The Apple iPhone: 2007, meet 2017
I know that it’s popular to hate on the iPhone and spread predictions of its impending doom, but what surprises me isn’t how popular the iPhone is now, but that it survived the first couple of years to become the influential cash-generating machine that it has become.
Also: Six features the iPhone 8 needs to stay ahead of Android | Get your iPhone or iPad ready for the iOS 11 public beta | This is what the iPhone 8 will (probably) look like | Steve Jobs was driven to create iPhone by obnoxious Microsoft guy with stylus
I’m just going to come out and say it — the original iPhone was junk. I know, that’s a scandalous thing to say, but to say otherwise is to do a disservice to the memories of the awesome handsets of the time. Call quality was terrible, it didn’t support multimedia messaging, and data speeds were slow even for 2007 because Apple chose not to support 3G.
It wasn’t even a phone first. You had to fire up the Phone app — although we didn’t call it an app back in the day — to make calls, which seemed strange for a phone.
It was also pretty awful as an iPod. Four gigabytes of storage on the base model really didn’t go that far (and Apple knew this, because it binned it in September of 2007), and Bluetooth 2.0 didn’t support stereo.
The iOS operating system — it was called iPhone OS back then — was also very lacking, missing even basic features such as the ability to cut/copy/paste (we had to wait until iOS 3.0 for this feature to finally appear). There was also no support for third-party apps, and Apple relied heavily on Google to make up the shortfall in its services (of the 16 “apps” that appeared on the iPhone’s screen, the Maps app used Google Maps, and there was a built-in YouTube app).
It’s not until you go back to an early iPhone or iPod touch that you really appreciate how far along iOS has come. Back then, even platforms such as Windows Mobile had a massive features advantage over what Apple had to offer.
So how did the iPhone survive?
While some would point to the “Apple effect” and how after the iPod there was huge consumer interest in the company, and that it was this that propelled the iPhone into the stratosphere, I’m skeptical. Someone who was happy with their iPod doesn’t automatically become the sort of person who was going to shell out hundreds of dollars for an iPhone that’s tied to a contract.
Nah, I don’t think the success of the iPhone was down to the iPod.
What I think made the iPhone what it is today was a combination of two things.
First, excellent design. Yes, a slab that’s mostly screen seems obvious, but it’s clear that Apple put a lot of engineering effort into making the iPhone that way, and that meant making unpopular compromises, such as making the battery non-removable.
A testament to just how good the initial iPhone design was is how little it’s changed. Yes, the phone’s gotten bigger and thinner and such, but the overall design remains the same. In fact, the biggest change Apple made to the design outside of the bigger screen has been moving the headphone jack — it started out on the top, moved to the bottom with the iPhone 5, and then eliminated with the iPhone 7. Outside of that, some materials changes, tweaks to the dimensions, and swapping the 30-pin port for Lightning, the original iPhone design has survived the test of time.
Another factor in the iPhone’s success was the quality of the display. The 3.5-inch 480×320 touchscreen display wasn’t just nice to look at, it was really smooth to use, something that couldn’t be said of most touchscreens back in 2007. Apple cut a lot of corners with the original iPhone, but not when it came to the display, and that was a clever move because it was the bit that people interacted with the most.
I truly believe that if the display had been poor, the iPhone would have sunk into oblivion like Apple’s other foray into phones, the truly execrable Motorola Roker E1.
The other thing that made the iPhone great was the browser. I trash-talk Safari a lot, but back in 2007 mobile browsers ranged from terrible to really, really terrible. Safari was a breath of fresh air, and turned mobile browsing from being a chore to a pleasure. It’s impossible to describe how bad mobile browsing was before the iPhone. You just had to be there to appreciate just how easy web browsing on the iPhone was compared to other devices.
It was a total game-changer, and it was amazing how much real browsing you could do on a 3.5-inch display (despite the painfully slow cellular speeds).
Then there was the price-cut. Originally, the 4GB iPhone sold for $399, and the 8GB version for $599, but in less than three months Apple discontinued the 4GB version, while at the same time dropping the price of the 8GB iPhone by $200, with early adopters getting $100 store credit (but only after venting their spleen at the late Steve Jobs).
So, some aspects of the original iPhone were terrible, but what was good was not only very, very good, but it also upended the entire mobile device ecosystem, and completely changed the smartphone for the next decade with such force that almost every other smartphone looks (and, as much as possible, feels) like the iPhone.
But no matter how much the competition tries to emulate the iPhone, they just can’t quite capture what makes the iPhone the success it has become.
A leak gives us what is probably the best look so far at some of the physical changes the iPhone 8 will bring.
Given that we know nothing official about the iPhone 8, we also know a lot thanks to supply-chain chatter and the occasional photo leak. And thanks to French gadget leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (who goes by the Twitter handle of OnLeaks), we now get what is probably the best look at the iPhone 8 to date.
Regular readers will know that I’m normally very cautious of reporting on random leaks, but Hemmerstoffer has an excellent track record when it comes to leaking material.
Hemmerstoffer has obtained what appears to be a high-quality iPhone 8 dummy model that outlines some pretty big design changes coming with the iPhone 8.
Had a Microsoft executive not boasted about Redmond’s plans to “rule the world” with a new Windows tablet and stylus, Steve Jobs might not have hit on the iconic design for the iPhone and iPad.
During a talk at the Computer History Museum this week, Scott Forstall, who led iOS development at Apple under Jobs, recounted the moment Jobs realized that fingers would be the way forward for mobile computing.
“It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. That’s the actual origin of it,” said Forstall. “Any time Steve had any social interaction with this guy, he’d come back pissed off.”
It wasn’t Bill Gates, noted Forstall, but a Microsoft executive who was the husband of a friend of Jobs’ wife, Laurene Powell Jobs.
Apple had been working on a tablet project and at the time touchscreens relied on resistive touch. Jobs’ apparent frustration with this executive’s bragging about a stylus and tablet drove him to look at fingers and capacitive touchscreens.
“He came back one time and the guy said that Microsoft had solved laptop computing or they were going to do tablet computing with pens. And he just shoved it in Steve’s face, the way they were going to rule the world with their new tablets and pens. Steve came in on Monday and there was a set of expletives and then it was like, ‘Let’s show them how it’s really done’,” he continued.
As he recounts it, Jobs said: “First thing, they’re idiots. You don’t do it with a stylus. They’re cumbersome, you’re picking it up and putting it down. We’re born with 10 styluses.”
The first prototype of this concept involved a table and a giant overhead projector that allowed you to move photos around the surface. It wasn’t mobile, but the moment Forstall saw it he realized Jobs was right and the stylus was wrong.
However, the iPhone itself came from Jobs’ realization that mobile phones were becoming a threat to Apple’s then massive iPod business.
Apple was turning from a computing company into a consumer electronics company, thanks to the iPod, which made about half of Apple’s sales. Jobs was wondering what device could cannibalize its iPod music sales.
“The one thing that seemed like it would do it was phones,” said Forstall.
Forstall says he and Jobs were at lunch and noticed that no one looked happy using their phones despite everyone having one. So, Jobs suggested shrinking the tablet touch demo to a pocketable size.
Apple’s designers came up with a simple demo of the iPhone’s now familiar tap and scroll interface with cards containing contact numbers and email addresses.
“The second you saw this demo, you know this was it. There was no question. This was the way a phone had to behave. Steve saw it and said, ‘OK, put the tablet on hold. Let’s build a phone’.”
OnePlus has unveiled the highly anticipated OnePlus 5, its latest challenger to the iPhone and Galaxy S8 that sets a new bar for the company in specs and price.
As expected, the OnePlus 5 features a dual rear camera for better portrait shots and comes with Qualcomm’s premium Snapdragon 835 processor.
Leaks of the One Plus 5 showing the position of the dual camera and rounded or chamfered edges drew comparisons to the iPhone 7 Plus.
Like many smartphones from China, the OnePlus 5 does take design cues from the iPhone, and features near-identical antenna bands at the bottom and top of its rear, as well as a physical home button with fingerprint reader on the front.
However, as OnePlus highlights, it does feature a unique continuous hard edge or “horizon line” that separates two shades on the front and back, and its own alert slider for controlling alerts.
The OnePlus 5 is also half a millimeter thinner than the iPhone 7 Plus and fortunately retains the 3.5mm headphone jack.
The main dual camera has 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel sensors, and like the iPhone, features a Portrait Mode to give photos a “bokeh” effect, with a sharp subject and blurred background.
An early hands-on review by ZDNet sister site CNET finds the effect on the OnePlus 5 sometimes produces artificial-looking results. However, the smartphone does take great low-light pictures, in some cases clearer than Google’s Pixel. It also has an excellent 16-megapixel self-camera.
Other software features include a pro mode, offering ISO, white balance, and shutter-speed controls and Smart Capture, which cleans up photos in the background.
The OnePlus 5 is still a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Galaxy S8 and iPhone, but with a starting price of $479 — $40 more than last year’s OnePlus 3T — it doesn’t undercut other flagships as dramatically as previous models.
At the same time, the new “flagship killer” lacks features that are now popping up in more top-of-line devices, such as wireless charging, waterproofing, and edge-to-edge displays.
The 5.5-inch screen device has a Full HD AMOLED display at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It also has a 3,300mAh battery with OnePlus Dash Charge technology, which is claimed to offer a full day’s energy on a 30-minute charge. OnePlus OS is based Android 7.1.
The grey model with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage costs $479 (€499, £449, C$649), while the black version with laptop-like 8GB RAM and 128GB storage costs $539 (€559, £499, C$719).
The phones are available at pop-up stores today in New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki and Copenhagen, with “open sales” on the OnePlus website beginning on June 27. The phone will be available in Europe, China, Hong Kong, India, the US, and Canada.
Microsoft has added a new editing feature in its Pix iPhone camera app that lets you transform photos into styles reminiscent of famous works of art.
When Microsoft launched Pix, it originally used AI for the serious business of improving the quality photos taken on an iPhone. It did this by taking a burst of snaps and suggesting the best one, as well as tidying up images with better lighting and color.
Pix Styles rather is meant to be fun, allowing users to transform images into styles that mimic “masterpiece paintings and artsy photos” in galleries of Amsterdam, Paris and New York.
It also has several effects like ‘glass’, which gives the image a stained-glass look, and ‘fire’ that adds a nightmarish touch to images with flames and charcoal colors.
Microsoft stresses that these styles and effects are not filters because the styles add transfer texture, pattern and tones rather than just uniformly changing colors.
The feature is available now with 11 choices, including glass, petals, Bacău, charcoal, heart, fire, Honolulu, zing, pop, glitter, and ripples.
Pix Styles was a collaborative effort by a team at Microsoft’s Asia research lab and Skype.
Microsoft doesn’t offer any details about what paintings it used to train its AI model for Styles but says that a trove of them was used “to learn the essence of what makes a given style of painting recognizable”.
The company has of course been dabbling in AI and arts over the past year with projects such as Recognition, which used AI to find real-life images that closely resembled famous artworks at the Tate Britain gallery.
Projects such as these give Microsoft access to large sets of data to trains it AI models. It also trained a deep-learning model on several hundred Rembrandt paintings to create an artwork in the style of the Dutch master.
While these projects relied heavily on Microsoft’s cloud for processing, the Pix editing feature only uses the iPhone for creating artworks, which means it won’t burden users’ mobile data plans.
Microsoft will release more styles and effects in the coming weeks. A second feature called Pix Paintings, which creates a time-lapse of the artistic makeover taking place, is already available.
The CEO of Apple iPhone manufacturer Wistron has let slip that the next iPhone will include wireless charging.
Wireless charging has featured on Android phones for several years, but Apple in typical style has held back, leaving the iPhone either stuck with cords or third-party wireless battery cases and other gadgets.
That situation could change on the next iPhone if details from relatively new Apple supplier Wistron are correct. Wistron assembles some iPhone models in India, and according to its CEO, Robert Hwang, it’s had to tweak its assembly processes for wireless charging.
“Assembly process for the previous generations of [iPhones] have not changed much, though new features like waterproof and wireless charging now require some different testing, and waterproof function will alter the assembly process a bit,” Hwang told reporters after Wistron’s shareholder meeting.
Hwang’s slip-up is significant given the secrecy requirements Apple imposes on its suppliers and Wistron’s normal reticence on market speculation.
The company only last month started producing the iPhone SE at a dedicated plant in India separate to its existing facilities for other smartphones. Apple said Wistron would initially produce “a small number of iPhone SE handsets“.
Hwang didn’t deviate from Apple’s statement, saying only that a “small number” of iPhones were being made without revealing specific figures. He added that iPhones volumes will depend on upcoming talks between Apple and the Indian government.
Hwang’s comments give further weight to images leaked this week of glass back panels allegedly for the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which are designed to allow wireless charging.
Apple in February also joined the Wireless Power Consortium as a board member. The group drives the Qi wireless charging standard, of which Apple uses a customized variant in its Watch and wireless charging plate.
If you’ve worried that you are going to smash your iPhone’s display, the next iPhone will have twice as much glass for you to worry about.
According to photos of what are claimed to be iPhone 8 parts leaked on Reddit, the rear panel of the iPhone 8, along with the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus, will be made of glass.
The switch from metal to glass is to allow Apple to bring wireless charging to the iPhone.
The front panel features a thin screen bezel with a space at the top of the display for a front-facing camera, microphone, and speaker.
No Touch ID sensor hole is present in the front glass, suggesting that Apple will be switching to a fingerprint sensor that’s embedded into the display.
The rear panel of the iPhone 8, in addition to being made of glass, also features the protruding vertically-aligned dual-camera.
Note: The reason why iPhone case leaks are common is because case manufacturers will pay handsomely to get their hands on a case early to get a leg-up over the competition. However, this demand for prototype cases also means that there are a lot of fakes flying around that have been mocked up by opportunists, so take every leak with a grain of salt.
Even if this leak is a fake, it is still highly likely that the next iPhone will switch from a metal back to glass, because current wireless charging technology doesn’t work through metal.
Smartphones, in particular the iPhone, seem to attract more battery life complaints than any other device out there. Maybe it’s because we use the thing so much and don’t realize it, or maybe it’s that we rely on it so heavily for so many aspects of our lives.
The first thing that most iPhone owners do at the slightest hint of a battery problem is dive into the Settings app and begin flipping switches to turn stuff off. But this violates the first rule of troubleshooting — if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Before any switch flipping happens, the first thing you need to do is ascertain whether you have a battery issue in the first place.
Note: The following works for the iPad too.
To do this you’re going to use the “Time Since Last Full Charge” meter that you can find in Settings > Battery (you’ll have to scroll to the bottom of the page to find it). Here you will find different metrics being measured:
The first thing I suggest you do to check for a battery drain issue is fully charge your iPhone before you go to bed (which will reset the “Time Since Last Full Charge” figures), take it off charge as you go to bed, and then look at the Usage and Standby figures when you wake up (might be worth making a note of them so you can compare with any future data you collect).
What you are looking for is a difference between Standby and Usage. Unless you’ve been using your iPhone the entire time, the Usage time should be significantly less than Standby time. If they are the same, or close to it, you have a big battery drain problem. Ideally what you want to see is a Standby figure that represents how long you’ve been in bed, and a Usage figure that represents a small amount of background tasks being carried out by the iPhone while you’re asleep.
The smaller the Usage figures the better. However, unless you’ve already turned off background tasks and your iPhone’s been doing absolutely nothing all night, it won’t be zero. About 15 minutes of usage over an eight-hour period is nothing to worry about and you’re good to go.
More than 30 minutes of usage over an eight-hour period and you likely have a battery drain issue. Over an hour and you may have a serious issue.
Another quick way to test to see if you might have a battery drain issue is to make a note of the Usage and Standby figures then lock your handset and leave it for five minutes (if you fiddle with it during that time, or get a call or text or a notification, then you should restart the test).
After the five minutes have elapsed, it’s time to check the numbers again. The Standby time will have increased by five minutes, but it is the Usage time that is important. If this has increased by a minute or less, you likely don’t have a drain issue, but anything more than a minute suggests a possible issue.
It’s important to remember that these tests only look for a battery drain issue and won’t help you spot a fault with the battery itself or a calibration issue.
Do the tests suggest that your iPhone has a battery drain problem? Take a look at “iPhone’s battery draining fast? Here’s how to fix it”.
The iPhone: 2007, meet 2017:
Apple isn’t planning to include support for next-generation gigabit networks with its new iPhone rumored to be released this fall, according to Bloomberg.
Apple partners with both Qualcomm and Intel for modems, and only Qualcomm offers a modem capable of 1 gigabit download speeds. Bloomberg reported Intel won’t have a modem with same capability ready until after the iPhone 8 enters production.
Thus, Apple will stick with 4G LTE in its iPhone 8, even though US carriers have touted gigabit rollout in 2017. Gigabit connectivity is supposed to offer fiber-like speeds via wireless and be 50 to 100 times faster than before.
Apple doesn’t like to put its trust in one supplier in case issues arise. Furthermore, Apple is in a current legal battle with Qualcomm, accusing the chip maker of withholding contractual payments it owed in retaliation for Apple’s cooperation with South Korean regulatory investigators.
The FTC also accused Qualcomm of having an illegal monopoly and using anti-competitive tactics to maintain a monopoly over semiconductor supply. Apple will shy away from full trust in Qualcomm, reported Bloomberg.
Ever since my wife started using smartphones she has refused to accept new phones since I always had extra phones around after testing and writing about them. She didn’t want to spend the money on a phone when my hand-me downs were still in perfect condition.
She started off with my old Windows Phones and over the past couple of years has been using Android as her primary platform. My daughters took my old iPhones or purchased older generation iPhones and thanks to last year’s compelling T-Mobile trade-in offer, we bought their first brand new phones with the iPhone 7.
For about a year, my wife has been using the black HTC 10 I bought. Over the years, HTC phones have been her favorite due to the responsiveness, camera performance, and ability to survive her regular drops. She has tried Samsung and Nexus devices, but was never as happy as she was with an HTC phone.
My wife stocks greeting cards at various stores in the area and carries a work bag that contains her tools of the trade, including a Windows Mobile-powered Motorola scanner. She has a cart of products with her tool bag and moves through the card aisles to complete her work.
A couple of weeks ago she was working under the card stand getting out some products and noticed a man standing close to her work cart about 10 feet away. After she looked up and saw him, he took off around the corner. She went to check her tool bag and cart, only to discover her HTC 10 was now missing.
She started looking around the store and told store associates and the store manager she thought the guy stole her phone. One clerk noted the guy left already so there was nothing she could do now.
She called me on coworkers phone and I used Android Device Manager to try to find her phone. It showed her phone was last at the store location so I sent the lock and notifications to try to make sure her phone could be locked down, if nothing else.
Unfortunately, within about 30 minutes Android Device Manager showed that the HTC 10 was no longer associated with her Gmail account. It appears that the thief hard reset the phone and it was now his.
My wife did not have any security on her phone so I had her change all of her passwords. If the phone was hard reset, then it is unlikely there was anything to worry about the thief getting off the phone. However, there was also a microSD card in the phone that had photos on it so all of the photos are viewable by the scum. This theft had me immediately go and lock down the microSD cards in my Android phones as that is an unnerving feeling knowing a thief can browse the card and see part of your life.
There are many reasons people choose one operating system over another and no single OS is best for everyone. Here are the primary reasons my wife decided to give the iPhone a try:
After weighing the pros and cons, we went to the T-Mobile store to bring my wife back to T-Mobile. She switched to Cricket a couple years ago to experience better cellular coverage, but wanted to reduce monthly costs and give T-Mobile another chance with its improved network coverage.
We picked up a new T-Mobile SIM, but had to place an order for her new iPhone 7 since she wanted the new red one. It arrived a few days later. This is the first time I have seen the red one and it is gorgeous.
I wanted to share my experiences helping someone make the transition since there have been some challenges and in talking to a few other family members they had the same recent experiences moving to an iPhone. Even though I have been using an iPhone for years, I learned something new during this transition too. Let’s take a closer look at some challenges:
There are only a couple of days left and I am sure the iPhone 7 will be sticking with my wife. She is happy with the camera, is getting used to the interface, the size is right for her hand, and the improved communications with other iOS users is pleasing to her.
The iPhone connects reliably to her Acura and Siri even works well with the voice button on the steering wheel. My wife has also learned that she need to lock down her phone and the fast iPhone front facing fingerprint scanner makes this quick and easy to accomplish.
I offered up some of my other new Android phones and offered to buy her a new Android, but she is making a committment to iOS.