On January 9, 2007 Steve Jobs announced that Apple was releasing the iPhone to tremendous excitement – this was a device that promised to change the face of mobile phones completely. Apple said goodbye to buttons and styluses and hello to a finger activated touch screen, with widescreen iPod capabilities and unrivalled internet communication possibilities. But for all the features that the iPhone introduced, it’s the iOS 2.0 software update that may prove to be considered the greater game-changer in mobile technology when the iPhone’s legacy is assessed.
Third party software on iPhone
The iOS 2.0 software update for the iPhone (and the iPod touch for that matter) was revolutionary because it added the app store;a way for third party developers to get their software onto the iPhone. While downloading applications to mobile phones wasn’t new, previous software had been lacklustre – in turn, support and demand was limited. In effect, the iOS 2.0 software update opened up a whole new world for mobile phone users, allowing them to add high-quality software like never before.
Some may argue that iPhones already had the capability to download custom applications, albeit unofficially. While it is true that iPhone owners with ‘jailbroken’ models could access third party software, jailbreaking invalidated the warranty and required the kind of tampering that meant this remained a minority interest. Furthermore, major businesses and professional developers would never dream of creating software for a service Apple disapproved of.
Software stores for Android, BlackBerry and more
Of course, if the iOS 2.0 software update only affected iPhones and other iOS devices it would by hyperbolic to suggest the update was revolutionary. However, the iPhone’s app store would soon be replicated across the remaining leading smartphone models, changing not just the way that iPhone owners interacted with their phone, but the mobile landscape altogether.
Subsequent software updates have lacked punch
Since the release of 2.0, subsequent software updates haven’t exactly been so dramatic as to make everyone else play catch up: the most significant thing about 3.0 was that it added the ability to copy and paste. While FaceTime was touted as being a major software advance in 4.0, enabled only by upgrades to the iPhone 4’s hardware, it has proven to be an underused feature. And although 5.0 added cloud storage and syncing facilities, this is something that Android software has actually been capable of for sometime.
Does this mean that Apple have disappointed with their latest software updates, or is it that since the revolutionary release of 2.0 we’ve simply come to expect even more technological innovation?