In the Eden of smartphones, Apple was indeed the tempting fruit

By : |July 1, 2016 0

Remember those Nokia phones with colorful keypad? Or those flip phones that were so much of a style statement till about a decade back? All you could do with them was call or message. And then Blackberry came into the picture, which made QWERTY keypads a rage. But still, imagining that you could watch a movie or even play a 3D game on your mobile handset was a distant reality, or a fantasy, to be precise. Post-2002, the smartphone scene evolved, Nokia’s Symbian operating system grew in complexity and we soon had a barrage of smartphones year after year. But the market was truly ruptured when in 2007, Apple unveiled the first iPhone. The world of a smartphone has never been the same since, with top players like Nokia, Sony and Motorola struggling to find a breathing space.

Before Apple’s disruptive product hit the market, Windows-powered smartphones from manufacturers like Sony Ericsson (Xperia Arc), HTC (Touch) and others functioned basically as business-friendly smartphones. Apple put the power in the hands of the general public and promoted personal entertainment on handheld devices.

CIOL In the Eden of smartphones, Apple was indeed the tempting fruit

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The iPhone brought to light a number of technologies, forcing smartphone makers like Nokia, BlackBerry, and Sony Ericsson to wake up from their deep slumber and start innovating. One of the technologies that Apple brought in was the capacitive touchscreen displays that rely on electrical properties of the human body to detect when and where on a display the user touches. Prior to the iPhone, most smartphones and feature phones used resistive touchscreen displays. Apple found a way to make them better by using glass instead of a plastic screen. These made iPhone displays much more responsive. HTC and Nokia did play catch up, but the end result couldn’t really match Apple’s. But the innovation did catch up with the industry eventually, and today even the cheapest of smartphones have capacitive touchscreen displays.

Another significant feature that Apple introduced in the market was the app store. Today app stores are a given with any mobile operating system, but it was Apple who first introduced it with its iPhone 3G, with about 500 apps during launch. Apple’s was the first user interface where apps built by third-party developers could be viewed, purchased and installed.

Steve Job was a control freak, and was often criticized for it, but in retrospect, it all worked out quite well for Apple. The company has complete control over what an iPhone will show its customers, to what goes into the hardware and even who gets to build them. Android smartphones, on the other hand, face fragmentation issues even today because manufacturers build hardware to work on software that is made by someone else.

A compelling example in favor of Apple in this regard is iTunes. There have been plenty of alternatives, but none that match the selection and exclusivity of iTunes’ music selection that can be downloaded straight to your smartphone. Nokia came up with a well thought out alternative called Nokia Music back in 2008, but it lacked the labels and seemed unprepared when it came to the customer experience that Apple with its iPods had already mastered. Nothing matched the simplicity of buying music from iTunes back then and right now things seem to be the same provided you are ready to pay up. No doubt, iPhone users swear by the product, and seldom switch to any other smartphone!

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