Recognizing the 21st century inventors (III), by Professor MK Othman



Apple became a game changer on the scene; it made smartphone to bring the happenings in the world on our palm. Apple’s version of smartphone took it a whole hog to reaching a higher level thereby dazing the smartphone pioneers at their competitive games.
At the time of its first release, iPhone was already a full-blown multimedia powerhouse, enabling users to play games, watch movies, chat, share content, look for partners and stay connected to all the possibilities that was constantly unfolding. What is the current level of iPhone in the canniest game of smartphones? Who is giving iPhone a steep competition and value for money to the customers? These were the two questions, the second part of this articled posed last week.
Steve Paul Jobs co-founded Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak, the producers of iPhones, iPad and Apple computer. Under Jobs’ guidance, the company pioneered a series of revolutionary technologies in the communication industry. Steve Jobs was an American inventor, designer and entrepreneur who was not only the co-founder but chief executive and chairman of Apple Computer. Apple’s revolutionary products are now accepted as the leading communication devices dictating the evolution of modern technology in the global communication.
Jobs was born in 1955 to the then two University of Wisconsin graduate students who couldn’t cater for him and gave him up for adoption. Unfortunately Jobs died in 2011 at his famous zenith after a protracted battle against pancreatic cancer.
During his 56 years of life, Jobs was a very smart personality but initially directionless, he dropped out of college and experimented different pursuits before co-founding Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Jobs left the company in 1985, launched Pixar Animation Studios, and then returned to Apple more than a decade later. If Jobs had not sold his Apple shares in 1985, when he left the company he founded for over a decade, his net worth would have been a staggering $36 billion at the time of his death.
Jobs was the brain behind the successes of Apple and thus, dually credited for beating the competitors hands down. At the time of unveiling iPhone, Jobs was quoted as saying “Apple had a five-year lead to others with the first iPhone”. Well, he was just being modest or conservative because according to experts, it took six or seven years for Samsung and others to make truly competitive phones like the Galaxy S and the HTC One that could be compared with first iPhone.
On January 9, 2007 Apple unveiled the first iPhone at a highly publicized event. During that historic occasion that attracted thousands of selected personalities in the industry across the Globe, Jobs made the most incredible keynote presentations of his life in the history of consumer electronics. In that widely televised event currently available in YouTube of 52 minutes clip, Jobs is seen saying “Today, we are introducing three revolutionary products…, the first one, is a wide-screen iPod with touch controls, the second one, is revolutionary mobile phone, and third one a breakthrough internet device, that is, iPod, phone and Internet connector, these are not three separate devices, these are one device, and we are calling it ‘iPhone’. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone and here it is already here” – showing the first iPhone named number iPhone1,1. It had a 3.5-inch LCD screen at 320×480 and 163ppi, a quad-band 2G EDGE data radio, 802.11b.g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, and a 2-megapixel camera. The phone had several sensors distinguishing it from other smartphones, like an accelerometer that could automatically rotate the screen to match device orientation, a proximity sensor that could automatically turn off the screen when close to the face, and an ambient light sensor that could automatically adjust brightness. It was then the first of its kind. Within the first two years, over five million iPhone were sold with positive testimony from the users “It’s easy to see the device is extraordinarily simple to use for such a full-featured phone and media player. Apple makes creating the spartan, simplified UI look so easy — but we know it’s not, and the devil is always in the details when it comes to portables. To date no one’s made a phone that does so much with so little, and despite the numerous foibles of the iPhone’s gesture-based touchscreen interface, the learning curve is surprisingly low. It was totally clear that with the iPhone, Apple raised the bar high not only for the cellphone, but for portable media players and multi-function convergence devices in general”, Ryan Block, a Columnist for Engadget.
From 2007, Apple continued bringing out new iPhones with new features for enhanced services to the users. iPhones 1 to 4 were introduced between 2007 and 2010 while iPhone 5 was introduced in September, 2012 after the death of Jobs. On September 12, 2012, Apple announced the debut of iPhone 5. At that event, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing introduced the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the original iPhone in 2017. He announced “Big as in tall, big as in light, big as in LTE, big as in the iPhone 5. iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we’ve ever created. We’ve packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultra fast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it”. iPhone 5, code named N41/N42 with a model number iPhone5,1, was the fourth major redesign and the second major improvement to the iPhone’s display since the original. It was the first time; however, Apple changed aspect ratios.
All previous iPhones had been 3:2. The iPhone 5 was a more cinematic 16:9. It meant movies and TV could be shown with less or no letterboxing, and apps could take advantage of an extra row of content. That’s because Apple had simply added pixels to take the iPhone from 3.5-inches to 4-inches, they’d kept the same 326ppi density and gone from 940×640 to 1136×640.
The iPhone 5 launched in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK on September 21, 2012. 5 million pieces of iPhone 5 was sold in the first weekend. By the end of the year, iPhone 5 was made available in over 100 countries on 240 carriers before the end of 2012. Apple also used iPhone 5 to launch iOS 6.
The iPhone 5 was certainly in a higher class of iPhones at the time of its release. This is evidence in a testimony by a departmental store officer, Tim Cook in USA, via Apple’s commentary site “demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible. While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone”. Reasons for this unprecedented demand is that iPhone 5 was a completely new design with a completely new manufacturing process, but thanks to the familiar silhouette button layout, especially the iconic Home button, some people and pundits called it uninspired. They called it boring. It made no sense to people who understood what went into making it. It made no sense to anyone familiar with all the other iterative designs from all the other manufacturers.
From the time iPhone 5 was released, despite the death of Jobs, each year, Apple made the phone bigger and faster, refining the product without changing the basic form factor or its most beloved features. It became more popular every time and by the year 2016, Apple had sold more than 1.2 billion iPhones across the globe. This brings us to the year 2017, the 10th anniversary of the Jobs powerful speech when the first iPhone was presented to the public. To celebrate the anniversary, Apple gorgeously released two phones in 2017 at the same time. They were the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, they were solid, iteratively updated version of iPhone 7 with higher efficiency and alacrity.
In 2018, enter iPhone X and X plus with all their sophistication to meet customers desire to conquer the World, put it in their pockets and move on with life. In iPhone X, Apple tried another thing different. Apple ditched the home button in order to make the phone nearly all screen and bet on facial recognition as the key to both your phone and a whole new set of apps and features. Again, cameras are made at play the magic by making the phone to recognize your face, of course for more personalized security of your phone. Thus, Apple augmented reality into mainstream existence while making the phone and data more secure than ever.
Professor Othman is the Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.


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