Last month the world marked the 10th anniversary of Apple’s first-ever iPhone. As it should have.
Most owners don’t give their iPhones much thought these days, which is a testament to their seamless marriage of hardware and software. Unless, of course, the devices stop working, in which case their worlds collapse around them.
I accompanied my teen to a Genius Bar last month after his 6S refused to boot up. It was like an ER for phones, with looks of despair and apprehension all around. I only hope my kid shows half as much concern when I get wheeled into Downtown General.
The point is, it’s hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t an iPhone, and in the 10 short years since its rollout, the once pint-sized device has literally changed the planet. Commerce, communication, culture, even the way we think have all been permanently altered by Steve Jobs’ fever dream.
But success breeds imitators, and over the ensuing decade Google and its OEM minions have managed to replicate, and in some ways surpass, Apple’s iEcosystem and handsets.
Case in point: the present. This season we have witnessed a trio of mobile rollouts that has set a new standard for smartphone speed and design. Samsung’s much-anticipated Galaxy S8 has set hearts aflutter among phone aficionados for its curved “Infinity” screen that extends images beyond the bezel, and for what is arguably the best cellular camera on the market.
Both it and the midpriced OnePlus 5 boast the fastest response times in the West thanks to Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 SoC and up to 8GB RAM for the latter.
Meanwhile LG’s slim-waisted G6 was first out of the gate with a virtually bezel-less display and an 18:9 aspect ratio that made one-handed operation easy again without sacrificing screen size.
Throw in a slew of features like superfast and wireless charging; military-grade dust, shock and water resistance; inky black AMOLED screens; and, hold onto your seats — a headphone jack! — and you could see why some Android fanboys would rather fight than switch.
So the pressure is clearly on for this October, when Apple is expected to launch its 10th anniversary smartphone, the iPhone 8. As the old Virginia Slims ad reminded, you’ve come a long way baby to get where you got to today. But in the process Apple’s brought along a slew of competitors who’ve either called its mobile bets or raised them.
So for the sake of CE industry posterity, and the two-thirds of total revenue they derive from those i-as-in-iconic iPhones, here’s hoping there’s another ace up Apple’s sleeve.