As of 2016, there were over 12 million monthly users of Apply Pay in more than 15 countries, with transactions increasing by 500% between 2015 and 2016.

Keeping in touch

We've now discussed how the iPhone has changed the way we use the internet, take photos, get travel tips, stay entertained and pay for goods while we're out and about.

However, Apple have also changed the way that we use one of a mobile phone's most basic features - communicating with others.

We can message through the internet wherever we are in the world using WhatsApp, for instance, which removes the charges that used to befall those getting in touch with someone from another country. Video calling is easily accessible to all through FaceTime too, while the iPhone's threaded message interface allowed us to see all messages on just the single screen instead of having to come out of a text and open others just to keep track of a conversation.

The future

Having looked back at the multitude of ways in which the iPhone has revolutionised so many elements of our daily lives, the part we find most exciting is what's to come.

It's hard to predict exactly what mobile phones will offer us in the next 10 years, such is the ever-developing nature of the industry. The one thing we can be sure of is that the influence they have over our daily lives shows no sign of slowing.


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