Some things get better with age, but the original iPhone isn’t one of them. While the introduction of the handset 10 years ago today changed the technology landscape for the better, that iPhone pales in comparison to what can be done with the current-generation lineup.
Here are three features you might take for granted today that weren’t included on the first model.
The App Store
The App Store didn't arrive until a year later in 2008 along with iPhone OS 2.0 and the iPhone 3G.
The first, and most obvious, missing feature on the original iPhone was the App Store. Yep, that’s right. Buyers spent $499 or more for a handset that could only run Apple’s built-in native apps.
Steve Jobs was originally strongly opposed to allowing third-party apps to be run on the device, praising web apps during the original iPhone reveal:
The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone. And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps.
And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today.
After developer backlash and a large jailbreaking contingent, Jobs and Apple changed their minds and ushered in the App Store with iPhone OS 2.0. And that’s been a smart decision for both Apple and developers. Before this year’s WWDC, Apple said that developers have earned more than $70 billion since the marketplace opened in 2008. That means that the App Store has earned more than $100 billion dollars all total with Apple snagging around $30 billion.
Along with making serious amounts of cash for everyone involved, the App Store rush helped cement the iPhone as the device for the mobile computing generation. Apple’s tagline “There’s an app for that” has really become true.
The original iPhone could only capture 2-megapixel photos and no video at all.Credit: Lisa Bettany/SnapSnapSnap
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are camera powerhouses and for many users the preferred way they capture photos and videos. But the situation with the original iPhone was just a bit different.
It could only capture grainy, imperfect 2-megapixel photos, and had no flash at all. Anyone who wanted to capture a video was also out of luck as it took until the 2009 iPhone 3GS to usher in that feature. Can you imagine an iPhone without video and all of the apps that take advantage of the feature?
Now, you can pull out an iPhone 7 Plus and capture beautiful 4K resolution video and 12-megapixel images. Using the dual-lens camera system on that iPhone, the
Any message with a photo or video
Messaging has taken a big leap forward since the original iPhone.
Speaking of photos and videos, text messaging on the original iPhone lived up to its name. Because of “hardware limitations,” Apple didn’t include MMS capability that was required if you wanted to send any photos or videos to friends.
If you wanted to do that, Apple recommended that users send those through email instead.
Apple eventually caved in and brought MMS to the iPhone lineup with iPhone OS 3.0 in 2009. But while the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS were able to send and receive videos and images without a problem, the feature was never officially came for the original model.
Now, 10 years later, thanks to iMessage and the iMessage Store, you can do pretty much anything imaginable through a message.
The next 10 years
You've come a long way, baby.
And while the original iPhone looks every bit its age 10 years later, can you imagine what features we’ll be using in 2027 that we can’t live without?
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