10 Years of iPhone and the Stuff it Killed

June 6, 2017

Smartphones, both iPhone and Android, have been around for the past 10 years. The first Android was released in 2008 and the first iPhone in 2007. Since, they’ve replaced countless things we once used on daily basis. Now, instead of carrying a backpack, we just carry our phones in our pockets.

In honor of the iPhone’s ten-year anniversary in June, Vocativ has compiled a list of some of the basic items and activities that smartphones (or sometimes just cell phones) have supplanted. And that’s not even considering services, like Apple Pay, that are becoming more popular and soon could replace even more fundamental things in our wallets— like credit cards and cash. Here’s a look at a few:

Wired phones are obsolete now. Researchers have discovered that the majority of U.S. households do not even have a landline anymore. Instead, they rely on their cell phones. Kids these days will never know what a rotary phone is or understand the frustration of trying to use the phone while someone was talking to someone else or using the Internet on a dial-up connection.

Pay phone
These are gone, too. If you see one, it’s either one of the last remaining or just there for decorative purposes. New York City started replacing its pay phones with Wi-Fi kiosks that let pedestrians surf the web, call anywhere in the U.S., and even charge their own phones.

The iPhone might not replace the TI-89, but it gets simple math done. There was a time when people actually carried calculators in their bags to make sure their checkbooks were all balanced.

Ok, people might’ve not actually carried flashlights around with them, but maybe pen lights. But if you go to someone’s house and ask them for a flashlight, chances are that they’ll just say, “why don’t you used your phone.” In all fairness, cell phone flashlights are quite illuminating.

MP3 players
Remember the iPod? It seems like a distant memory, but people used to carry around two different devices with them all the time: their cell phone and their music player. Thanks to phone memories getting bigger (the iPhone 7 now comes with 256GB of capacity) and models with SD card storage, people can now use their cell phone to store all of their music.

The cameras on smartphones, especially the iPhone, have gotten ridiculously good. The current camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is one of the best ones in the market. It’s a 12MP camera that can take great portraits, automatically blurs the background, and supports 4K video. It’s now hard to justify the purchase of an actual camera unless you’re a professional.

Audio recorders
All smartphones come with a basic set of apps and one of them is always the recorder. As a journalist or student, this app is great. Most people think it’s a waste of an app, but you never know when recording something might come in hand.

Once upon a time, people would have a big wheel on their desks filled with contact information of friends, colleagues, and family. Then people started carrying around contact books and business card portfolios. Now, it’s just as easy as taking out your phone and tapping on your contacts app. Unlimited amount of space, and you can input everything about a person in one single card: phone number, email, social media handles, and even fax numbers (are those still a thing?).

Sometimes having a physical calendar at home or at work is nice, but the iPhone’s calendar will always be better. It’s just easy to input, share, and constantly check dates and events on the mobile calendar. It’s definitely one of the best things smartphones have replaced.

Whether you use it or not (mostly likely not), the compass is something smartphones replaced. But it’s a bit pointless when you can simply just use Maps and Google Maps to navigate your way through a city.

Along with calendars, maps is one of the best thing smartphones have replaced. People would have to buy big, bulky maps whenever they went on road trips or visited a new city. Of course, that’s still an option and many people do it. But the simplicity of just tapping on your phone for directions doesn’t compare at staring at a piece of paper for minutes trying to figure out which way is north.

Watches, Alarm clocks, Timers
People still have watches on their wrists and clocks on their walls, but for the most part, they rely on their phones to tell the time, set their alarm in the morning, and time the dinner in the oven. In fact, a 2011 study discovered that almost 60 percent of 16 to 34 year olds use their phone as their primary timepiece.

Books and Magazines
Just like movies, books, magazine, and newspapers have also been digitized and can be read anywhere on the go. Whether it’s an e-reader app or a PDF file, you can see a lot of people reading on their phones while commuting to and from work. It’s much more convenient than having to carry around a book when going out or rushing to places.

Photo albums
We can thank Facebook and Instagram for replacing photo albums, but apps like Photos and Google Photos also allow us to store unlimited photos and put them in “albums” to look back on occasionally. However, there’s nothing like holding a physical photo album and flipping through memories.

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