I got my first cell phone in October 2001. I was in my final year of college, and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center had rocked the country just one month before. My parents insisted I get a cell phone – just in case, they said.
It’s been so long now that it’s hard to imagine what it was like to not have a mobile telephone with me at all times. A constant connection to the world has its pros and cons, but it’s undeniable that the proliferation of cellular devices forced us all to adapt to a new way of life. It was slow at first. Phone calls and text messages, maybe a game of Snake every now and then.
And then came June 29, 2007. It was the day Apple released its first-generation iPhone.
Despite the success of the iPod – Apple’s revolutionary MP3 player – I had always considered Apple’s products to be more niche than anything else. My first computer was a Macintosh Power Tower that my dad bought when I was in high school. My first laptop was a Mac PowerBook that I used throughout college. They were sturdy and they did what I needed them to do for school. But it would have been nice if there were more games available…
With the iPhone, though, Apple stepped out into the world and became the standard bearers for what was mainstream. The iPhone redefined our expectations for what a mobile telephone could do. Your phone was no longer just about communicating with others. Now, the whole world fit within the palm of your hands.
I spent years wishing I could get an iPhone but Verizon, the carrier I’ve used since I got my first cell phone, didn’t sell the iPhone until 2011. In March of that year, I got my first one – the iPhone 4.
I’ve had several iPhones since then. Each generation of phone has included incremental improvements and technological advancements. While the year-to-year changes may seem small to us now, if you showed me what an iPhone can do in 2020 back in 2007, I would have thought it was a movie prop.
After college, I moved away from Apple computers in order to able to afford a PC on my own. Since I bought my first iPhone, though, I’ve slowly enveloped myself into Apple’s loving embrace. The iPad came soon after. Now, as a (mostly) fully-formed adult, I’ve turned my household completely over to the company. The Apple Watch, Apple TV, MacBooks. I have more Apple cords and white boxes than I do anything else in my apartment, except maybe comic books.
Apple has definitely helped to redefine not only what a cell phone could be, but what we should expect as consumers from our technology.