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The birth of the iPhone

The birth of the iPhone
The iPhone was released for sale on June 29, 2007. (AFP)
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Updated 18 May 2020

The birth of the iPhone

The birth of the iPhone

The smartphone first announced by Jobs has evolved to become a staple of everyday life

Summary

On Jan. 9, 2007, Apple’s Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, a revolutionary three-in-one music player, phone and internet device that changed the way the world works and plays. It was released for sale on June 29, 2007.

Jobs, whose biological father was born in Syria and studied at the American University of Beirut, made Apple the world’s leading technology company. Seven years after his death in 2011, Apple became the first public company valued at $1 trillion.

LONDON: On Jan. 9, 2007, Apple’s co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, describing it as a three-in-one device combining an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator. With a 3.5-inch screen, a 2-megapixel camera and 16 gigabytes of storage, it did not even support third-party apps back then, yet life has not been the same since its launch.

 

This was not the first mobile “smartphone” with a large touchscreen and internet connectivity, but it was the most elegant, putting user experience at the heart of usability and design. Today, more than 5 billion people worldwide use mobile services, according to GSMA Intelligence. A whole generation does not know what life was like before the iPhone.

The extent to which this revolutionary device took the world by surprise 13 years ago was reflected in the fact that in its issue of Jan. 11, 2007, Arab News covered the iPhone’s launch not on its front page but on page 18, in its Economy section. It did so, however, with a prescient headline. The iPhone, it proclaimed, was “like the internet in your pocket.”

“To demonstrate, (Jobs) accessed Google maps satellite imaging and within seconds zoomed in on the Washington Monument, then the Eiffel Tower, and finally checked Apple’s rapidly rising stock. He also phoned a local coffee bar and jokingly ordered 4,000 lattes for his assembled guests.”

From an AFP story about the Apple announcement at the Macworld Conference and Expo in Arab News’ Economy section on Jan. 11, 2007

Nowadays, everything can be done through a smartphone, including work, communication, shopping, traveling, finances and entertainment. This Apple product has made our lives simpler since its inaugural release in 2007. Its features and apps have replaced CDs and DVDs, and changed the way we watch TV. News channels have had to keep up with it, launching digital services for a generation of picky and selective audiences.

Jobs, whose biological father was born in Syria and studied at the American University of Beirut, made Apple the world’s leading technology company through the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. He also kept every other industry on their toes, forcing them to try to adapt to the fast-changing world that he had created.

Without his creation, influencers would not have had platforms through which to influence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and many more would not have succeeded the way they did had they not been on smartphones. The iPhone enabled its users to play an active role in collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. Apple gave every user the ability to be a reporter.

Citizen journalism has exposed corruption, violence and repression worldwide, especially in the Middle East, leading to uprisings past and present. Student Neda Agha-Soltan was shot dead during protests in Iran in 2009. Her killing was filmed on a mobile phone and was seen worldwide on YouTube, making her a symbol of the protest movement.

Thanks to mobile phones, Iran topped Twitter trends in 2009. This was the moment I decided to make “technology for advocacy” the subject of my thesis for my master’s degree in digital media.

The Egyptian revolution in 2011 was another momentous development for mobile phone users and social media platforms, as the government at the time had to shut down all communication networks in order to hinder the gathering and movement of protestors.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a FaceTime call to a Turkish TV network during the attempted coup against him in 2016. Some say the call saved him.

Since the 2000s, we stopped making regular calls and moved to wifi calls, before getting hooked on texting. The first iPhone specifications seem primitive today. An upgrade came with the iPhone 3G, to which Apple added critical new capabilities such as a GPS sensor for location monitoring, support for 3G networks and faster performance.

Jobs, whose biological father was born in Syria and studied at the American University of Beirut, made Apple the world’s leading technology company through the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

Arkan Aladnani

It was the App Store that transformed the iPhone, from simply a device able to access the internet, to a computing platform. Today, the store hosts more than 2 million apps, setting the stage for startups and creating a whole economy around it, from Snapchat and Instagram to Uber.

There were further refinements with the iPhone 3GS, such as a better camera and longer battery life. The iPhone 4 came in 2010, representing the first major redesign of the iPhone since its launch. The iPhone 4S introduced Apple’s digital voice assistant Siri. More gadgets and accessories — such as the Apple Watch, the Mac and the HomePod — have been introduced to support the iPhone.




A page from the Arab News archive showing the news on Jan. 11, 2007.

The iPhone 5 was the first Apple smartphone to come with the Lightning charging port. It was followed by the iPhone 5S, the first Apple product with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The 5C was a cheaper option that lacked a fingerprint sensor. With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus came the larger-screen iPhone that competed with larger-screen Android smartphones. The iPhone 6 also introduced a faster processor and larger storage options.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus required headphones to be connected through the Lightning slot. AirPods — wireless earbuds — were introduced with it. The iPhone X was launched alongside the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. They were Apple’s first smartphones to include a nearly edge-to-edge OLED screen, support for facial recognition and no home button.

The iPhone 11, with its relatively low $700 price point and wide range of color options, is essentially Apple’s successor to the iPhone XR. It features a new dual-camera system that includes an ultra-wide-angle camera, support for night mode, a faster processor and a higher-resolution front-facing camera. Apple’s pricier iPhone 11 and 11 Max are its first iPhones with a triple-lens camera, and include a new matte finish and camera sensor.

  • Arkan Aladnani, global head of operations at Arab News, remembers waiting in line for the first iPhone in New York.


Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday
Updated 2 min 23 sec ago

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday
  • Sweden of 10 million inhabitants registered 44 new deaths, taking the total to 14,217
  • The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks

STOCKHOLM: Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has registered 13,812 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health agency statistics showed on Tuesday.
The figure compared with 14,950 cases during the corresponding period last week.
The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 44 new deaths, taking the total to 14,217.
The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbors’ but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.


Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound
Updated 7 min 18 sec ago

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound
  • Revenues rose almost 16 percent in April to $551million

RIYADH: Suez Canal revenues rose almost 16 percent in April to $551 million compared to a year earlier, Asharq Business reported, citing Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie.
Rabie also discussed plans to expand and deepen the southern sector of the canal in which the container ship Ever Given was stuck in March, creating chaos across the global supply chain.
That incident which brought a large proportion of seaborne trade to a near halt for a week, highlighted the need to ensure the  smooth operation of the key trade artery.
Rabie also revealed plans for dredging works for the maintenance of the navigational channel of the canal.
A plan is being implemented to restructure the authority’s companies, he said.
This year witnessed a slight increase in the number of ships passing through the waterway to 1,840 in April 2021 from 1,731 in April 2020, Al Arabiya reported.


Renowned US authors Tayari Jones, Brent Weeks join Abu Dhabi Book Fair lineup

US author Tayari Jones is set to take part in the event. (File/ AFP)
US author Tayari Jones is set to take part in the event. (File/ AFP)
Updated 48 min 58 sec ago

Renowned US authors Tayari Jones, Brent Weeks join Abu Dhabi Book Fair lineup

US author Tayari Jones is set to take part in the event. (File/ AFP)

DUBAI: Renowned US fantasy author Brent Weeks, US author Tayari Jones, Emirati writer Eman Alyousuf and Kuwaiti writer Taleb Alrefai are all set to participate at the upcoming Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre at the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the 30th edition of ADIBF will see the participation of more than 800 exhibitors from 46 countries around the world, and will comprise more than 104 virtual and physical sessions.

Dr. Ali bin Tamim, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: “Despite the challenges we have faced in the wake of the pandemic, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is committed to ramping up its efforts to support the publishing industry and to promote cross-cultural dialogue. We are proud to host this event which reinforces our position as one of the most prominent intellectual and literary forums in region, and gives us the opportunity to highlight Arab literary output while simultaneously celebrating the pioneers of arts and culture from across the world.”

As part of its cultural programme, the fair will feature the artistic and literary works of authors and artists from multiple fields. Among those will be American author Tayari Jones, considered one of the most important writers of her generation, who will hold a session to discuss her latest work. In another session, the fantasy great Weeks will talk about the importance of science fiction novels in transporting readers away from the monotony of their daily lives. Providing a regional perspective, Kuwait’s Alrefai will participate in a dialogue with Emirati writer Alyousuf, to discuss how the pandemic has encouraged reading.

British television presenter and historian Bettany Hughes will join a conversation about the impact of plagues and pandemics on civilisations, while Emirati writer Sultan Al-Amimi will speak about with the importance of short stories and their role in enhancing literary diversity. .


Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
Updated 11 May 2021

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
  • The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter

RIYADH: Egypt’s unemployment rate reached 7.4 percent of the total labor force in the first quarter of 2021 — up from 7.2 percent in the previous quarter.
The new data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), reflects the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.
The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter, representing a decrease of 2.3 percent, Al Arabiya reported.
The labor force in urban areas reached 13,034 million, with 16,250 million living in rural areas.
Gehan Saleh, economic affairs adviser to Egypt’s prime minister said in April that the second stage of the country’s economic reform program would be launched soon.
She said the plan aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and tackle unemployment through job-creating investments.


Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang
Updated 11 May 2021

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang
  • It is the latest ruse by smugglers trying to avoid hefty import duties for the precious metal by employing increasingly intriguing methods

DUBAI: Indian customs have foiled an attempt to post gold from Dubai disguised in containers of the popular Tang drink.

After sieving the contents of the drink mix, Chennai customs officials discovered it had been mixed with gold granules, according to a statement from the Commissioner of Customs at Chennai International Airport.
Officials probing the racket found that the address of the receiver had been misused.
It is the latest ruse by smugglers trying to avoid hefty import duties for the precious metal by employing increasingly intriguing methods.
Earlier this year officials at Chennai airport also nabbed two men trying to smuggle gold through the airport underneath their wigs.
The hapless pair were nabbed after their unusual hairstyles caught the attention of officials.

They were found to be carrying two gold paste packets weighing almost 700 g