Apple’s iPhone Beats iPod And PC To Become ‘Time’s Most Influential Gadget Ever

The iPhone not only changed the smartphone industry, but it has also changed life as we know it. Now, Time has recognized the iPhone, which was first released in June of 2007, as the most influential gadget ever.

“Apple was the first company to put a truly powerful computer in the pockets of millions when it launched the iPhone in 2007. Smartphones had technically existed for years, but none came together as accessibly and beautifully as the iPhone.”

The article adds that the iPhone brought in a new era of flatter phones that had touchscreens, with the buttons on the screen where people most needed them. There were smartphones before, but they were chunkier, had messy slide-out keyboards, and static buttons. Perhaps AnandTech was right when, on July 2, 2007, it declared, “The future is here!”

“The iPhone makes no advancements in what you can do, but it really perfects how you do them. The distinction is important because for years cell phone manufacturers have simply been tacking on more functionality to their devices, resulting in a significant loss in ease of use. It’s the same feature clutter that plagues many software applications as they get older,” claimed reviewer Anand Lal Shimpi.

Like others, Lal Shimpi noted how Apple took some of the most popular aspects of current smartphones and perfected them for the consumer. This is what many believe Apple has done all along with their products. Perhaps the biggest example is the iPod, which ended up at No. 9 on Time‘s list.

“There were MP3 players before the iPod, sure, but it was Apple’s blockbuster device that convinced music fans to upgrade from their CD players en masse.”

[caption id="attachment_3060502" align="none" width="590"]iPod 2001

The iPod, released in late 2001, was a groundbreaking musical device.
[Photo by Apple Corp./Getty Images][/caption]

Time adds that even though the iPod also ushered in music piracy, it also led to the iTunes Store, which would soon become the world’s hottest music retailer. It also influenced future Apple products, such as the iPhone.

Long before the iPod and the iPhone, the Sony Walkman ruled the music world. Of course, we’re talking about the 1980s, when people still listened to tapes or transferred their music from CDs to high-quality tapes. Time listed the Sony Walkman as the fourth most influential tech product.

“Sony’s Walkman was the first music player to combine portability, simplicity and affordability. While vinyl records were still the most popular music format, the Walkman—originally the ‘Sound-About’ in the United States—played much smaller cassettes and was small enough to fit in a purse or pocket.”

Sony Walkman 1980s

As the write-up notes, the Walkman ushered in the concept of having a private space in public with the isolating effect of headphones. The write-up doesn’t mention how many deaths the Walkman caused since many people used it without paying attention to oncoming traffic. This was also more than two decades before true digital noise-isolating headphones hit the stores (thanks, Bose!).

Do you agree that the iPhone is the most important technological device ever? Do you think the iPod and the Sony Walkman deserve to be in the top ten? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

[Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images]