What is an iPhone? A History and Recap

The iPhone has re-defined mobile computing. Personally I have quite a history in the world of mobile computing. I was an early adopter of the Palm Pilot and eventually the Palm Trio which was one of the early true smart phones. The iPhone changed everything, in typical Apple fashion they took a complex device and made it simpler to use, this ease of use made the iPhone accessible to the masses. Here is a short history for those of you new to the iPhone or simply want to look back at the history and make up of this revolutionary device.

According to Wikipedia the iPhone is defined as:

The iPhone ( ) is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was introduced on January 9, 2007.

A combination camera phone, PDA, multimedia player, and wireless communication device made by Apple Inc

When the iPhone was originally released it caused a huge media uproar. The iPhone truly promoted its self.

The basics of the iPhone Platform

Like most new Apple products, the iPhone uses a “multi-touch screen” input system. This means a virtual keyboard (as opposed to the physical keyboard in front of a laptop) that you use with your fingers instead of an unreliable and difficult-to-get-used-to stylus.

The visual interface of the iPhone uses a “home screen” to list available functions. Think of the home screen as your laptop’s desktop — the home screen is essentially a graphic list of your various apps. iPhone users can perform multiple tasks at once, like using apps while making a phone call or watching a movie. There’s a built-in “home” button on the iPhone itself, so you can get to your home screen quickly. When you unpack your iPhone, the following apps will be available — Messages (text messaging), Calendar, Photos, Camera, YouTube, Stocks, Maps (through Google Maps), Weather, Voice Memos, Notes, Clock, Calculator, Settings, iTunes (this is the iTunes store), App Store, and in some models an app called Compass.

The purpose of the iPhone is to take phones to the next level. The ideal iPhone user will access email and social networking sites, make phone calls, watch videos, listen to music, and play a few app games along the way. That means the iPhone is not meant to be a computing powerhouse, but a convenience tool.

There are tons of Apps: Where do they come from?

When the iPhone first came out it was a locked down platform. There were no apps other than what Apple packaged with the product. Apple and Steve Jobs denied any interest in opening app development up to developers who wanted to create software for the platform. While rumors of an open platform for apps on the iPhone was in its infancy I created and started iPhone App Review. In hind site, it was a smart decision.

To disseminate new apps, Apple depends on something called the “App Store”, launched a year and a half after the first iPhones. The App Store is stocked with more than 200,000 applications designed for the iPhone and approved for use by Apple. There’s no easy way to describe apps — some are games, some are for information or reference, some use GPS navigation to provide directions or maps, social networking tools like Facebook, and special apps designed as tie-ins with TV, movies, and celebrities. Apps can be whatever their designer wants them to be, as long as they meet Apple’s standards. That means no porn, etc.

Are there different versions of the iPhone

There are currently four models (generations) of iPhones, each accompanied by a release of a new operating system. Formerly called iPhone OS, the name was eventually changed to iOS so it could be used in other products like the iPad and iPod Touch.

The original iPhone line set the iPhone standard in terms of the seize of the screen, the hardware, etc. The release of the iPhone 3G married iPhone function to the powerful 3G cell network, and thew in something called A-GPS as well, used to locate the phone and help with features like mapping and shopping. The next version, iPhone 3GS, added the compass feature, pumped up the processor, provided a better (higher resolution) camera, and gave users the options of taking video as well as photo stills. The newest model, iPhone 4, uses a two camera setup to incorporate something called FaceTime video dialing, and to provide a higher-resolution display screen. That means it looks prettier. The iPhone 4 came out on June 24th, 2010.

Rumors of the iPhone 5 are on the internet and a release date is rumored to be this fall. Apple has released an updated iPhone on an annual basis, each adding new and improved features. While the Apple has had its share of mishaps (Google Antenna gate) it is clearly the market leader for smart phones and mobile computing.

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