4 ways the iPhone changed PR

iPhones over the years.It's June 29, 2007: Game show fans are still heartbroken after Bob Barker completes his last episode of The Price is Right nearly two weeks earlier; former astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak is disputing accusations she wore diapers while driving 950-miles to confront her romantic rival in the bizarre love triangle case that made worldwide headlines; and, standing in line at AT&T and Apple stores nationwide, thousands of eager consumers are waiting to get their hands on the first ever iPhone.

It’s hard to believe the iPhone is only six years old, but has managed to change the world so much.

At six years old, I was a rambunctious first grader who liked to tap my pencil loudly after finishing a reading quiz before the other kids. When the iPhone turned six in 2013, Apple reported it sold a record-setting 31.2 million devices for the June quarter. Talk about an overachiever.

No matter what device you’re texting and emailing from today, there’s no doubt that when the iPhone launched in 2007, it changed the tech world — and the public relations industry.

From job growth to email, here are four ways that the iPhone was a PR game changer: 

The jobs

Think of all the iPhone accessory and app companies that hire PR freelancers and firms to publicize their products. Before 2007, they didn’t exist. From its computers to its phones, Apple says it’s created or supported more than 598,000 U.S. jobs. Guess what? Some of those belong to PR professionals. I don’t have hard data, but look at the media fanfare surrounding the iPhone launch events, and all the PR people behind the scenes.

The apps

In July 2008, Apple opened its App Store so users could download third-party applications for their phones. From scheduling meetings to sharing information, iPhone apps make the PR professional’s work life easier and more efficient. There are actually so many great apps, I’m saving them for an upcoming post next week.

The camera

Shortly after the iPhone 4S was released with an updated 8 megapixel camera and and 1080p HD video recording, I was managing a press conference and met a reporter in the parking lot. I asked if he wanted me to wait around for his camera guy. “Nope, I’ll be shooting and interviewing the event with my iPhone,” he said. Recently, Burberry released 15 minutes of its Spring/Summer 2014 fashion show shot exclusively on the iPhone 5S. Times are a-changin’! I don’t think the iPhone will replace news cameras by any means, but it’s a great option if you’re in a pinch.

The mobility

I liked emailing with my BlackBerry, but I love emailing with my iPhone. Even the White House agrees with me. The iPhone, and smartphones after it, offered executives a rich email interface to use. With a little assistance from a coffee shop’s Wi-Fi, large attachments like PDFs and images can be sent on the fly. It’s not quite a computer, but increasingly, iPhones make users feel like they’re in the office when they’re not.

While there are many smartphone options that perform several of the functions I listed above, from Android to the new Windows Phone, there’s no doubt that the iPhone’s entrance on the market disrupted the mobile phone industry for the better.

Plus, I’m thankful for anything that makes life — and my job — a little easier.

By the way, how is everyone liking iOS 7? 

(Photo by Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr.)

Cameron McPherson

Cameron builds strategic communication campaigns that increase awareness and build public support. His familiarity with Virginia’s local markets helps clients navigate and understand complex and emerging issues. He frequently assists new companies, restaurants and other organizations launch in the Richmond market through public relations tactics.

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