I read that today is the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone announcement. Certainly a ground breaking product and I thought it would be fun to reflect on it, mostly from a photographic perspective. I still remember my reaction at the product announcement. It seemed like a magical device that was brought back from the future, in a time machine.
Along with my growing collection of cameras, I have a small collection of notable electronics. I still have the original iPhone, and I took a picture of it today with my Olympus PEN-F. Chunky and cute, by today’s standards, it has a heft and density lacking in today’s slim phones. Mine’s in pretty good shape with fine scratches along the chrome bezel and a worn area in the back. I used to carry it around in a dorky case, strapped to my belt, but with no actual cover on the phone.
My camera of choice back then? The Canon Rebel XT, an 8MP DSLR and my first serious camera.
With its modest 1.9MP camera, I didn’t take many photos with the first model. Looking through pictures that have transferred from the original iPhone to the current, I found some low-res images of my young boys and blurry photos taken by them. This photo above is one of the few decent ones that I found, shot on Waikiki Beach, many years ago.
Who would have thought that this soft, low-fi camera would evolve into the industry changing photographic device. Certainly the phone and personal internet device aspects of the iPhone were game changing, but the camera certainly was not, in the 2007 model.
With the iPhone and the many copies along the way, the smartphone has decimated the point and shoot market. And, to some extent, its devastating effects have moved into the premium interchangeable lens market too. Hardly anyone buys point and shoot cameras and the iPhone is now the world’s most popular camera.
A comparison with a modern iPhone is fun. Here, I have my current iPhone 6s along with the original. I’ve upgraded my iPhones several times in the last decade, though I held out 3 years before my first upgrade to the iPhone 4. If I’ve done my math correctly, the iPhone 6s is about 86X faster than the original. The current iPhone 7 is 120X faster. With advancements like this, no wonder the camera industry is reeling.
The current iPhone is 12MP which shoots 4K videos and more significantly, is always connected to the social networks. Practically every reluctant photographer now acknowledges its usefulness and shoots with them, even when they have their larger cameras.
My iPhone photos occasionally make it on to the blog, though my largest collection of iPhone images are on my Instagram, which is currently dedicated to iPhoneography.
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