Technology & Science

Time names iPhone invention of the year

Time magazine has named Apple's iPhone its invention of the year, beating out a solar- and wind-powered car and flexible display screens.

Time magazine has named Apple Inc.'s iPhone its invention of the year, beating out a solar- and wind-powered car and flexible display screens created by Sony Corp. and LG Electronics Inc.

The iPhone got a lot of things right, wrote Time's Lev Grossman, particularly in the area of design. The device is attractive and, although it didn't introduce touch-screen technology, is the first to make innovative use of it.

"All the cool features in the world won't do you any good unless you can figure out how to use said features, and feel smart and attractive while doing it," Grossman wrote. "In the world of technology, surface really is depth."

Apple has also shaken up the wireless industry with its device by demanding it be allowed to design a product according to its specifications, rather than working according to an operator's specifications. The iPhone is also the first truly mobile handheld computer, he wrote.

"One of the big trends of 2007 was the idea that computing doesn't belong just in cyberspace, it needs to happen here, in the real world, where actual stuff happens," Grossman wrote. "This is just the beginning."

Other 2007 inventions honoured by the magazine included a device used by police that launches a GPS tracker onto fleeing vehicles and a football helmet that monitors impacts against its wearer's head.