Apple began producing home computers in the 1970s. Apple are credited with transforming the smartphone world and popularising the touchscreen interface with the phenomenally successful range of iPhones.
Reasons to choose Apple:
Since the 1990s the personal computer world has been dominated by PCs and Microsoft Windows, but Apple computers are becoming increasingly popular due to Apple´s emphasis on ease of use and simplicity. This ethos has been transferred to Apple´s other product ranges including the iPhone which has become popular for its user friendliness.
Although there were earlier touchscreen phones the iPhone was the first to meet with large scale success and since its launch in 2007 it has completely transformed the mobile phone market. Touchscreen phones now make up a majority of the handsets on offer and many of these devices are trying to emulate the iPhone´s winning formula. The iPhone remains the biggest selling phone worldwide and new iPhone releases always cause a sensation whenever they make an appearance.
The iPhone runs on iOS, a mobile operating system unique to Apple phones. iOS is praised by its users for its ease of use and it also set the standard for touchscreen interfaces. iOS comes with a number of features that make it unique, including the App Store, iTunes and, on newer iPhones, FaceTime support.
Apple popularised the concept of an App Store, allowing smartphone owners to add extra software functionality to their devices. Although apps were previously available on Windows Mobile and Symbian phones, and have since become available on most smartphones including Android with Android Market and BlackBerry with BlackBerry App World, the iPhone currently enjoys the largest collection of apps on any phone system.
Apps submitted to the App Store are also vetted by Apple to ensure quality and to minimise malicious software infecting Apple phones. Because of this iPhone apps do not run as high a risk for containing malware and viruses as apps found on competing systems. This is also helps to ensure that the App Store is not overpopulated with low quality or useless apps.
The iPhone also benefits from many of Apple´s other services including iTunes, which in recent times has become one of the most popular ways of purchasing music. iTunes provides users with access to millions of songs from popular musicians and artists. iTunes now also allows users to download movies and TV shows directly to their iPhone.
With iTunes Ping you can also keep track of what your friends are listening to and watching, as well as find information about when artists are playing near you.
The iPhone also comes with the iPod music and video player. With this you can scroll through your music collection with Cover Flow and shuffle your music collection by shaking the phone. The iPhone comes with a good range of music and video support and purchases from iTunes made on your phone can be automatically downloaded to other devices such as your home computer.
The iPhone also features AirPlay which allows you to wirelessly stream music and video to an Apple TV or Apple supported speakers. Streaming video will require an Apple TV to be connected to your home TV and streaming music will require AirPlay enabled speakers available from selected manufacturers. Similar functionality is provided on other smartphones that feature DLNA support.
In 2010 Apple introduced FaceTime, a video messaging service. Using a front facing camera iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S users can chat to others visually with video calls. FaceTime is limited to Apple devices released since the iPhone 4, and so this video calling service can only be used with other iPhone 4 (and above) owners. FaceTime cannot be used to video chat with people owning non-Apple phones.
With FaceTime you can enjoy video chat with friends and at the same time see what they are seeing. From the flick of a button you can switch between rear and front cameras, so you can chat away and quickly show people something that you are looking at as well. FaceTime currently only works over Wi-Fi but will be 3G compatible from iOS5 onwards.
The iPhone 4 uses Apple´s unique Retina Display. This screen technology provides 326 PPI (pixels per inch) which is just a little more detail than the human eye is able to detect. Because of this, the iPhone 4 does not suffer from pixilation like many electronic screens, and provides one of the highest levels of detail on any phone screen.
iMessage will become available with the release of iOS5 and the iPhone 5. Previous iPhone versions including the 3GS and the 4 will be able to update to iOS5 and make use of the new iMessage service.
iMessage is Apple´s version of BlackBerry Messenger, which allows people to effectively send free text and picture messages to other iPhone users. BlackBerry Messenger is one of the primary reasons that BlackBerry phones are popular with younger phone users, as they are more likely to send large volumes of text messages. iMessage should make future iPhones equally appealing to people who like to send large quantities of text messages although, like FaceTime, it is only compatible with other Apple devices.
Although iPhones are not the only phones to come with games included, Game Center is a feature unique to Apple handsets. With Game Center you can play social games against friends and find people to play against by using their email address. From the Game Center you can download new games to enjoy, and also try and get your name on the leaderboard. This is in addition to the many fun touchscreen games available from the App Store.
With iOS 5 Apple is launching support for its new cloud computing service known as iCloud. With iCloud you can store content such as music, videos, photos and documents in "the cloud" (i.e. the internet). For a small monthly fee you can then access this content from any iCloud supporting device including iPhones, Macs and iPads without the need to transfer them between devices manually.
This can provide you with access to far greater volumes of content than you would typically be able to fit on a device such as a smartphone. With the maximum capacity of current smartphones being around 64GB this can be fairly limiting if you have a music collection that is more than 200GB for example. With iCloud you can store this music in the cloud and access it as you require, rather than needing to constantly transfer music from a home computer.
Apple is one of the leading innovators in the mobile phone industry and often brings new concepts and ideas to smartphones. Although a lot of similar features are available on competing smartphones Apple usually offers its own variants that are only available on an iPhone.