Game changer: The iPhone celebrates its 10th anniversary

A decade ago the world was a very different place. A young website called Youtube had been founded two years earlier and the 6th edition of the iPod was the must-have consumer product.

Until a certain, era-defining product called the iPhone dropped into the hands of consumers on this very day 10 years ago.

It can be difficult to recall exactly what life was like back in the pre-smartphone dark ages, such is the seismic changes that have followed since 2007.

In 2017 there are around 2.39 billion smartphone users worldwide, up 10.4% over last year.  That equates to 32.2% of the global population.

China has 26.2% of global users; India follows with 11.2%, followed by the US with a 9.2% share.

But the iPhone also had major effects on marketing and advertising. To celebrate the tenth birthday of one of the world’s most iconic products, we asked experts to share their views:  

Cathy Boyle, Principal Analyst at eMarketer:

Two aspects of the iPhone have dramatically changed the way people live. For millions of people worldwide, the iPhone is about the internet and the camera.

for millions of people worldwide, the iPhone is about the internet and the camera

Having access to the internet within arm’s reach at all times has changed the way people consume media, buy products and communicate. The camera alone has made communication far more visual, as people share millions of pictures and videos via SMS, social networks and messaging apps.

The camera has also empowered every iPhone owner to become a content creator.

Dan Calladine, global head of media futures at Carat:

The iPhone has changed advertising almost beyond recognition in the past ten years. In 2007 mobile ads consisted of tiny banners and search links, but the arrival of the iPhone and the other smartphones that followed it allowed brands and publishers a much more creative canvas, and as a result mobile is becoming the largest advertising medium. 

The most popular apps created new and bespoke advertising formats that would fit in with their own content. The biggest hits have been Facebook’s timeline ads, including app install ads which let users easily install other apps and games; Instagram’s click to buy ads; and Snapchat’s paid filters and lenses; all of which have helped mobile ad spend rise to over 50% of total digital ad spend in the US, and 38% in the UK (according to the most recent figures from the IAB & PwC).

Libby Darley, experience planning director, at iProspect:

The iPhone has inarguably led the way when it comes to driving the constantly connected world we now live in.

ten years ago the leading handset manufacturer was Nokia

Just think, ten years ago the leading handset manufacturer was Nokia and when Apple launched the iPhone it was the first handset with no buttons.

Now, absolutely everything is touchscreen – even the ordering process in McDonalds! It revolutionized the concept of the ‘app’, changing the way consumers interact with brand assets; we now get asked whether brands need websites if they have apps.

Apple’s Siri was also the first home of voice activation, which is possibly the biggest theme of 2017 so far.

Carlos Dominguez, president at Sprinklr

The launch of the iPhone will forever be known as the most significant social and mobile advertising moment. Because of the iPhone, smartphone adoption skyrocketed, and suddenly marketers had the unprecedented opportunity to reach people in new, personalized ways.

Then, the App Store’s arrival gave people access to social media apps, which transformed social advertising into one of the most strategic investments for the modern enterprise.

The concept of omni-channel marketing was born, as companies realized that success depended on their ability to create more human, intuitive experiences across every single customer touchpoint -- from mobile to website to in-store interactions.


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