Tech Savvy: Milestone iPhone model’s release next week stirs up frenzy

The latest model has been the subject of white-hot rumors, online image leaks and social media frenzy ever since, well, the last iPhone was introduced to the world, again among much fanfare.

The media event is expected to feature the release of the new iPhone next week, a decade after the smartphone was introduced by Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011.

The game-changing iPhone (and one-time status symbol) became a must-have tech accessory since its introduction in 2007 and has consistently been a profit-maker for the tech giant.

But in the intervening years, other smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung have adopted many of the features of Apple’s iconic product, such as the touch screen and swiping gestures.

Owners of Android-based smartphones have even criticized “the house that Jobs and Steve Wozniak” built as falling behind Apple’s competitors in innovating in recent years.

The iPhone 7—and its larger-screen sibling, the iPhone 7 Plus—only received a smaller-than-expected makeover, which disappointed many who then decided to pass on them.

Built-up demand from those iPhone fans, coupled with the milestone that the latest iPhone will have reached, and the tech company is under pressure to unveil something spectacular.

Whether it is an iPhone model that is substantially redesigned with a rumored edge-to-edge screen or the disappearance of the ubiquitous home button, Apple knows how to build up hype.

Having been alive during the iPhone’s existence and the company’s take down of BlackBerry’s lucrative stranglehold on the mobile market—owners referred to it as “CrackBerry,” because of the BlackBerry’s cellphone models’ addictive nature—it has been a remarkable turnaround.

I was an “early adopter”of tech—a person who often bought the newest or latest technological thingamajig to come onto the market, such as the iPhone precursor: the PalmPilot.

A purveyor of the PalmPilot, it was a black-and-white handheld organizer that included a calendar, to-do tasks, etc., but could not connect to the web, which was still in its infancy.

Then the iPhone came along and blew everyone away with its intuitive user interface (much like Apple’s Macintosh computers) and featured a touchscreen and “apps”—oh, the apps!

Suddenly, magically, the Apple smartphone could do much more than make calls; the apps transformed the device, so that it could take photos with its built-in camera or play music.

As if overnight, “dumbphone” owners—those with flip phones, physical dial pads or buttons—found themselves outnumbered, and the iPhone became a cultural touchstone if you will.

I found it hard at first to appreciate the Swiss knife-like utility of the iPhone until I thought of it as “not as a phone that could connect to the Web” but as “a small computer that could make calls.”

And you would be hard pressed now to find anyone actually using their iPhones to talk to other people or to have a conversation as text messaging and instant messaging gained popularity.

While the iPhone has been a big success for Apple, it heralded the end for many other industries and consumer products, such as cameras, map-makers or portable music players.

Having just one device that could do all the things that those tech products could do and more with smartphone apps, the iPhone made making calls or answering them seem SO antiquated.

I now use my iPhone to snap photos, stream radio stations, post social media updates, navigate unfamiliar terrain, text people (that I don’t want to talk to) and, of course, watch funny cat videos.

So, happy birthday to you, 10th anniversary iPhone! I’ll be looking out for you—that is if my eyes aren’t already glued to my smartphone, walking around distractedly, playing Angry Birds.

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