How iPhones revolutionized the financial industry (Australia)
The smartphone is ubiquitous technology, in the pockets of virtually every Australian and represents a systemic shift in the way we interact with the world. According to recent data, more than 9 in 10 Australians accessed the internet from a mobile device in the first half of 2021 alone.
Smartphone charging was of course initially led by the announcement of the first iPhone in 2007. While the technology existed and other vendors were working on their own iterations of a touchscreen device with computing capabilities, Apple was the first to hit the market – and did so with some serious innovation.
This innovation continued for 16 years as smartphones got smarter and faster; the iPhone 14 has just been released, a far cry from its predecessor in terms of power and utility. The ways in which our lives have changed as a result are widespread and immeasurable, but an often overlooked aspect of this seismic shift involves finance. The finance industry is forever changed – but why? And how is the iPhone partially responsible?
The fintech revolution
Financial technology, or fintech, describes the various technological innovations that surround wealth management. Fintech found its feet in the 1990s, a few decades after the first integration of digital money management into large-scale internal banking systems.
The products were now being developed in a rapidly growing industry, which enabled businesses and banks to regulate their finances entirely digitally – and to do so on a young Internet, growing in scope and capacity. The next big change, however, would come with the proliferation of laptops in the form of smartphones.
The fintech industry grew further, as fintech disruptors were quicker to new technologies and new markets than conventional banks. Digital-only mobile banking apps have provided real alternatives to physical branches, while investment organizations have created retail platforms that have removed barriers to entry into stock and forex markets. This allowed new forex traders to trade currencies wherever they wanted – and without the need to engage the services of expensive brick-and-mortar brokers.
iPhones and iPads
Of course, the iPhone (and iPad) is at the heart of this contemporary explosion of access to financial technology. Before the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, the capabilities of phones were somewhat limited. While revolutionary models such as the Blackberry offered users benefits never before seen, the iPhone democratized these benefits with an elegant and user-friendly user interface. The smartphone was born as an intuitive device capable of doing almost anything.
The rest, as they say, was history. Today, the smartphone market is fertile, with strong competition from many brands besides Apple. Together, however, they represent a new era of accessibility and fairness for users around the world. People can access and manage their own finances at their fingertips, giving them more freedom than ever to engage in international markets.