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iPhone is one of the best multimedia-enabled and internet smart phones developed and marketed by Apple Inc. It combines different functionalities ranging from those of a basic phone, those of music device and internet connectivity. Functions include making calls, camera phone, text messaging, video camera, web browsing, 3G connectivity, internet client and Wi-Fi connectivity. It has one of the best and user friendly user interfaces whose main character is the multi-touch screen and a virtual keyboard that is only displayed when need be. It is equipped with a powerful processor and Random Access Memory (RAM) that enable it to function more or less like a computer therefore enabling it to support different applications and extensively widening its applications. It runs on Apple's Leopard and UNIX operating systems that enable various functions, therefore applications (Shimpi ¶ 6). This has enabled this smart phone to become the market leader in mobile technology, attracting the corporate world and impacting differently in the lives of its over one million users. It acts as a mobile office and owners can now store sensitive information, and apply this device in over a thousand ways. It is a completely versatile device that has found profound use in the entertainment industry, communication industry, data industry among other unlikely applications in medicine and education.
All the subsequent versions have more capabilities added elevating it to the level of a useful tool to the 21st century's society. The two major aspects that have enabled the wide application of these phones are the software and interface. The iPhone runs on an iOS operating system that is a variation of the operating system found on Mac OS X. This operating is carefully integrated with the Mac OS X v10.5 leopard which is the core animation software. There are other software that perform special function or assist in the overall functioning of the operating system such as the OpenGL ES which is accountable for the user interface's motion graphics. The original package (excluding third-party applications) takes up to nearly 500 megabytes of space and supports future application from apple, in addition to applications from third party developers (Shimpi 9). The operating system is constantly updated through iTunes therefore dealing will all necessary advancements and solving any bugs arising. Security patches are also availed through this feature as well as new features.
The interface allows all the functions to be displayed smoothly running one at a time. The latest versions however allow different function to run at the background. Some of the applications like making voice calls may run concurrently with any other. The display also acts as the input device which has the capability of understanding complex gestures. It allows touch drag motions and among other gestures to enable zoom, scrolling down long documents. The display is meant to mimic real objects as much as possible. For instance, words fade out at the top and at the bottom as if they were placed on a wheel's surface simulating the physics observed in real objects. These two aspects are quite important to all applications and allow a lot of flexibility of the many available applications for this phone including third party Apps. They are the main aspects the applications need adhere to integrate well with the iPhone's interface.
From the year 2008, iPhone initiated the support of third-party applications through availing Software development kit (SDK) to web application developers. These applications have to be written in AJAX programming language and developed though this SD Kit that is available free for downloading. After paying the developed connection fee to Apple Inc, developers are allowed to load their applications to real devices whereby they can be distributed via the App store (Oehler 1268). Developers get 70% of the price they have set for their applications not unless they are offering them for free. This has enabled any developer to create interests enough in producing different Applications and adding to the capacity and capabilities of this unique phone.
This research paper addresses the following question; How has different attributes of the iPhone influenced various aspects of life the contemporary society?
Although this paper deals with a seemingly large scope, it narrows down to specific attributes of the iPhone and specific fields that it has influenced considerably. The literature review will therefore cover step by step analysis of the major and the relevant aspects of life where iPhone is utilized and how it is changing the way life previously was.
When someone tells you, "iPhone is changing life", you may be left to wonder how, or even fail to grasp the extent this Smartphone has impacted on the lives of many today. iPhone can never be perceived as an ordinary mobile phone or even as just a personal digital assistant (PDA), it has all. Since the release of iPhone back in 2007, its applications have spanned widely to cover diverse functionalities like games, GPS navigation, television advertisements, references, social networking, films, music, security issues, medical applications and it has also prompted exploration of Smartphone technology and other related technologies than it has ever been experienced before. This phone boasts some of the latest and sophisticated technologies in the phone industry that not only attracted customers and consumers to this technology, but also other technologies, developers, and businesspeople to invest in one way or the other through the iPhone.
Hardware and Software Technology:
Steve Jobs, the force behind the iPhone, gave 200 engineers in 2005 with the task of producing iPhone's prototype before the Apple's yearly Macworld convention of 2007, the event that the CEO had utilized to showcase the latest and biggest products the company has produced (Shimpi 4). His plan was however faced by different challenges right from the start and he had to admit that even the intended operating system will not be completed in before the assumed deadline. It was chaos because they had a deal with AT&T and they needed results for their commitment (Vogelstein 1). The deal with AT&T to be the iPhone's carrier was at a very developed stage yet they did not have an appropriate product to show. As the pressure mounted on all concerned especially the engineers and the system designers, it was some of the hectic months these employees had ever experienced. The result was however more welcoming than expected, the ideal gadget, not just a phone, for the 21st century.
Right from the retina display that enabled the highest resolution ever to be installed on phone to the subsequent ability to multitask and record high definitions (HD) videos that can be edited and shared, the iPhone came out with so many characteristics that previously had not been available to only to phones, but also to any other gadgets. The display is a multi-touch Liquid Crystal Display Screen that has the abilities to recognize some gestures (Vogelstein 4). Later versions of this screen are scratch resistant and also possess a finger print resistant oleo phobic covering. The also has the ability to respond to other sensors like proximity sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer (that is often exploited by game developers as a form of input), and the ambient light sensor that senses the availability or intensity of light in the environment and adjusts the display accordingly to save battery power. From iPhone 4, gyroscopic sensor has also been incorporated. These are some of the major display capabilities of the iPhone utilized by Apps manufactures to design their applications in numerous ways that have expanded the functionality of the phone.
Other important attributes of this phone include the audio and output capabilities that avail music even when driving. A rechargeable battery is also another feature that helps in the overall functionality of the iPhone. Although this battery is not user-replaceable, it provides other channels for charging like when connected to a computer and USB to dock cable together with the ability to be charged with third party charges directly from an external AC outlet. It is equipped with a 2.0 megapixel camera and has a storage capacity of 4GB or 8GB based on the model of the phone.
iPhone and music Industry:
iPhone has come hardy to all those who love or appreciate music in general. When Apple Inc introduced the iPod in 2002, he started welcoming the idea of developing a phone that could solve the already arising problem of baggage given the rise of MP3 players, blackberries among other portable services. It became very natural that consumers would prefer only one device where they can access all these services. As the CEO, he fore saw a future when iPods or generally music devices will be overtaken by mobile phones or mobile email devices and therefore the company needed to be well prepared and equipped for the forth coming challenges to their iPod product that had been an enormous success for the company. It was inevitable that the company ventures into the wireless world.
The initial efforts that resulted to the development of ROKR phone alongside Motorola Company was a failure as this proposed music phone could only hold 300 songs and needed connection to a personal computer to be able download music from the iTunes store. Another disadvantage with this music phone was that it was ugly and had a chunky interface that was sluggish and hard to navigate. The company needed not to make the same mistake and this time round, dedicated a lot of funds and commitment to the development of this phone. iPhone surpassed expectations of many regarding the physical appearance, the display, battery power, camera functionalities and even the capabilities it possessed as a phone. It came with enough memory that could handle over 1,500 songs and could allow direct purchases from the iTunes music store wirelessly and faster. It is a phone that you can navigate and listen to your music with a lot of easy without the need to read any manual.
With the iPhone, the user has access to any music that is easily downloadable over the iTunes store and other music stores available online. This phone comes with comfortable headsets that are compatible with some other phones, and if not, user may use an adapter. Even on the cars, you can get access to your music by connecting to the car stereo system provided it is equipped with a car auxiliary jack. This hands free functionality usually works as a substitute for Bluetooth. This music phone also supports, wireless headphones and earpieces. The phone also has loud speakers located above the screen which acts as an earpiece and another one at the left side of the phone. iTunes has greatly expanded due to the availability of iPhones and the increased use of this music phone. You can now purchase over a million songs from the iTunes store which was not that developed prior the introduction of the iPhone. Currently, iPhone utilizes iTunes to gain access to their software updates among other updates that are not available at the time of purchase. Even Software like the Software Development Kit (SDK) that enables App developed to develop their applications.
Although originally iPhone did not support third party applications, this functionality was added to later and it can now support all web applications written in Ajax that have the feel and the look of the iPhone. With the Software Development Kit (SDK) now being available free on the iTunes, developers can make applications, test them using a simulator and incorporate them to the iPhone after paying a considerable registration fee (Oehler 1269). This is one area that has widened quickly making iPhone an ideal platform for the development of different applications all performing different functionalities. This is a unique application that enables not only the Apple's developers to make their own Apps, but also different talented and creative individuals from all over the world and in all languages to contribute to this successful device. It is a good example of how technology can develop from one initial trigger and capture the imagination of many. Currently, there are over a thousand Apps distributed by Apple store, some for free and others or a fee. This technology has become very flexible and has set a basis for future technological advances.
iPhone and Medicine:
Health services have previously been inadequate and limited to a few and any consultations had to be made through trained pharmacists, clinical officers or physicians. iPhone has however been incorporated with different Apps that avail much information that previously required medical personnel or expertise. Right away from the use of Google Maps to locate medical services, you can now install ePocrates on your iPhone and access internet drug based applications that help you to purchase drugs and access different information regarding the drugs of your choice (Harvey 56). The crystal display allows you to view the images of these drugs where you can make up your mind to buy them from the pharmacy or to seek further advice. This App that is supposed to work as emergency medical application allows for fast and efficient acquiring of medication whenever need be. It is conferred with real time identification of pills, ability to identify drugs swiftly and also explore contraindications and dosages. It is the first medical App of that sort.
With the HD video editing and recording, doctors may use this App to compare notes and upload images especially surgery video clips and therefore availing much information to the medical world. They may also upload these videos to the internet allowing a wider audience (Oehler 1272). The latest application of this App allows connectivity to EMRAP.tv a pay television channel that allows medical students to view lectures on the internet. In this way, they will highly bridge the distance gaps and allow students to receive their lectures irrespective of their place or time. Students in the medical field are no longer limited to traditional classrooms (Omori 61). Authorities in this field are not only increasingly recommending the adoption the use of this device by medical practitioners, but also common people so that they may increase control of their health and monitor it closely (American Board of Family Medicine ¶ 6).
Current technologies are allowing the connection of the iPhone to medical tools whereby information may be obtained and interpreted by some specific App for easy understanding by the possessor. Its application in the medical field has also prompted serious regulatory debate since some authorities are considering it very risky to continue using it for medical purposes with no proper guidelines.
Game applications are utilizing the different input capabilities enable via the iPhone to come up with some of the best functionalities and intractability with their gamers. iPhone in this way has not only revolutionalized the phone industry, but also the games industry where developers are taking advantage of the clarity associated with iPhone's display to develop and distribute some of the most intriguing games phones have ever handled.
Summary/Synthesis of Literature
Through the introduction of iPhone, the world has witnessed accelerated technological developments not only in the fields of mobile phones and portable music devices, but also in other aspects such as App developing. It has become a widely used platform where different functionalities can be accessed through this device. Profound effects have not only been witnessed technological wise, but also is other aspects of the society where iPhone has found uses. The music industry, medicine, App development, and also learning are just but a few avenues where iPhone is utilized. It has been the root of many commercial activities with different companies all over the world trying to copy its technology or functionality. It has prompted phone regulatory changes and also triggered some vices like internet theft and hacking strategies and individuals try to find ways around its features and exploit its features for other purposes. It has also prompted competition in the phone industry that even leading insurgence of technology than witnessed before. It has just changed the way of life.
iPhone is a critical tool right from the entertainment industry to critical aspect of our lives like learning and health. It has completely changed the way we viewed mobile phones and raised the expectations of the same to high levels. It is evident enough that in the new future, Smartphones will oust the basic phone the world has for a long time experienced. It has more to offer than just a phone. It has just changed the way of life, it has made life easier.