The telephone is not a recent invention. In fact, the very first telephone patent was granted to Alexander Graham Bell way back in 1869, more than 150 years ago. Throughout most of that time, the telephone remained largely unchanged as a method of sending and receiving real-time vocal communication. There were some advancements, such as the switch from rotary dial telephones to push-button dialing, as well as an increase in sound quality and a reduction in size and weight. However, their main function was basically the same, until relatively recently.
Early mobile phones evolved from cordless telephones and were essentially just handheld devices that could make and receive calls. These quickly advanced into more compact and technologically capable machines that could send text messages, play basic games, and access functions such as notes, calendars, and alarm clocks. But even by the year 2000, these mobile phones were severely limited in terms of their functions and there was little indication of what was to come.
Although there were a few early examples of what could be considered smartphones, like the IBM Simon in 1994, these were incredibly expensive and only made in very small numbers. This all changed in 2007, which saw the release of the iPhone. This smartphone featured a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, could access the internet through the Safari browser, and had access to an app store filled with near-limitless software downloads. These new smartphones effectively act as tiny computers that can do everything from streaming content to instant messaging, becoming an indispensable part of our lives that seemed impossible just a few years earlier.