Few consumer gadgets have had as big of an impact on the tech industry and culture at large as the iPhone.
The Safari browser gave iPhone users the first taste of having access to the full Web on a mobile device.
Multitouch made the iPhone a truly touch-based experience, not a miniaturized extrapolation of the keyboard and mouse.
The App Store (which came a year after the first iPhone) created a huge market for developers to sell their wares.
These features — and the devices that followed in the iPhone’s footsteps — are responsible for the later emergence of a number of apps, services, and trends in the tech industry.
1. Touch-based computing. Before the iPhone brought us a smooth multitouch interface, the best one could expect from a smartphone was a keyboard and stylus combo.
This slide from the iPhone's introduction says it all. Smartphones simply weren't user-friendly before the iPhone.
2. The responsive web. You know how websites generally look pretty good on most devices nowadays? That's almost entirely thanks to the iPhone -- before it, the mobile web was either awfully slow or text-based. The iPhone forced developers to make sites that would work and look as good or better on mobile as on the desktop.
3. 'Read-it-later' apps. The Internet-centricity of the iPhone made the ability to save links found in a mobile web browser for reading at home (or vice-versa) a widely sought after feature.
With Instapaper and other apps for reading later, smartphone users could consume articles whenever they wanted on whichever device suited them.
4. When Apple opened the iPhone App Store in 2008, it gave developers one of the largest marketplaces for the sale of software in computing history, creating thousands of jobs around the world and setting a precedent for other platforms. There have been 50 billion app downloads from the App Store.
Leaked prototypes reveal that Apple had been working on a tablet for years before the iPhone was unveiled. Since the iPhone was essentially a shrunken version of that work, it's likely that if the early iPhone models flopped, Apple would have gone back to the drawing board with its tablets.
6. Of course, the iPad eventually spawned Apple's Newsstand, which many publications saw as their best option for transitioning to the digital era at the time of its unveiling.
7. Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones -- especially the older models. While its newer offerings are distinguished, early Galaxy S phones and their software were heavily influenced by the iPhone.
9. The iPhone's screen was leaps ahead of the competition for presenting images and video -- which let apps like Twitter and Facebook be about more than textual status updates. Many apps and services wouldn't have the users or revenue they do today if smartphones hadn't followed the iPhone's lead.
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