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The Journey of Communication: iPhone 5 Edition
Communication is the foundation of relationships. Throughout history, our communication skills have advanced with the goal of fostering stronger relationships. The industrializing world of the nineteenth century witnessed the creation of inventions attempting to open additional lines of communication. These innovations enabled communication over distances and speeds that were, at the time, unimaginable. The telegraph (1844), followed shortly by the telephone (1870s), were prominent communication inventions during the nineteenth century. During the 1930's is the first appearance of what today we call a computer. Many years of further development to this original model leads to the creation of the Personal Computer, or PC, during the 1970’s. Every new change or innovation came packaged in a smaller, more portable device which combined practicality with increasing functional capacities. The release of the inaugural Apple iPhone in 2007 was a representation of the culmination of these devices. It is a telephone and a personal computer that fits in the palm of your hand. The iPhone is a gadget that enables communication across a plethora of mediums. Apple has progressed to the fifth installment of the iPhone - the iPhone 5 - and shows no sign of slowing down. People can now communicate instantaneously, creating "imagined communities" by connecting globally from almost anywhere on the planet; connecting a global community. The interconnectedness of people has created feelings of brotherhood, connectedness and social welfare across racial and cultural lines that prior generations had not seen. Communication is the foundation of relationships, and our relationships are gaining strength.
A Short History of Communication: Telegraph to Telephone
Prior to the invention of the telephone in the late 1870s, another communications breakthrough in history rocked the western world: the telegraph. The telegraph was a global success, and its invention, revolutionizing communication in 1844 with its speed of delivery and reliability, somewhat dampened the excitement when the telephone did arrive a few decades later. According to Christopher H. Sterling in his CBQ Review Essay, History of the Telephone (Part 1): Invention, Innovation, and Impact, after the explosion of the telegraph, “somehow, the telephone just didn’t seem quite as exciting”. (p. 222) Clearly, the telephone was not as much of an instant success as one might assume. The telegraph was the current paradigm, and many believed it to be sufficient enough; initially, the addition of actual vocal communication was seen as unnecessary. Sterling points out, however, that the telephone has been in effect now far longer than the telegraph and shows no indication of losing prominence in the world of communication - in fact, with the implementation of the cellular phone, the device is even more globally widespread than ever.
Many communications pioneers have been linked to the invention of the telephone: Innocenzo Manzetti, Johann Philipp Reis and Antonio Meucci are some of them. Elisha Gray filed a patent caveat for a telephone the same day as Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, but the patent was granted to Bell, and Gray lost his rights to the invention. Although the invention of the telephone has a complex and often disputed history, Alexander Graham Bell is widely credited as the inventor of the first functional telephone. The words he spoke to his assistant, Thomas Watson, “Watson, come here! I want to see you!” are maintained as the first spoken words through any telephone wire. The following year (1887), the first telephone exchange was created in New Haven, Connecticut, and the American Bell Telephone Company was born. Originally, the company created American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) in order to accommodate long distance calls, but eventually the two companies merged with Western Electric to form the Bell System, which held a monopoly over the telephone communication industry for several decades. Early telephones connected to a central switchboard, which required human operators to manually direct a phone call to the intended recipient. In the early 1900s, technology had advanced to such a degree that human operators were no longer needed, and phone calls could be made directly through the use of dialed digits. With the introduction of cordless telephones in the 1980s, portability became an extremely attractive feature of modern telephone communication. This advance in technology commenced a flurry of developments that happened in rapid succession and paved the way to the invention of the cellular telephone, and ultimately, the iPhone 5.
Brief History of Computers & Apple Inc.
The history of computers began in the twentieth century when Konrad Zuse created the first programmable computer in 1936. Parts such as vacuum tubes and transistors (invented in 1947) were created to further advance computer technology. In 1969, the first original “internet” was created called “ARPAnet”, which was used mainly by the US Department of Defense, but also by universities and research laboratories. Finally in 1971, the microprocessor was created by Intel, allowing computers that once took up full rooms of space to fit neatly in a corner of a desk. The history of personal computers therefore officially begins in 1974-76, with IBM 5100 computers and the Apple I & II in the later set years. Apple Computer (now known as Apple) was originally founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Apple Computer continued to advance their product, releasing the ‘Lisa Computer’ in 1983 which came packaged with a GUI (graphical user interface). In 1984 the Apple Macintosh arrived, the model which skyrocketed Apple on its journey to become one of the biggest competitors in electronics. Their chief competitor emerged the following year in 1985: Microsoft, by founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
To follow the jounrey of the iPhone, one must first consider Apple's first portable device: the iPod. The iPod was initially introduced in October of 2001 and has since then been recognized as the leader in portable music. The success of the iPod enabled the creation of the iTunes Store in 2003, a software platform that allows for the downloading of music. Since then, iTunes has become a prominent figure in online services. The iPod Shuffle, the “ultra-portable” non-interface model hit the stores in 2005, along with the smaller and more convenient iPod Nano. Finally, the iPod Touch (an iPod with a touch screen interface) and the iPhone were introduced to the electronic world in 2007. The iPhone operated on microcosmic version of Apple computer's software OS X, known as iOS. The phone featured a touchscreen display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection. In 2008, the iPhone 3G was released, an upgraded version of the iPhone with enhancements in size, connectivity (3G networks), and incorporation of GPS. The iPhone 3GS was released the following year with hardware upgrades and voice control. In 2010, Apple announced the iPhone 4, including a sleeker design, a gyroscope (for measuring/maintaining orientation) and a front-facing camera supplied for their new feature called FaceTime. The iPhone 4S introduced “Siri” to the world; a hyper-sensitive voice assistant technology. 4 million iPhone 4S phones were sold in the first three days on the shelves, hallmarking it the most successful phone to date. Finally, the iPhone 5 was released in September of 2012, featuring a longer 4-inch display with several internal improvements. It surpassed the iPhone 4S in sales with over 5 million sold in the first three days. The iPhone 5S and 5C were released in 2013, the 5C being the first Apple phone to change its color from the original black/white to red, yellow, blue, green or white (though it has the original specifications of the iPhone 5).
Steve Jobs introducing the very first iPhone. Note how incredible the invention was in 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZYlhShD2oQ, and the following videos are found under the same user if interested.
Next, watch the iPhone 5 promotion video by Apple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNsGNlDb6xY
For a six year span, the innovation is absolutely astonishing.
iPhone 5 Specs and Comparisions
iPhone 5, (codenamed N41/N42) was the fourth major redesign and the second major improvement to the iPhone's display. It went from a 3:2 aspect ratio to a more cinematic 16:9. The density (326ppi), resulted in this size increase, as well as an aluminum and glass body weighing in at 112 g. The phone is 7.6 mm thick, rendering it 20% lighter and 18 percent thinner than the iPhone 4S. The larger screen supplied the new iPhone's display a resolution of 1,136 x 640, featuring Apple's Retina display. The bigger display helps give your scrolling finger a rest and the home screen allows for an additional fifth row of icons. Apple switched to in-cell technology, allowing the combination of the touch sensor and LCD into a single layer, also reducing reflections. Although the overall, rounded-rectangle shape of the iPhone 5 has remained the same, Apple rebuilt the casing from the atoms up. Instead of a glass back and stainless steel band, Apple returned to the aluminum of the original iPhone. Ceramic/pigmented glass is still used on the top and bottom for RF transparency which results in a two-tone effect. Apple offered both white / silver and black / slate colors. The silver is clear-coated aluminum, the slate is anodized. Dark colors, especially black, are hard to anodize and this caused some issues for Apple pertaining to scratching and chipping. The result is an iPhone with a bigger screen, yet 12% less volume than its predecessor. It also requires a machining process that no other company on the planet could have produced at that scale. The iPhone 5 also debuted Apple's first custom processor. Previous Apple A-series processors had been based on existing ARM reference designs. For the Apple A6, Apple licensed the ARM v7s instruction set and made their own design − a 32nm CMOS dual-core Apple CPU that can run from between 800MHz and 1.2GHz. Another major change to the iPhone 5 is the power cable. After ten years of 30-pin Dock connector, Apple changed the paradigm for the smaller, more flexible lightning connector: 80% smaller and offering eight all-digital signals, to be precise. The Apple A6 image signal processor (ISP) added spatial noise reduction as well as increased speed. As a result of the 25% thinner body, Apple was unable to engineer a better camera yet they somehow managed to squeeze a camera into it that lived up to the cameras of the iPhone 4S. Re-branded under the old "iSight" name, Apple did add a new, dynamic low-light mode which they claimed was up to two f-stops better. Apple also claimed the five element lens has been aligned with even greater precision, promising an even greater sharpness. Also, the surface of the iSight was switched to sapphire crystal to make it more scratch resistant. The front, FaceTime camera vaulted to 720p, becoming an HD lens. Apple also added a third microphone for better noise cancellation and beam forming not just for phone calls, but FaceTime, Siri, and other newer technologies. The iPhone 5 runs on 4G LTE networks, meaning iPhone users can expect to browse the web much more quickly than before.
In conclusion: The future of communication may at first seem cloudy due to the technological advances of the last two decades, but whatever comes next will surely be unexpected and revolutionary. If one were to have considered the future of communication during the induction of the telegraph in 1844, the swift progression of communication innovations in the next two centuries would have been impossible to foresee. The telegraph and telephone connected business and individuals on a global scale and provided nations with the means to organize and conduct themselves at increasingly quicker rates. The personal computer, following the invention of the microchip, again revolutionized how we connect as people with the creation of the Internet. More recently, smart phones have transformed the rate and ability of communication. An important question may arise as to whether or not we are too connected. Perhaps, this may be considered a philosophical question with no concrete answer. Yet as far as we can tell, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, and can be witnessed on a daily basis. In spite of this, everything may change, and perhaps the next innovation will be harmful to the apparent cohesiveness of our modern day. Only time will tell.
Sources / Works Cited
"iPhone 5 Reviews." CNET. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013 http://www.cnet.com/iphone
"Apple iPhone 5 specifications, features and comparison." NDTV Gadgets. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. http://gadgets.ndtv.com/apple-iphone-5-771
Sterling, Christopher H. “CBQ Review Essay: History of the Telephone (Part 1): Invention, Innovation, and Impact.” Communication Booknotes Quarterly, Volume 35, Issue 4 (2004): 222-241.
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