Apple has sold more than 500 million iPhones since the release of the original model back in June 2007. That’s an average of 136 sold every single minute, every hour, every day for seven years straight. While they may be impressive statistics, however, is that enough evidence to claim that iPhone changed the world? No. The fact is that year on year some models of Samsung mobiles have actually outsold Apple’s smartphone. So if it’s not sales statistics that made the iPhone so special, what was it?
It’s all in the fingers, not the figures
Back in 2007 smartphones were not so smart. At that time even standard mobiles were hard to use with their complicated menus, tiny screens and clunky graphics. So-called smartphones were even worse. They were overly complicated, had horrible plastic keyboards and were very difficult to synchronise with your personal computer.
This made emails, contacts, calendars and other features more of a hassle than a help. What was needed was a large-screened smartphone that made calling, emailing, scheduling and other tasks easier and, dare we say it, more enjoyable. Apple identified this need and aimed their sights straight at it with the iPhone.
Apple’s answer was their brand new technology called Multitouch. Multitouch allows the user to interact directly with graphics on the screen using multiple fingers at the same time.
Its gorgeous, realistic interface made the whole experience of using the iPhone much more immersive and personal than anything before. This, combined with a beautifully simple menu layout, made the iPhone the smartest, easiest and most enjoyable mobile phone the world had ever seen.
Almost every smartphone manufacturer has copied it closely ever since, with most models today resembling various-sized clones of the original iPhone. We have all become so used to pinching, swiping and typing on the screen that it’s hard to remember that before 2007 we had never experienced anything like it.
The App Store
The world-changing phenomenon didn’t end there. A big part of the iPhone’s revolutionary interface was its “apps” – the little applications, or programs that allow you to do “smart” things with your iPhone – Calendar, Calculator, Maps, iPod, web browser and so on.
In March 2008 Apple released the first iPhone SDK allowing programmers to create their own apps, and just one year after the first iPhone was released the App Store was open for business. Since then iPhone users have downloaded 75 billion apps and the store now boasts well over a million different ones ranging in price from free to hundreds of euros each. Downloading apps has become such a normal part of everyday life that it is easy to forget that nothing quite like it existed before 2008.
Purchase & Repair
iPhones can currently be purchased in Portugal anywhere from €899 for an unlocked top of the range 5s all the way down to free for older models locked to Vodafone, TMN or NOS. There is also a strong market for used iPhones but it’s worth remembering that they can only be officially unlocked by the original carrier. Unofficial iPhone unlocking is a breach of contract, can permanently damage the phone and is not generally recommended.
What can you do when things go wrong? Broken screens, water damage, faulty batteries or other issues can leave you with an expensive paperweight. But there are several repair options open to you.
You can always attempt to fix it yourself by following guides on websites such as YouTube or iFixit. If that seems a little daunting to you, then you could pay one of the many local repair services to do it for you. Be aware though that either of these options will void both your warranty and your right to official support from Apple.
Before proceeding with any repair decision it is always wise to first check with your local Apple Authorised Service Provider. Whether the phone is damaged beyond repair or just not working as well as it used to, Apple offer a repair or exchange option at a very reasonable price. The option is usually open to you regardless of where and when you acquired the phone.
Every autumn Apple announces a new iPhone. What can we expect from iPhone 6 when it is released later this year? An even thinner design and a bigger screen are definitely on the cards, along with the brand new iOS 8 Operating System which has already been announced.
Perhaps the most exciting feature though will be the way the new phone will integrate with the much anticipated iWatch, which is rumoured to be announced around the same time. Over the last seven years we’ve seen how smart our mobile phones have become, now let’s see if our watches can catch up…
WARRANTIES – KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Your iPhone came with an Apple international one-year limited warranty. If you purchased it in Portugal it is also covered by a European Consumer Law providing two years of statutory warranty rights from the date of receipt. Returning it to the shop where you bought it can be a long and painful process as they tend not to have trained local staff and have to send the device to Lisbon for servicing. You can, however, deal direct with an Apple Authorised Service Provider such as Newteq Solutions in Lagoa. At such official centres warranty processing usually takes less than 48 hours. This is possible even if the phone was provided by mobile phone carriers such as Vodafone, TMN or Optimus/NOS.
CREATE YOUR OWN APP
Do you have a great idea for an iPhone app to enhance your business, compliment your website or sell on the app store? Then why not become a Registered Apple Developer? Visit developer.apple.com on the internet and get started right away by downloading the current SDK for free. Alternatively visit www.newteq.pt for further information on local training courses or companies who can create apps for you.
|| TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW
The smartphone and tablet Operating System from Google.
An online shop for downloading apps for your smartphone, tablet or personal computer.
A series of smartphones made by the Canadian company Research in Motion. It was very popular with heavy email users.
The Operating System that runs on Apple iPads, iPhones and iPods. iOS 8 will be released later this year.
A phone that is locked to a particular carrier can only be used with SIM cards from that carrier. Unlocked phones can be used with any compatible carrier in most countries.
OS or Operating System
The main computer program that runs on your smartphone. The three most popular ones are Apple iOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Mobile.
Software Development Kit. The software tools and resources for creating iPhone apps.
The Subscriber Identification Module is the tiny plastic card inserted in your phone that makes it your phone. It’s main function is to allow the phone to work with your telephone number.
A mobile phone with enhanced features such as the ability to send and receive email or browse the internet.
Short Message Service. Often referred to as text messaging, SMS has been around since the early days of mobile phones.
Windows Mobile Microsoft’s smartphone
By Russell Newton
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Russell Newton has been using Macintosh computers since 1986 and has worked in Apple technical support for over a decade. He holds many official Apple qualifications including Apple Certified Macintosh Technician, Apple Certified Support Professional and Apple Certified Technical Coordinator. He currently works as Senior Consultant at Algarve-based Newteq Solutions, the local Apple Authorised Service Provider. | www.newteq.pt