A star is born: The evolution of the iPhone

Jealous fans! Big money! Tough managers! The Apple iPhone has packed plenty into its short life as this year's hot gadget – but is it here to stay or just another fad?
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The Independent Tech

Episode 1
Let there be phone

Steve Jobs, the CEO and co-founder of Apple, is the genius behind some of the greatest gadgets ever made: the Macintosh computer, the iMac and the iBook are instantly recognisable products. But it was the iPod music player that transformed Apple's fortunes. The latest creation to be unveiled by Jobs, first in the US and now in the UK, is the iPhone which shows where Jobs believes that Apple's future lies: personal telecommunications

Episode 2
Gimme, gimme, gimme

Even before its launch on 9 November, the iPhone had become the season's most fashionable gadget, standing out from its mobile-phone rivals thanks to its handsome curves and all-round abilities. The iPhone's sexy styling and huge colour screen make it covetable for its looks alone but it's the technology behind the pretty face that's equally impressive. Users stroke, pat and caress the touch-screen to make calls, listen to music, surf the net and view pictures

Episode 3
Feel the burn

But, boy, is Steve Jobs working the iPhone hard. First, it's the new kid on a tough block, the mobile-phone market. Second, the iPhone has the gall to demand that its owners stump up £269 for the handset and then at least £630 in tariffs over the course of its 18-month-minimum contract. Apple sold 270,000 phones during its US launch weekend alone, but industry commentators claim UK sales are disappointing...

Episode 4
Access denied

Don't try any funny business with your iPhone, unless you want to end up with a very shiny brick. Home-grown hackers who "unlock" the handset to get it to work on any mobile network other than O2 or to add unofficial programs made by doting fans will render it inoperable. Apple may have a sure-fire way of controlling how you use your iPhone, but it sure isn't winning any friends

Final episode
The future

Either The iPhone conquers all, and, as the iPod did, spawns successive generations of even cooler, smaller and whizzier versions of itself for years to come, making Steve Jobs a very happy man



Or

Famously fickle mobile-phone consumers tire of the iPhone's shortcomings, and turn their lust towards the next must-have handset – the word is that Google is planning its own touch-screen handset. Cool!

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