Ten years since the iPhone changed us

So much has changed in our daily lives since the launch of the iPhone on 29 June 2007; technology now touches almost every task we perform.

A University student today would scarcely be able to function if they were transported back to a campus in 2007.

Work, study and leisure are now totally wrapped up in technology, which is perhaps what the iPhone was hoping for just a decade ago.

So many interactions and tasks are done on mobiles. No more are commuters hiding behind their newspapers on public transport or feigning sleep, instead their heads are buried in their smartphones. People walk down the street seemingly talking loudly to themselves before you realise they are chatting hands-free on an out-of-sight mobile.

Assignments are changed in a few clicks instead of a painful rewrite, and are submitted with a click instead of hand-delivery. The latest albums are listened to on Spotify before the decision to purchase is made, live TV is paused and rewound, and binge watching of series is commonplace rather than waiting a week for the next episode. Rarely now can we talk about something we all watched last night, but instead we have all become reviewers telling friends and colleagues what they should watch and where they’ll be able to see it.

Invitations to events and parties are invariably sent to everyone in an instant, instead of via numerous phone calls and, perhaps, an official invitation in the post.

Are these interactions making us less sociable by going online rather than talking, or is the time saved giving us the opportunity to be more sociable?

No more are we getting lost when walking or catching public transport. Our main concern is if the Map app might drain our smartphone battery before we can arrive and recharge it. But while we save time and remove the stress of perhaps getting lost, there are many pedestrians looking at their smartphone SatNav and listening to music on it while crossing roads and tram tracks without seeing or hearing any of the cars or trams that are racing through.

It is amazing how technology has developed with the drastic change in the way we interact with our phones, tablets and now even smartwatches.

The bright side of technology in this age of the Internet has so many applications and online services developed to make life much easier, smarter and faster. Applications such as GPS navigation systems, music apps, fitness apps, social media apps and instant video streaming.

Even the watch industry has changed. By pairing your smartphone with a smartwatch, you can access all the apps on your mobile, send and receive messages, make calls, get directions and more – all on your wrist. Technology has done wonders in introducing positive and negative impacts in our lives in many ways:

· Social media: We are connecting everywhere, always in contact with friends and family. Send and receive video calls and messages.

· Education: Technology has made students more comfortable to study in different ways. Students can study online from anywhere. Virtual Reality has made education more enjoyable.

· Health: Technology has a positive impact on health by providing better health facilities for patients. Nowadays, we can see doctors consulting about medical treatments via an online collaborative system. Every surgeon, even from the remotest part of the world, can collaborate to perform surgery.

· Smart Technologies have improved our lifestyle, some of which are just starting that journey; such as smart cars, smart home systems, driverless cars and drone-couriers.

Technology provides access to sensitive personal data in various ways these days. However, this can open doors for hackers to access someone else’s personal information. This could lead to bank accounts being emptied or hackers taking control of your car system, security cameras, just about anything.

While technology continues grow incredibly fast, many cyber criminals are taking advantage of security holes to launch attacks.

· Cyberwarfare: Hackers can take control of online data for a ransom. Not least in the recent ransomware attack which even encrypted people’s medical records in the UK.

· Compromise privacy: Hackers can compromise people’s privacy by taking control of their data.

· Anything is hackable: Hackers can even take control of some modern cars and disable their brakes, speed them up, freeze the accelerator and so on.

This could have been a far-fetched but exciting plot in a James Bond or Jason Bourne film in 2007. This is becoming a reality day by day.

Technology has also had a huge impact on retail jobs, where Internet access and online purchases have eliminated many storefront positions.

Over the past decade, technological advances have affected many occupations, such as postal services being usurped by emails, music stores preferring online sites, self-checkout machines replacing cashiers at supermarkets, computers and voice recognition removing phone operators, and online banking accelerating bank branch closures.

No futurist could have envisaged the totality of technology’s changes to our lives in the 10 years since the iPhone was unveiled. It is pointless guessing where we will be, what type of people we’ll be and what we will be doing every day when the iPhone celebrates its next big anniversary. The only certainty is that the first iPhone will be a museum exhibit, labelled as a device that heralded a technological revolution.

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