Eleven years ago, a middle aged man in black turtleneck t-shirt, blue denims and sneakers took the stage at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, California to launch a product that was going to set the stone for the smartphones for decades to come. 11 years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the first iPhone. iPhone, since then, has come a long way. From design, to specs, to price, Apple has brought in a number of changes to the iPhone. And with this technology came a lot of terminology – along with tangible innovations came a number of terms which were once foreign to most ears but became almost routine, thanks to the iPhone and the attention it almost always received. Of course, we are reasonably sure a few more will be added to the list (and are being composed even as this is being written), but as of today, here are 11 tech terms that have now become part and parcel of our existence, courtesy the iPhone:
What do you do when you have to zoom into a picture or video? You put your two fingers together on the screen and move them away from each other and call it pinch-to-zoom. Pretty basic, right? Well, when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone back in 2007, pinch-to-zoom was practically unheard of. While there is a jury out there, butting its head on whether it is Apple’s innovation or not, all we know is, the company brought the feature first on a smartphone and made it as conventional as it could be.
They say there is an app for everything and there may be n number of smartphones in the world today but what make these phones smart are the apps that run on them. Even though apps have become more of a necessity for smartphones than a matter of choice, believe it or not, the concept of apps became mainstream only when Steve Jobs brought in the App Store on July 10, 2008. Yes, apps existed before that but nobody really put them together on a distribution platform for the users to download or buy apps like Apple did and ever since, companies have followed in its footsteps by creating their own app distribution platforms. Sure, the company did not coin the concept but the credit for making apps omnipresent definitely goes to the iPhone.
3. Hey, Siri:
Those who have used an iPhone know how Siri is a vital part of the overall iPhone experience. A simple “Hey, Siri” can help you save dates, set alarms, manage your calendar or just entertain you when you are bored. The personal voice assistant first featured on the iPhone 4s and ever since, not only has it has created the road to follow for other voice assistants, but the command itself has now become a part of our lives.
Everyone loves the precisely cut, shiny and smooth edges on a smartphone, which make it look more premium. Even though Apple itself seems to have moved from these diamond polished edges, the became the talk of the town when Apple first introduced this design detail on the iPhone 5 (complete with a video featuring Jony Ive). While the process of chamfering was relatively unknown in smartphones before the iPhone 5 came along, it was picked up like free candy around the corner by other companies soon after.
5. Nano SIM:
If you own a smartphone, your primary SIM card is most likely to be a nano SIM. Your secondary SIM might be micro (if you use a dual SIM phone) but nano SIMs have become the standard size for SIM cards over the years. And you can thank the iPhone 5 for it. The iPhone 5 was the first smartphone to come with a nano SIM card slot and ever since then the size picked up and now has almost become standard. How long before the eSIM follows in its footsteps, we wonder?
Fingerprint scanners have become hygiene now and are available on phones costing as low as Rs. 5,000 but while your fingerprint may now be THE password you need to unlock your phone, it was only after Apple introduced TouchID on the iPhone 5s that the world realised how cool something as basic as unlocking your phone can be and the Cupertino giant gave it a name which is now almost synonymous with fingerprint scanner: TouchID.
7. Retina display:
It may now be present on almost Apple products, but Retina display actually first featured on the iPhone 4S. With higher pixel density (almost four times) as compared to standard displays at that time, the term soon became mainstream and “ppi” became an integral part of spec sheets of all phones. And of course, we now have the Liquid Retina Display with the iPhone XR, which seems a solid enough proposition to enter tech jargon. Pun intended.
8. Portrait Mode:
While bokeh was almost a patent feature of DSLRs, with the introduction of dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple introduced its own feature to get bokeh on your portrait photos and called it, Portrait Mode. Ever since then, not only the feature but the term has become pretty much a standard term for bokeh on various smartphone across different brands. The iPhone Xs also brings Depth Control into the mix now – we are so expecting to see that in some other brands’ documentation!
Love it or hate it, you definitely cannot ignore it, and that is pretty much the notch for you. While the iPhone X was not the first phone to feature the notch, it definitely was the one phone which divided the world in two segments: the one which loved the notch and the other which hated it. There clearly was nothing in between. And for all the criticism and mockery Apple faced for having the notch, the feature became so popular that now most brands have at least one smartphone featuring the notch. So much for the all the hatred, right?
Even as other companies where catching up with TouchID, Apple took the phone security game up a notch (or on a notch, to be precise). It introduced FaceID on the iPhone X last year, allowing you to unlock your phone with just a glance. While the concept had been around for a while, it was only after it came on the iPhone, that other companies (including Google itself) picked it up and now it is seen even on mid-range smartphones.
Apple took a fun spin on boring emojis last year and bought them to life. It offered a range of 3D emojis that mimic your facial expressions. While initially many called it just party trick, we saw many other smartphone manufacturers later on following in the footsteps of the Cupertino tech brand, creating their own 3-D emojis.