A Brief History
On June 29, 2007, Apple Inc. sold the first of 500 million iPhones, the company’s first mobile phone. Known as a “smart phone,” the iPhone is much more than just a cell phone.
Capable of an incredible array of operations, the iPhone features a touch screen and Wi-Fi, enabling it to connect to the internet and many cellular networks. There are over 1 million apps available for the iPhone, both from Apple and from third party sources.
When holding such a marvelous device it is easy to take it for granted and to think it is indispensable to helping run your life, and yet it did not even appear until 7 years ago. As far as that goes, cell phones were only first demonstrated in 1973, and that was a 1 kilogram monstrosity. The public did not have access to cell phones until 1979 (in Japan), and they were rare until about 1990 when sales and networks really took off. Cell phone growth from 1990 to today went from just over 12 million customers to well over 6 billion, or close to 90% or the world’s population!
Cell phones started as a way to make a radio telephone call through a relay system. Since then, many other capabilities have been added, starting with the loved and hated texting. The first phone to phone text took place in 1993 (in Finland) and today we cannot stop drivers and school kids from texting to each other when they should be doing something else. The iPhone with its touch screen has internet access and is capable of sending and receiving emails as well as phone calls and text messages. It can also function as a GPS navigation device, allow you to play games on it, do virtually anything you can do on your home computer, interface with home systems (such as house alarms, lights, cooling and heating, etc.).
People conduct business on their “smart phones” such as the iPhone, listen to jokes, watch videos, make videos, take photos, and listen to tunes. Various systems interface with the automobile stereo systems and allow hands free voice command use while driving. Police have used cell phones to track down the location of victims and perpetrators alike.
Concerns about cell phone use center around distracted driving, resulting in thousands of car crashes every year, and the possibility that the radio waves sent and received from what is basically a radio transceiver held right against the user’s head may cause health problems, even cancer.
Also, with the proliferation of so many cell phones, some engineers claim that bandwidth will become scarce and a collapse of the system from being overloaded is possible. Over 51 million iPhones were sold in the last quarter of 2013 alone, not counting all the other brands of cell phones.
Cell phones have certainly taken society by storm, and the iPhone has been particularly successful, and is now in its 7th updated model. There are even Kosher cell phones approved by Rabbi’s for use by Orthodox Jews. Question for students (and subscribers): How much more technology can be built into these “smart phones?” What do you think is next? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Baig, Edward C. and Bob LeVitus. iPhone For Dummies. For Dummies, 2013.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by JD Lasica from Pleasanton, CA, US of attendees crowding the iPhone glass case on the floor of the Exhibit Hall, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
You can also watch a video version of this article on YouTube: