iPhone at 10: how Apple ads secured the smartphone as an essential device

iPhones ads through the last decade

Apple's iPhone, a device that disrupted most tech devices and redefined consumer electronics, is celebrating its 10th birthday.

Marking the anniversary, it's time to take a look back at the ads that helped solidify Apple's market dominance. Each ad looked to hit home the expanding capabilities of mobile device, in turn reflecting how vital smartphones have become.

Worth noting is that that ad agency TBWA was with Apple for the full ride, to the extent that the agency itself evolved during this time.

Hello - iPhone

First off, in the very early days of the smartphone, June 2007 to be exact, this is the ad in which the iPhone said Hello to the world. It debuted during the Oscars, explaining the movie theme.

Facebook – iPhone 3

It's 2007, you can Facebook on your mobile now. I doubt that'll take off...

Hallway - iPhone 3G

The iPhone is so valuable it belongs in a vault. Nowadays the 3GS looks like a relic from the past.

Meet Her - iPhone 4

FaceTime changed how people communicate. This ad hit home how emotional those calls can be.

Every - iPhone 4

The iPhone can do 'every' thing.

Assistant - iPhone 4S

Welcome to the world Siri, you still won't be very helpful for a few years.

Dreams - iPhone 5

The iPhone is an object that literally makes dreams come true apparently.

Photos Every Day - iPhone 5

With a prolific selfie culture and a powerful camera, Apple wanted to secure itself as the photographer's choice.

Strength - iPhone 5S

This slot underlined the fitness tracking abilities.

Duo - iPhone 6

Apple, late to the game, embraced the phablet phone size with the iPhone 6 Plus.

Ridiculously Powerful - iPhone 6S

There are faster, more powerful devices out there, so Apple obfuscated from that issue with this beautifully shot ad.

Earth - iPhone 7

This video showcased some of the stunning landscape photography 'Shot on iPhone'. It carries a call to action urging iPhone users to emulate these pieces.

The Archives - iPhone 7

An emotional John Lewis-style ad, promoting the new memories tab.

Of course, in addition to running cracking ads, Apple helped changed the digital advertising infrastructure. Dale Lovell, chief digital officer and UK managing director at Adyoulike, said: "It is hard to understate the impact the iPhone has had on advertising as a whole. Its effect on advertising to consumers is as big, if not bigger, than that of the trusty billboard.”

“With four out of five UK adults now having a smartphone - the equivalent of 37 million people - advertisers have had to jump in head first to reach these consumers. The level of spend growth is simply staggering. In 2008, the same year that Apple App store launched with just 500 apps, UK mobile ad spend accounted for a paltry £28.6m. Yet by last year, mobile spend reached a new record of £3.9bn.”

Reflecting on a decade of tech innovation and slick advertising, James Connelly, chief executive at Fetch, added: “Today the app economy is bigger than Hollywood and we’re getting to a post-PC era, all thanks to the iPhone. From a consumer perspective, since the launch, mobile and the shift in how people connect to the internet has completely changed. Ticket booking, shopping or booking hotel rooms are enabled in real time, on a smartphone anywhere the user has connectivity.

“All of this change has created an ‘on demand’ society that does not accept anything else except immediacy - there’s a whole generation of people now who expect the app standard across every part of their lives. Mobile is literally the most important valuable item on our person and the thing we really cannot live without."

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John McCarthy

John is an entertainment marketing reporter at The Drum. He writes about the amazing marketing stories coming from the movie, TV, music and video game industries. He's also the hunt for the weirder trends in marketing and advertising.

Fuelled by tea.

All by John