The 29th June 2008 shaped the technological landscape we live in today, when Apple released the very first iPhone. Regular listeners may wonder why I’m dedicating an episode of HistoryPod to an event that only took place 8 years ago, but the impact of the iPhone on society was enormous.

Although smartphones had existed before the arrival of the iPhone, they were targeted at business users. This changed when the iPhone came along with its large capacitive touchscreen instead of a bulky keyboard or stylus. Furthermore, users could install software onto their device from the App Store, which went live just a few months later.

The first iPhone required a data subscription, meaning that the device also changed the way that people interacted with both information and other people. 24/7 access to data sped up the reporting of news as people were able to share large videos and still images directly from their phone. Camera phones had existed previously, but direct access to the internet meant that files were much easier to share. Furthermore, the ability to install social media apps – and use them anywhere at any time – had a dramatic effect on the way people began to communicate.

This may all sound rather exaggerated, but a number of studies have shown that a number of cultural and social changes can be directly traced back to the launch of the iPhone. I’ll leave you with just one example. Consider that without smartphones the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, which was organised and then shared through mobile social media, might never have happened.

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© Scott Allsop