Biggest advancement in iPhone/iOS?

AppleTech22

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 10, 2010
473
11
US
Thought this would be a cool thread to start, what was the biggest or best advancement made by the iPhone in software or hardware over the years? Maybe not the biggest change, but the one that you appreciated the most?

For me it was something small, being able to set a picture as the home screen background. Made such a difference in the daily appearance and use of the phone for me.

Let's hear yours!
 

sunking101

macrumors 604
Sep 19, 2013
6,671
1,812
iCloud backups. Being able to set my phone up automatically when I buy a new one or do a full restore etc.
 

SHirsch999

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2011
647
175
Thought this would be a cool thread to start, what was the biggest or best advancement made by the iPhone in software or hardware over the years? Maybe not the biggest change, but the one that you appreciated the most?

For me it was something small, being able to set a picture as the home screen background. Made such a difference in the daily appearance and use of the phone for me.

Let's hear yours!
I agree that setting a picture as the home screen background enhances the personal nature of the device, but I was doing this on my POS windows PDA back in 2003, and I think I was late to that game. My personal favorite advancement was the addition of iMessage, which for at least a couple of years enabled me to not have to pay much for texting. It also allowed me to "text" from my iPad.
 

mhunter6378

macrumors regular
Feb 20, 2015
108
11
Continuity / Handoff has made the biggest impact for me. While there have been many advances over the years that I truly appreciate and enjoy, this one really made a difference for me. Today I was working from home (sick). I was on my MacBook working, answering calls, texting (even to green bubble people) and when I needed to move around I just picked up my iPhone or iPad. Being able to transition like that from one device to the other is fantastic.
 

puma1552

Suspended
Nov 20, 2008
5,559
1,917
copy/paste.

still waiting for cursor arrow keys on my 6 without needing a third party keyboard.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,798
3,088
The iPhone's biggest achievement? For me, it's the multi-touch capacitive touchscreen. That basically redefined the entire smartphone/PDA category.

Now biggest change I appreciate from older iPhone models are the high PPI screen and faster hardware (CPU, GPU, more RAM). The original iPhone rendered webpages so slowly you could see small tiled squares for several seconds just scrolling up and down. I experienced plenty of CPU and memory related crashes, too (on the now defunct Stanza). Now, the hardware's fast enough for relatively complex 3D games. Retina display made it a joy to use for reading, web browsing, etc.
 

aneftp

macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
4,244
461
As the other poster stated. iMessage in iOS 5 was a major advancement. Remember it was so ridiculous Apple refused to support MMS until iPhone 3 software. N

But they nailed iMessage. Very elegant. Can send full video with mms cropping to other apple users. Of course iMessage played havoc with some people who like to sim switch by not de associating iMessage with phone numbers. Apple finally fixed that glitch in 2014.
 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,373
1,132
Charlotte, NC
I also have to say iMessage. That one was a game changer. Sending and receiving media files with no loss of quality and integrated across all iOS products and the Mac.

Second would be Touch ID. It stands to become even more useful too as more devs begin to make use of it. It's so convenient.
 

Woochifer

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2007
685
0
The original iPhone was so far ahead of its time in so many areas. Most of the basic functionality has remained the same. Multitouch, the integration between the maps, apps, and messaging, even the rubber band effect and the transition animations, are all carryovers from the original iPhone.

If you're talking about advances made since the original iPhone, then I would say the biggest advance was the retina display. First time I saw the iPhone 4 display, it was a revelation. It removed the last abstraction between the displayed images and the user. I never looked at a computer or smartphone or tablet display the same way again.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
47,426
15,977
As far as iOS changes/improvements go, Notification Center and notification handling in general when more options aside from alerts came about. Widgets would be behind that.

That said, the overall back swipe gesture support has also been fairly big and useful as far as changes/improvements go.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Thought this would be a cool thread to start, what was the biggest or best advancement made by the iPhone in software or hardware over the years? Maybe not the biggest change, but the one that you appreciated the most?

For me it was something small, being able to set a picture as the home screen background. Made such a difference in the daily appearance and use of the phone for me.

Let's hear yours!
Hardware-wise, it was:

1. Going retina (iPhone 4)
2. Going 64-bit (iPhone 5s)
3. Going large (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)

Software-wise, it was:
1. Basic multitasking (iOS 4)
2. iMessage and iCloud (iOS 5)
3. Siri (iOS 5)
4. New UI (iOS 7)
5. Heavy encryption systemwide (iOS 8)
 

Chad-VI

macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2014
251
44
I think the retina display and Touch ID were the biggest advancement in the iPhone. When you see the retina display for the first time you think that it's not a display because of how clear it felt compared to the standard res. Touch ID also was the best fingerprint sensor ever implemented on a portable device, it was the perfect feature for people who want to protect their phones but don't want to bother typing a password. It is even faster than unlocking the phone with no passcode.
 

Ferc Kast

macrumors 6502
Sep 26, 2012
288
171
Ohio, USA
Hardware:

- A8x (64-bit, tri-core, 2gb ram)
- Touch ID
- Retina
- current device thinness (iPhone 6/6+, iPad Air 2)

Software:

- Notification Center / 3rd party Widgets
- 3rd party Keyboards
- Control Center
- 6+ Landscape UI

Waiting For:

- Split screen for iPad
- 3rd party Keyboards during passwords
- Maybe a new home screen UI for iPad
- Native File Manger app (local / iCloud)
 

AAPLinc

macrumors 65816
Jul 27, 2012
1,292
2
Hollywood, CA
Hardware - when they strayed away from the small form factor and went with the standard 4.7" for the iP6. When I had the 4S I thought I loved the 3.5" size, but after owning a 6, I could never return! On top of the screen increase, the Retina display addition was HUGE in terms of advancement.

Software - Control center. I still jailbreak but used to mostly jailbreak for SBSettings, I'm glad over the years Apple has integrated some jailbreak-like things into the software. Control center is probably my favorite software change ever.
 
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meistervu

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2008
1,027
27
The Home button.

Why? It is the single most defining element in iOS. It turned the iPhone into an easy to master device. No matter where you are, you can always go home using a dominant hardware button.

Of course there are people on this forum who want to do away with it, but I don't think the iPhone would be as popular a device it is today without the Home button.
 

Merkie

macrumors 68020
Oct 23, 2008
2,104
662
Camera access from the lock screen. I never thought much of it at first, but now I realize I use it quite often. It makes camera access so quick that pretty much any other phone is annoying for me to take pictures.

Maybe not the biggest advancement, but it is one of those refinements I really love. The iPhone camera experience is fantastic, not even contemplating to buy a new digital camera.
 

Cmd-Z

macrumors 6502
Nov 14, 2014
471
482
Coyote, CA
Hardware:
1- LTE support
2- CPU (5 and later)
3- Touch ID
4- Size of 6+
5- Camera performance (even the 4 was damn good)

Software:
1- AirPlay (thanks Defender!)
2- Continuity between iPhone/ iPad/ Mac
3- Control Center
4- Multi-tasking
5- iMessage (& FaceTime I suppose)
6- Cut/ Copy/ Paste
 
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