Ten years of the iPhone: Where are we today?

Peter McKay, Co-CEO and President

Published date: September 25, 2017

It seems that, like most of the planet, I waited for Apple’s big announcement two weeks ago with baited breath. My iPhone is (almost) my life. It sounds sad, but due to the amount I travel, that little device is the one thing that keeps me on track and in touch with everyone. Now that the dust from the announcement has settled, and everyone knows to say “10” instead of “X,” I can honestly say that I believe Apple has again moved us all forward with the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus. It also got me thinking about celebrating a decade since the iPhone first entered our lives and what other technologies have impacted us in this time. The iPhone not only ushered in a new age of consumer engagement with the possibilities data offers, it opened the door to other worlds that are similarly transforming our lives, work and society.

How? We were probably all taught about “stranger danger” as kids, but now, we step into strangers' cars when we use Uber or date when we use Tinder — all without a second thought, entrusting our safety to the power of digital systems and data.

The world only works today because of the hyper-connectivity of modern systems, whether it's contacts, Tweets, sales figures, email and so much more. Separate systems must now speak to each other constantly and securely to unleash new opportunities, which at Veeam, is something we know a lot about.

Inspired by how my own life has come to depend on the Availability of data that resides on the apps on my iPhone, my laptop and the various public clouds I use to store and access data, here’s my unofficial top 10 technological advances (in no order), which I believe have shaken things up for us over the past decade.

Cloud computing

As the early web giants like Google and Facebook built so many servers, they created an industry to host and compute data on our behalf. Worldwide, the public cloud services market is set to reach $246.8 (U.S.) billion this year. From private, public and, now, hybrid, the sky is the limit for how much cloud computing will come to shape where and how data is stored, protected and accessed.

3D printing

Industrial additive manufacturing has been around since the 1980s. The consumer field is still mostly about polymer desk toys, but keep watching. The easy sharing of files to print spare parts and new materials will transform the long tail economy.

Big data

The online era saw us producing more information than we could possibly synthesize. Trends and insight abound if you know where to look, and big data analysis is helping us see patterns of consumer behavior, weather and more in finer detail than ever. With more than a quarter of a million customers using Veeam’s Availability solutions, it's a market we are leading.

Wearables/cybernetics

We're not quite replacing our hearts with digitalized pumps yet, but pedometers that match data with our diet and navigation chips to help keep track of Alzheimer’s patients are commonplace. Advances in body-computer interfaces promise even deeper synergy.

The Internet of Things

It's a world where everything has data-collecting sensors attached — from TVs to trains and cars, to crops. Going hand-in-hand with Big Data, all those devices (according to Gartner, the number of connected “things” being used worldwide this year amounts to 8.4 billion, and this will reach 20.4 billion by 2020) show us how to run the world more efficiently, cheaply and safer than ever before.

Artificial intelligence

Growing on the back of Big Data, there's also just too much data for human users to sift through and synthesize meaningfully. Computers can do it for us, but only if we teach them to behave more like humans, which are wired to extract meaning out of patterns, rather than just remember everything.

Social media

While the website and dotcom era imposed a barrier to entry, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more now give everyone a voice online, the cumulative effect of which has changed industries, political systems, opinions and cultures.

Dematerialized world

Instead of building lots of new and expensive machinery, we're wiring and connecting the machinery we already have, extracting more value than ever through innovations in the underlying software. In the Western world, investment in hardware has been declining to the same degree software has been growing.

Targeted marketing

Today, advertisers have tools that their TV-ad-and-door-to-door-survey-wielding forebears barely dreamed of. Every link, post and “like” now forms a digital paper trail about you that's part of a whole other online economy worth billions, and one that social media is expanding even further.

Security awareness

Security used to mean locking the front door. Today, informed consumers are keenly aware of how much they're tracked online (to say nothing of the myriad of cyber threats). It's made us all aware of security with passwords and logins, and it has spawned a consumer cybersecurity industry that's almost as big as the internet itself.

So, what does this mean? At Veeam, it means we're watching everyone closely to see how they'll disrupt or enrich today's Always-On world. The year 2007 marked the beginning of an evolution — maybe a revolution — and it continues to gather pace. Data is undoubtedly the new currency, and without constant and uninterrupted access to it, we lose all the niceties we have grown to be so reliant on. My congratulations and thanks to Apple for a stellar 10 years it’s been for all involved in its success! I’m looking forward to the next 10 years (or is that X? No, it’s 10).

What about you? What do you think the next 10 years will bring? What’s in your top 10 technologies over the past decade?

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