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back to article Apple iPhone turns five this Friday

The iPhone first went on sale five years ago this week and it has already clocked up more than $150 billion in revenues - more than the annual GDP of Hungary - for Apple. More than 250 million iPhones have been sold since 29 June 2007, the day over-the-counter sales began in the US, almost six months after its January 2007 …

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Love it or hate it, its definite a successful product.

Shame that it can't be a bit more bare bones in its pre-installed apps. I mean, how many people really use the stocks app?

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Anonymous Coward

My dad does although I admit there are better ones... it's not really a big deal - you just move them into a group and put them on the last page.

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> I mean, how many people really use the stocks app?

Like a newspaper... contains stock prices, weather forecasts, tv listings and a crossword. Just ignore or throw out the bits you don't need. A stock-price app works well as a proof-of-concept of what a real-time app might be used for, just as a ticker-tape machine did generations before.

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WTF?

Stock App

Who uses it? Anyone who is in a company with a sharesave scheme ... plus anybody else who owns any shares...

There are quite a few of us I'd imagine.

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Re: Stock App

Indeed - now its a ticker isn the notification center I check daily to see what madness has stricken the ftse today.

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Anonymous Coward

Magical

Take a picture with my iPhone and magically it appears on my iPad.

When out of the office working contacts and appointments are made for me on the calendar on the iPad, magically it appears on my phone.

I had four android phones before my iPhone, each one had a different charger, different OS, different front end.

It's the simplicity of the iOS that I like, yes it just works and you don't have to fiddle with it.

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"There was no external storage - there still isn't"

...you mean apart from iCloud? I have almost 20K tracks in my iTunes library, all accessible from my 32GB iPhone 4. You have to ask why you need tons of local storage these days. With bandwidth, anything is possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Agree. iCloud / iTunes 'Match' is so good that it actually means you are less likely to need the 32Gb or 64Gb versions. On top of this with the iPad (not tried on the iPhone but assume it may work) the camera connection kit can be used to move files onto the iPad and manufacturers have made storage devices with built in wifi - I bought one - 500Gb so can effectively take all my movies and share them with multiple devices.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not just about how much data you can store, it's also a usability issue. For example, I can take the microSD card out of my camera and view or upload the pictures on both of my android devices, without the need for special cables or adapters.

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"It's not just about how much data you can store, it's also a usability issue. For example, I can take the microSD card out of my camera and view or upload the pictures on both of my android devices, without the need for special cables or adapters."

I can put SD chips in my iPad and 'Air (ok, via adapter) and also connect any camera to the iPad via USB using another adapter. Ok, I have to use adapters, but I really don't care as they are simply kept in the camera case, or left on the end of the USB cable. My SLR uses CF cards anyway so I have to use the USB (and so would you - IF you can get an adapter for your handset - I don't know). USB is the best option as the card format becomes irrelevant.

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Anonymous Coward

Why yes, both of my devices support USB host, my phone phone even has a dock with 3 usb ports.

My tablet and phone both have standard microHDMI sockets so I can output full-screen to a HDMI equipped TV with the same cable and no adpaters.

It's much easier and convienient to pass a tablet around people when you are showing them pictures without extra bit of hardware dangling off them. Most modern DSLRs use SD cards.

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"It's much easier and convienient to pass a tablet around people when you are showing them pictures without extra bit of hardware dangling off them."

If you are going to show it aroud then simply copy the image to the device, or give them access to your online gallery. No biggie.

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Anonymous Coward

"simply copy the image to the device"

No point, they're already on the card.

"give them access to your online gallery"

How do the pictures get from your camera to the online gallery?

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Happy

Except the...

...micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter.

"My tablet and phone both have standard microHDMI sockets so I can output full-screen to a HDMI equipped TV with the same cable and no adpaters."

Steve

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Except the...

No adapter, a standard cable. Works on my phone, my transformer and my playbook, also works on my mum's camera. Doesn't work with an ipad, no socket. :-P

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Re: Except the...

"No adapter, a standard cable. "

Do you carry it around with you or hope that there's one where you're going?

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FAIL

Re: Except the...

One word: AirPlay. No cable required.

Also, for those blethering on about SD Cards: you have heard of EyeFi, right? Again: no need for adapters, cables, etc.

When people buy Android kit, they'll buy accessories that meet the demands of that particular ecosystem. Owners of Apple kit will do likewise. Guess what? The Apple ecosystem is not the same as the Android ecosystem! Who knew?

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Speaking as a Fandroid

It's a truly lovely piece of kit.

Just shame about the walled garden.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Speaking as a Fandroid

People never moaning about 'walled gardens' when we had Nokias / Motorolas.

I'm personally all for it - makes it more secure and easier and frankly there is every app you could want. I'm not a tinkerer - just want my phone to work - suspect I'm not alone but there will be people who feel the need to customise. Look at the cars people drive - 95%+ are 'stock' - how many actually have / need / benefit from underbody lighting and whale tails?

iOS does well because it's easy and you can move from one device to another with little hassle. Android is a mash-up of bits from Google, different hardware, bits from the manufacturer - for most people it's messy. even with Android being more 'open' - I bet again 95% of people don't re-rom or install stuff from outside the main marketplaces.

That is assuming they install / buy anything - I suspect most Android phones are being sold as time based 'end of contract' upgrades - i.e. why have a candy bar when you can have a touchscreen for free on a 2 year deal - then just use it as a phone.

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Re: Speaking as a Fandroid

I believe the closest Nokia ever got to a walled garden was some odd extension to SMS which sent low-res bitmap images. The other manufacturers came up with EMS and then everything was promptly forgotten about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Speaking as a Fandroid

I suspect that your 'suspicions' are maybe just a little bit tainted by iFan elitist condescension.

Hard as it may be for you to believe, many people buy Android phones because they like them, not because they can't afford an iPhone. Just like many people buy iPhones because they like them, not because everybody else at the coffee shop has one.

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Re: Speaking as a Fandroid

Eh? What's that got to do with this "walled garden" concept you guys keep whining about?

Nokia phones ran Symbian, which suffered the same problems as Android does now: too much fragmentation. Apps that ran on one device were not guaranteed to work on the next. THAT is what end users care about. If you can guarantee that their investment in software will not be destroyed when they upgrade to another device, you win. Apple do this by applying the "KISS" philosophy religiously.

Symbian's woes are probably a good indication of Android's future too. The more "open" your platform is, the more prone it is to fragmentation, both technically and politically. MSX was another example of the failure to standardise properly.

We've seen articles mentioning the myriad cheap Chinese Android-based devices, but how many of those have that Android logo? How many will even run anything newer than Android 2.2? How many will run all the apps I might want to install that ran just fine on my previous Android device?

With Android, switching from one such device to another within the same ecosystem, can burn my investment in software. There are plenty of Android apps that are effectively locked to only a small number of devices. Most developers simply can't afford to buy the thousands of Android-based devices for testing, so they'll build for a tiny subset and leave it at that. This leads to a feedback loop: only a few devices are "officially" supported, so end users will tend to buy those; all that talk of "choice" becomes meaningless in the face of this situation.

After a while, your investment in applications for your mobile device may become greater than the cost of the device itself. If you want users to buy your applications, you MUST offer them continuity of support even across devices within the same ecosystem. At present, Android users have no guarantee that their next Android-badged device will run all their existing applications, so they're naturally going to be more cautious about what they buy, hence the infamously poor sales figures for the platform.

Developers are favouring iOS precisely for this reason. Even Microsoft have already committed to recompiling all their WinPho7 apps in their app store to run on WinPho8. All by themselves. Developers don't need to do a thing. From an end user's perspective, this means when they come to upgrade their WinPho7 device, they'll still be able to run all the software. That is the kind of certainty you need for a platform to succeed in the long term. Microsoft are actually getting this bit right. Google are not.

Android is the only mobile OS out there that doesn't offer that level of certainty of continuity. It's an ecosystem of thousands of walled gardens! If I buy a Samsung Android phone, I have absolutely no guarantee that my investment in Android apps will work on rival phones—or even with Samsung's other Android-badged devices.

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Re: Speaking as a Fandroid (@revisionists)

Starting with the N95 — released more than a year before Apple had an app store — Nokia instigated the 'Symbian Signed' programme, which involved locking those and subsequent handsets down so that they could install signed applications only. By Feb 2008, still several months before Apple had an app store, Nokia announced it would now sign apps only for those paying Nokia a subscription of US$200/year and fulfilling certain other criteria.

That's probably what's being referred to here as a walled garden. It's not as strict as Apple's rules but it's exclusive centralised control nevertheless.

Nokia's documentation on the scheme remains available at http://www.developer.nokia.com/Community/Wiki/User_guide:_Symbian_Signed and a bunch of blogs and news reports to confirm dates are easily found with Google.

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Re: Speaking as a Fandroid (@revisionists)

Binary compatibility broke between V8 and V9 and Symbian Signed was brought in at the same time as a response to viruses targeting Symbian and Windows Mobile at the time. Even so non-signed binaries that didn't access anything important would work and you could self-sign things that accessed most features until a year or so ago.

Nokia withdrawing the self-signing program was adding to the walled garden, yes, but that happened very recently. But then again there's always the Norton hack.

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Anonymous Coward

Stock App

I use the Stock app to track the Nokia and Microsoft share prices.

The way Nokia are going though I may need to buy an iPad to fit the graph on the screen.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stock App

You mean as they plummet - 52 week high of $6.87 down to $2.09 now and market cap of $8bn. Back on '08 the share price was over $33.

I would not be surprised if Apple bought them for the patents (to combat Motorola / Google) and to cause problems for the Windows phone.

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Anonymous Coward

No denying

that is was a game changer.

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Re: No denying

When it first appeared, compared to what else was on the market it looked as if it was extra-terrestrial technology. Apple, a company that had nothing to do with mobile phones instantly put all of the established manufacturers on the back-foot or in some cases practically destroyed them. The tech also paved the way for proper touchscreen interfaces and is now making it into TVs and cars. Whatever you think of Apple, it did change the world.

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Re: No denying

Interesting choice of words: "looked as if it was extra-terrestrial technology."

I was one of the people who couldn't see what Apple could bring to the smartphone table, and then when I saw it, I remember describing to a friend as "looking like it fell of the back of a spaceship."

Funny how run of the mill it looks now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No denying

It looks "run of the mill" now because it was so blatantly and flagrantly copied by others

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Re: No denying

And because we're used to it. I have friends who marvel at the woodland setting of our house, but we live there every day, so dogwood flowers and (this fall) fresh pawpaws and sightings of pileated woodpeckers aren't quite as marvelous to us.

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Anonymous Coward

Once you have had black (iPad) there is no going back ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Surely...

Even fandroids have to admit that without the iPhone we'd probably still be stuck using crappy phones. The iPhone came along and basically forced every other phone manufacturer to up their game substantially. Sure the first gen iPhone had a lot of faults but every iteration since has seen a noticable improvement.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely...

True, you may have been using an Android phone like this:

http://gizmodo.com/334909/google-android-prototype-in-the-wild

It also gave Microsoft a much needed kick up the backside. They were just releasing the same tired old Windows Mobile with minor GUI enhancements for years.

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Re: Surely...

My understanding was that Android was going to be a Blackberry clone originally, until the iPhone arrived.

I look at Nokia more in sorrow than in anger. They clearly failed to turn Symbian into something pleasant to use in a timely manner - and don't tell me 'you can do more with Symbian'. The stock browser on the N8, released in the second half of 2010, was still inferior to that of the browser in the first iPhone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely...

Luckily, Opera is just a download away

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Re: Surely...

"My understanding was that Android was going to be a Blackberry clone originally, until the iPhone arrived."

Eric Schmidt's place on the Apple board during the iPhone development was ... well, it created some interesting situations, to say the least.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely...

http://www.osnews.com/story/25264/Did_Android_Really_Look_Like_BlackBerry_Before_the_iPhone_

"However, unlike what has already become an accepted truth for some, the infamous photograph of a prototype Android device was not the prototype Android device. In fact, Google was working on touch screen devices alongside that infamous BlackBerry-like device, and the evidence for that is out there, for everyone to see."

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Anonymous Coward

" Likewise Wi-Fi." - Pardon?

The iPhone was and is excelent and enabled the fan wars. But really? Was it the first with wi-fi? I thought the odd Nokia and others had that already.

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Re: " Likewise Wi-Fi." - Pardon?

Not the first no, but then it wasn't the first smartphone either - but many would not know it. I'm guessing that Tony is refering to the fact wi-fi was not ubiquitous. But then that was just a matter of time probably and is not now in every phone 'because of' the iPhone.. It was however more user friendly to connect using the iPhone (or iPod Touch which came before the iPhone and paved the way for many to get an iPhone but that seems to get forgotten / not get mentioned much)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " Likewise Wi-Fi." - Pardon?

Just something else that Apple invented and the world had never even seen. </sarcasm>

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Re: " Likewise Wi-Fi." - Pardon?

"(or iPod Touch which came before the iPhone and paved the way for many to get an iPhone but that seems to get forgotten / not get mentioned much"

Actually the iPhone came first and the iPod Touch later for those who couldn't afford an iPhone - Steve Jobs called it "an iPhone with training wheels" or something like that.

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Anonymous Coward

Likewise WiFi?

I don't think you'll find the iPhone introduced wifi to mobiles. It had it, but it didn't introduce it.

Off the top of my head, the Nokia N95 had it, along with a quality 5mp camera with flash and pre-dates the iPhone (March 2007). It also had accelerometers, although Nokia (in their wisdom) didn't initially do much with them as they rushed out their beta firmware to the unsuspecting public.

The iphone 1 was a great kick up the arse for the rest of the mobile industry, but beyond a very polished user interface, it didn't actually pioneer much at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Likewise WiFi?

Apart from iOS and a full touch screen...? You can hardly compare a Nokia N95 to an iPhone - yes they both made calls but apart from that. I had an N95 and it was ok as a phone but email (joke), web (joke), apps (joke), games (joke). It had wifi but what was the point.

You are comparing a skateboard to a car just because they both have 4 wheels.

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Re: Likewise WiFi?

Didn't they also effectively pioneer providing consumers with data and a sensible cost? I know that now everyone has a cap, but at the time they forced the networks to provide unlimited data, so you didn't need to worry. Aside from the interface I see this as the biggest innovation they introduced into the market. Not a hardware one for sure, but a game changer for the handheld market from that point.

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Re: Likewise WiFi?

The N95 had 3G, GPS, a 5 megapixel camera with video capture and downloadable applications, that the iPhone didn't. But then the iPhone had a capacitive touchscreen and was a much more polished experience, all wrapped up in an elegant design that made the N95 look clunky and old-fashioned.

Anyway, here's another look back - http://www.mobilegazette.com/retro-apple-iphone-12x03x21.htm - that puts it in context a bit.

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"Didn't they also effectively pioneer providing consumers with data and a sensible cost?"

Yes. This was another big innovation. I recall my Nokia E65 had a whole 100Kb (yes, Kb) bundled with it per month on O2, and was then charged at something stupid per Mb.

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Re: "Didn't they also effectively pioneer providing consumers with data and a sensible cost?"

Nope, I had my n95 way before iPhone and had 'unlimited' (1gb) with tethering (t-mobile).

I still use my n95, as a bike computer using ViewRanger with a n95 specific mount bought through ebay.

And the 5mp camera is still up there with current phones quality wise.

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FAIL

Re: Likewise WiFi?

@AC 10:44: You do realise that the first iPhone had nothing in the way of apps and games apart from what people could do with HTML4, no push e-mail, no 3G, no MMS/videocalls (less importantly admittedly), and no App Store? When it did get an App Store two years later it was the only one.

While the UI was nice and shiny I think we're forgetting what the first iPhone could (and could not) do.

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iPhone 1

I really wanted one till I realised it couldn't do picture messaging - a dealbreaker for me with a really young family, and me at work all day. Finally got a 4 - still loving it.

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