Tech by VICE

Call For Pitches: What Is the iPhone?

Next month, Motherboard will explore how the most profitable consumer product ever made has changed our culture.

by Jason Koebler and Emanuel Maiberg
May 26 2017, 1:44pm

Screengrab: EverythingApplePro/YouTube

Apple is well on its way to becoming the first trillion dollar company in history, largely carried by the success of the iPhone. Though critics and even some investors say the company has lost the magic that came with Steve Jobs's industry-inventing gadgets, the iPhone nonetheless remains an aspirational device that's seemingly encased in an impenetrable Otterbox of success.

With the iPhone turning 10 years old next month, it seems like a good time to take stock of the role the device plays in our lives. That's why we'll spend the week of its anniversary publishing stories that explore how the phone has changed our culture. We'll be seeking to answer two questions: What is the iPhone and what does it want from us?

Those are surprisingly difficult questions to answer: The iPhone is quite literally the most successful consumer product ever made, and has been a world-shaping device.

Small design decisions impact global markets. Component supply decisions shift mining, manufacturing, and repair companies the world over. Privacy decisions have upended the means by which intelligence agencies and law enforcement gather surveillance and conduct investigations. And the iOS App Store remains the dominant proving ground for a new economy of startups that have upended countless industries.

So what is the iPhone? A smartphone? A lifestyle? An aspiration? A standard-issue utilitarian device of the 21st century? Did the iPhone kill personal computers? We know most of you are reading these words on your phone.

Motherboard staff and contributors will explore the impact the iPhone has had and continues to have on global society. Is the iPhone still as important today as it was when it first launched? Where does Apple go from here? How has the iPhone changed our expectations about privacy and security, e-waste, digital communication, and software development?

If you're a journalist, an Apple employee, a blogger, a fanboy, or a hater, we're seeking smart reported stories, personal essays, and blog posts to round out our coverage. Email and with a proposed headline and a few sentences about what you'd like to write about.

iPhone Week
Call for Pitches