What it is: The iPhone is the most popular camera in the world.
The iPhone defined smartphones because previous mobile phones were little more than telephones without a cord. If you wanted to do anything more, you could send text messages (often by tapping the same key multiple times to choose the right letter), but if you wanted driving directions or to view a web page, too bad. You were out of luck.
One often overlooked feature of the iPhone is its camera. In the early days of cameras, you took a picture and sent the film off to be developed. Then Polaroid offered instant cameras so you could see your picture as soon as you took it. However if you wanted to share pictures with others, you still had to mail them in an envelope.
When the iPhone appeared, not only could you capture pictures easily, but you could share and edit those pictures right on your iPhone as well. As the image quality of the iPhone’s camera improved, it was more than good enough for most people. Today’s iPhone camera is equivalent to yesterday’s dedicated digital camera. Dedicated digital cameras will always be more versatile, but the added cost, bulk, and inability to share pictures will always give the iPhone an advantage. The iPhone camera, combined with the iPhone’s portability, helped redefine the way the world takes and shares pictures while the iPhone redefined how smartphones should work.
The iPhone ushered in huge changes in just ten short years. Yet many people failed to recognize the potential of the iPhone when it first appeared, which is like seeing the future in front of your eyes and refusing to believe it exists. Imagine how today’s critics of the Apple Watch and iPad will feel when both of those devices take over the market more in a few more years. The iPad is going to redefine mobile computing and the Apple Watch is going to redefine wearable computers.
With iOS 11, the iPad is going to get more versatile and merge into a laptop. With additional sensors, such as a non-invasive glucose monitor, the Apple Watch is going to dominate the real-time health monitoring market. Expect other wearable computers to soon appear from Apple such as Air Pods and Smart Glasses. Wearable computers will become common just as the world finally adjusts to the reality that the iPhone has ushered in a whole new world for mobile computing.
Follow Apple and you can see the future because rivals will simply mimic Apple instead of forging ahead with their own initiatives. Sadly, only Apple (and possibly Google) seem capable of recreating new markets. The rest of the world seems content to follow and then wonder why they can never be seen as innovators.
Even if you use an Android smartphone, it owes its design to the iPhone. The iPhone will soon redefine a new world with augmented reality. When Apple introduces its own augmented reality apps on the next iPhone, expect to see Apple redefine the smartphone market once more.
The future is Apple. Just watch what they do and be ready for massive change. Even if it’s just changing the way we take pictures.