How Did We Get From Mobile Phone to Smart Phone?


In the history of the mobile phone, January 9th, 2007 was a significant date. It marked the presentation of the very first iPhone by Steve Jobs. At the time, he said; “Today, we’re going to re-invent the phone.” And, as far as we’re concerned, they really did. 

Mobile Phone
‘Steve Jobs talks about the iPhone’ – Tom Coates via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It wasn’t a vain promise, but if you look back at the modest specs on the first model, your jaw drops at just how rudimentary they were.

The original had a 3.5″ LCD screen with a resolution of 320×480, while the current iPhone X has a 5.8″OLED screen with a resolution of 2436×1125 – a breathtaking difference in just 12 years. The original boasted a low-res 2 MP camera, and all the camera application could do was take standard photos. Now, there’s a 12-MP camera, capable of everything from taking hi-res, image-stabilized photos to recording slow-motion video.

Mobile Phone
First-Generation iPhone by Carl Berkeley (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Killer design and the best pointing device

Buttons? So old-hat! As Jobs said at the time, the iPhone would use “the best pointing device in the world…a pointing device that we’re all born with.” The finger!

The rest is history. As we admiringly watch the evolution of the mobile phone since 2007, a lot of competitors have caught up and very often surpassed iPhones in terms of the glass-fronted, touch-screen interface, the camera quality, the speed, the specs in general. Companies like Nokia, Sony, Huawei and especially Samsung have taken up the gauntlet thrown down by Jobs and have innovated tremendously, mainly under the bonnet. But that design by Jonathan Ives (whose visual design with its colored icons was rumored to be based on that of a slot machine) will never be bettered as an absolute game-changer

Hardware apart, Apple’s iOS still stands out from the rest in terms of user-friendliness and security. The latter is what sets it apart from Android. Google’s OS is open-source, so it allows for more customization by different manufacturers. However, Apple customer uptake for installing upgrades is much higher than it is with Android users.   

Music, lights, action!

Speaking of subscriptions, we have moved away from traditional media towards digital, streaming services, which are now mainstream. In part, iTunes can be thanked for that, as it changed the way we used our phones. No longer were they just for texting, emailing and messaging, but they also broke open the kaleidoscopic world of video, film, and music. Apple even managed to make its own iPod unnecessary – who needs one when your phone is like a digital Swiss penknife?

Mobile Phone
Source: Pixabay

Increasingly sophisticated apps and software have conquered the world with features such as face recognition, fingerprint logins for sensitive content and camera software capable of taking photos in the dark.

Not just smart, but intelligent

The current flagship iPhone device is the XS Max – quite simply, the best iPhone you can buy. Screen size is nearly double that of the original model and reviewers and users all agree it’s the best large-screen phone Apple has ever released.

The processor chipset is one of the most powerful ever on a smartphone and, with a ‘neural engine’ thrown into the mixer, your iPhone is becoming faster and ever more intelligent, using AI to learn incrementally from how you use it.


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