The iPhone 13 Pro is part of the latest iPhone generation and represents smartphones on the current market. The phone is placed upon a new wireless charging device and has a case on that is compatible with wireless charging technology.

The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking.

Alexander Graham Bell in 1906.

Alexander Graham Bell patented the first telephone in 1876 (Telephone | History, Definition, Invention, Uses, & Facts, 2019), paving the way for the progress following in the next almost 150 years. What started out as a way of communication reserved to a few select people, slowly became a basic household item within a century. The progress made was accelerated in the 1990’s with the first mobile phones hitting the markets making communication flexible. The last 20 years, though, have marked the turning point when it comes to communication: mobile phones have evolved into smartphones, surpassing the original idea of communication by phone and opening endless possibilities for all aspects of life. Nowadays, 91.54% of people worldwide own a mobile phone (Turner, 2022) making it the most used technological device (Westcott, 2020). We have become used to having unlimited access to our smartphones, but why are they so enticing? And what are the downsides of this revolutionizing technology?

fast-paced progress

The last two decades have shown incredible fast progress regarding technology. From the first bulky mobile phones to slim flip phones, to the first mobile phone with a touchscreen, technology has come a long way. iPhones have always been characterized by their slim and simple design. Later iPhone designs have multiple models in different sizes and with various characteristics in one generation making it possible to choose a phone that fits ones needs better. The latest generation of iPhone 13 in four different variations has the capability to use 5G, record professional videos, a battery life of at least 17 hours and starts at 128 GB internal memory (Jones, 2022). Comparing the latest generation of iPhone to the first, it becomes clear why it is an object of such significance for this millennium: the first iPhone had a 2-megapixel-camera, a maximum of 6 hours battery life on WIFI and only a maximum of 16 GB internal memory (Jones, 2022). The progress made is a result of competition between Apple and Samsung to achieve market domination, leaving other brands as Blackberry and Motorola behind.

Find out what kind of impact the iPhone has had on smartphones as we know them today. (Source: CNN [CNN Business], 2017).

Not only the smartphones have made incredible progress in the last two decades, but their accessories have done so, too. Whilst the first iPhone shipped with a stereo headset and a cable charger (iPhone (1st Generation) – Full Phone Information | iGotOffer, 2019), the newest iPhone generation ships with only an USB-C-Lightning cable – no headphones, not even a dock included. From charging batteries to put into our phones, to plugging phones into the wall, we have arrived at a point where there is no need for a wire when charging anymore (The Evolution of Phone Chargers: Then and Now, n.d.).  Wireless charging is a technology that may seem very new as it has only slowly become more popular, even though it was first introduced in 2012 (Mearian, 2018). The great benefit of wireless charging compared to the now traditional charging by wire, is that the non-existent need for plugging and unplugging a cable into the phone avoids the usual tear of charging cables, extending the durability of phone and charging method (The Evolution of Phone Chargers: Then and Now, n.d). Even though wireless charging has some downsides to it – such as needing compatible phone case – it is expected to become increasingly popular over the next years (The Global Wireless Charging Market Size Is Expected to Reach $25.6 Billion by 2026, Rising at a Market Growth of 28.4% CAGR during the Forecast Period, 2020).

The 100-year-old history behind the wireless charger. (Source: Verge Science, 2020).

an app for every situation

When the first iPhone was launched in 2007, many were sceptical about its possible success given the – back then enormous – price of 499$ (Montgomery & Mingis, 2021).  One of the reasons the iPhone became such a success was the Appstore (CNN [CNN Business], 2017) that launched in 2008 with only 500 apps (Iqbal, 2022). Through apps, smartphone users are able to personalize their phone in such a way that it serves and complements their character and their needs.  Whether one is looking for games to pass their time, ways to edit their pictures, communication channels or possibilities to track their health, one of the 1.85 million apps in the iOS Appstore or 2.56 million in the Google Play Store (Iqbal, 2022) are sure to fulfill the needs of the consumer. During the last two decades, our lifestyles have changed considerably due to the technologization of everyday life (Eichenberg et al., 2017).

Multiple generations of iPhone and iPod. (Source: T. Lee, 2020).

One of the aspects that have changed significantly is the way we look for and maintain relationships. Through apps, there is now an unprecedented access to dating markets (Mateizer & Avram, 2022) giving people looking for partners the opportunity to look for a mate without temporary or geographical restraints, thus significantly increasing the dating pool (Wiederhold, 2015). In 2013, 23% of US Americans had found their spouse or long-term partner through a dating site (Smith & Duggan, 2013). Thinking back on how only a few years ago it was common ground to not engage in communication with strangers on the internet – and most definitely not meeting up with them – it is almost incredible how commonly accepted and used online dating has become in the widest parts of society (Ruhela & Riaz, 2019).

Smartphones have also widened another area of our lives considerably: education. Through the accessibility of smartphones and a large variety of apps, education by distance has been made possible for classroom settings (Gowthami & VenkataKrishnaKumar, 2016) – a progress that has come in especially handy during the COVID 19 pandemic. Smartphones make studying overall more convenient and provide accessibility to massive numbers of students regardless of their geographic, social or economic background (Buck et al., 2013).

The opportunities that have come with the access to smartphones and the individualization through the Appstore have created never-known freedoms for users. But those freedoms come with a price tag.

always connected

The ability to be and stay connected anytime and anywhere also has negative consequences on the wellbeing of the users. The negative psychological connection between humans and the introduction of new technologies is called “technostress” and has five factors: overload, invasion, complexity, insecurity and uncertainty (Lee et al., 2016). Technostress as a problem of adaptation needs to be differed from technophobia, which is the fear of using technology (Nimrod, 2017). We have adopted smartphones faster into our lives than any other technology before, to a degree that for most users living without a smartphone has become unimaginable (Kushlev, 2019).

A usual sight in most parts of daily life – 24/7 connectivity. (Source: Jimenez, 2019).

This dependency on phones, created through the freedoms it enables, has massively blurred the existing boundaries, especially with regards to work-home-life (Lee et al., 2016). Co-workers and bosses can access their colleagues and subordinates at every time of the day, even if the employee is officially not working at the moment. This possible accessibility creates a feeling of being constantly tied to the workplace (Lee et al., 2016), but also fear of missing out on important messages and having to deal with repercussions later. Technostress is not limited to young users, though. The fear of not being included in technological environments and the strive to ensure inclusion is also evoking technostress in senior citizens (Nimrod, 2017). The fast-paced impact smartphones have had on modern day society is a reason for new mental health concerns (Dávideková, 2016). Even though this revolutionizing technology has given us unparalleled access to information and communication modalities (Lee et al., 2012), it has many negative impacts that a lot of people do not even realize as such. People with a naturally higher interest in new technologies have a higher tolerance for technostress (Lee et al., 2012), but it is crucial for the future of our societies to shed light on the mental health impacts of smartphones and to develop ways to minimize those impacts whilst keeping the maximum amount of freedom they provide.


Name: iPhone and Wireless Charger

3D Model

Creator: Cristina Turbatu

Date: 27-01-2022

Place: Aschaffenburg, Germany

Themes: Technology and Society

Captured with Sony Alpha 7 III, Lazy Susan

Processed with Agisoft Metashape Professional Software run on MacOS Catalina


Physical Object

Size: 15 cm x 7,5 cm x 1,2 cm (phone)
10 cm x 0,7 cm (wireless charger)

Weight: 300 g

Material: Plastic, glass and metal


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