The iPhone is many things to different people. To some, it’s a device that helps them go about their daily lives. To a lot of us, it’s an extension of our lives. We can’t go anywhere without it. To others, it’s a status symbol. To others still, it’s just a tool to use to communicate. They couldn’t care less how good the camera is or how much memory it has. It’s just a phone to them.

In the year 2007, the original iPhone was announced and released to the public. Many other things happened that year. Some of them were memorable but others were basic and forgettable. The iPhone’s release was not forgettable. It was huge. Its announcement garnered a lot of attention from around the world. It was so revolutionary and so ahead of its time that it was hard to believe it even existed. You might be too young to remember the original iPhone. Even if you aren’t, it might be a relic to you. But it also might be so much more. The iPhone did a lot to make our lives easier and more interesting. It continues to do so. But there may be a lot more to thank the iPhone for than we might think.

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Think back to 2007. What did the world look like? What was life like? What did technology look like and how did it work? Phones with keypads were the norm. Full keyboards on phones were considered a premium feature. Nokia was the biggest phone manufacturer in the world. Touchscreens were few and far between and screen sizes were tiny. We downloaded music from bootleg websites (remember Waptrick?) and shared it with our friends via Bluetooth. We took photos on digital cameras. We then saved the photos to our laptops to send them to our friends and family via email. Or we saved them to a flash drive and shared them around that way.

Then the iPhone came out and changed everything. It had a touch screen that filled nearly the entire face of the phone. It had only four buttons. It could open websites that were meant for computers. It could be used as an iPod to play music. We could take decent enough photos on our phone and didn’t have to buy a camera. It looked cool too. It had smooth edges and premium-looking plastic and metal. It was unlike anything we’d ever seen.

There was nothing like the iPhone when it came out. But it didn’t just pioneer technology. It pulled everyone else into the future with it. Other phone manufacturers started to copy the iPhone. Phones became sleeker, their screens got bigger, and their buttons got fewer. Features increased, memory increased, and advancements in technology started to make computers look unnecessary. Those who resisted the change or couldn’t keep up were relegated to the history books. If they didn’t collapse entirely then they became shadows of their former selves. Take Nokia and Blackberry as examples. Even digital cameras were made redundant. Features offered on phones began to appear in other areas as well. Touch screens on laptops became a thing and app stores with apps started to be offered on computers. We even got touch screens in our cars.

It wasn’t just technology that the iPhone moved into the future. Think back on the culture of 2007. TV was a big part of our lives. It was hard to find music videos anywhere else besides on TV. Sports highlights and replays were for the most part also only found on TV. Most of our entertainment came from our televisions. Even our interests were influenced by what we saw on TV. YouTube was just becoming a thing. Social media was still in its infancy; Instagram hadn’t even been invented yet. Our interactions were largely face-to-face. You couldn’t Google a nice place to go out on a date. When we went on holiday from school we could disappear from each other’s lives. Then when we went back to school we had so many stories from the holiday to share because we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in a while.

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This all changed because of the iPhone but also because of what the iPhone brought with it. The iPhone brought with it the App Store. Nothing like it existed before. Apps sort of existed but there wasn’t a marketplace where third parties could offer them. Apple made this possible with the App Store. What followed was the creation of apps that changed how we do things and how we live our lives.

We could now order food through an app on our phone without actually talking to anyone. With Uber, we could order a ride without calling a taxi or getting out of our houses to look for one. We could use Whatsapp to text our friends and family and share photos with them, all for free. Eventually, there was an app for everything. Even the biggest websites got apps to make it easier for people to use their platforms on their phones, such as YouTube and the Facebook brigade.

Social media especially became huge with the advent of apps. While social media was already revolutionary apps put it in people’s pockets. Apps and the devices that make it possible for us to use them made social media easily accessible. Our social structures benefitted from this too. We have all been given a voice through social media. We have been given power we didn’t have before – to do as we wish and share it with the world. People in positions of power and influence are more powerful and influential than before. People can also have more access to them.

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Without apps as we know them today a lot of things may not be possible. It may not be possible to order a ride to wherever you want to go because an Uber app isn’t available. It may not be possible to send texts, photos and videos for free because WhatsApp doesn’t exist. The social media explosion we had may not have happened because social media wouldn’t have apps to make it as accessible and easy to use. It may not be possible for so many people to become celebrities overnight by sharing their gifts and talents with the world because access to social media is limited to a web browser. Sure it’s the internet that makes all this possible, but the iPhone used the internet like nothing else before it.

The world is a smaller place now than it was in 2007. We’re all connected and things that happen on one side of the world affect the rest of the world more than they did. We’ve got to where we are quicker than we would have if the iPhone hadn’t been invented. That progress hasn’t been all rosy and has come with its share of problems. That said, few of us would likely go back to life before the iPhone. Back to life without Uber or Whatsapp.

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There’s a lot we praise the iPhone for, but we may not be giving it enough credit.