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Open Access Mapping the rise of the iPhone: Between phones and mobile media

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This article discusses a cluster of specific technologies and practices in the history of the mobile phone in the U.S. and Europe that have been crucial for the success of Apple’s iPhone. It argues that Apple has integrated these developments along three major strategies: all-in-one, customization, and location-awareness. Unraveling these histories and strategies allows us to circumvent the blind spot created by looking at the iPhone solely as a magic object catering to the personal needs of the mobile user. What lies between the object and the subject is a complex assemblage of technologies, actors, and space-bound practices that situate the product and the consumer in an expansive, commodified, and increasingly modulated environment at the heart of which lies the entanglement of user agency and corporate control.
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Keywords: convergence; customisation; iPhone; location-awareness; mobile media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of Comparative Arts and Media and former Head of the Division of Arts and Culture at the VU University Amsterdam.

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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