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lifestyle
10 January 2017

A decade of iPhone innovation

Since its release in 2007, Apple's iPhone has consistently led the way in smartphone innovations.

2007 saw the release of Apple's first smartphone, the iPhone, which has since become a cultural phenomenon. In the following decade, the iPhone has proven to be more than just a phone — it's a device that's ushered in features that have changed the way we go about our daily lives. Here's a closer look at some of the innovations popularised by Apple's phone.

The multitouch touchscreen

While the iPhone did not introduce the touchscreen, it did deliver a multitouch experience far beyond what most smartphones offered at the time, including pinch-to-zoom and a double-tap to zoom in and out. A decade later, phones with physical keyboards have all but vanished in favour of screens that respond to your every gesture.

A new app experience

Apple's decision to create an App Store for the iPhone in 2008 proved a wise addition to the iPhone universe. Put simply, the App Store forever changed the way we interact with our mobile devices. For the first time in history, the App Store made it extremely easy and affordable for the masses to purchase and enjoy mobile applications.

What's more, the App Store incentivised developers to churn out apps that the world had never dreamed possible. From apps like Shazam to an endless array of games, the App Store quickly became a digital economy all on its own.

Retina display

Of all the features the iPhone 4 brought to the table, it was the retina display that truly shook up the industry. The iPhone 4 featured a 960×640 resolution display, packing in an impressive 326 pixels per inch. This exactly doubled the resolution that came with previous iPhone models.

Immediately, the technological leap that the iPhone 4’s retina display provided was plain to see. Displays on older devices such as the iPhone 3GS appeared ancient and pixelated next to the crisp and vibrant iPhone 4 display. Today, every Apple product - including the Apple Watch - sports, at a minimum, a retina display.

The 64-bit A7 processor

The introduction of the 64-bit A7 chipset set the stage for more powerful iOS apps and gave iOS developers a headstart in building the smartphone apps of the future. Chips with more bits can handle more memory. In other words, a 32-bit chip is designed to handle memory addresses of up to 32 bits while a 64-bit chip is designed to handle memory addresses of up to 64 bits.

Speaking with Siri

When Siri came on the scene in 2011, it promised a virtual assistant experience, letting you access iPhone functions with just the sound of your voice. Siri has since made the jump to other devices like the Mac and Apple TV, making it a more central part of Apple's ecosystem. Siri faces stiff competition among digital assistants (such as Amazon's recently launched Alexa), but it helped start the trend of voice-powered mobile devices.

Touch ID secures your phone

Apple's Touch ID came to the iPhone 5S in 2013 and has remained a part of the iPhone in subsequent hardware updates. The fingerprint sensor not only improves your phone's security by unlocking your iPhone only when your fingerprint is recognised, it also enables features like mobile payments through Apple Pay.

Better living with iCloud

Apple's iCloud was built from the ground up and made its way to the iPhone in 2011. The cloud storage feature has quickly become the backbone for Apple's many products and services, acting both as a tool to sync content between devices, as well as storage for files and folders. It's been a critical part of the improvements Apple has made over the years to both music and photo storage on its mobile devices.