If there’s one thing that the second decade of the 21st century will be remembered for in history, it has to be our puzzling obsession with those glowing handheld metal bricks that have come to be known as smartphones and the level of technological sophistication human engineers have achieved in these little devices.
But as we walk into the final weeks of the 2010s and look back on this busy time of consumer tech innovations, the single most defining and memorable smartphone of all, according to those having seen the full history of it, is actually a device invented at the beginning of the decade—it’s not hard to understand why if you’ve ever owned one—the Apple iPhone 4.
The now retro iPhone, introduced in 2010, was ranked No.1 on the list of 100 tech gadgets that defined the 2010s by Verge, topping every other smartphone made during the past decade as well as other notable tech inventions including Apple’s MacBook Air (2013), iPad Air (2013), Tesla Model S (2012) and Juul e-cigarettes (2015).
“We spent hours arguing about every product on this list and where they ranked, but the top spot was never really in dispute: the iPhone 4 is the most beautiful smartphone ever made,” Verge editors wrote. “It arrived in a swirl of controversies that shaped the entire tech and media landscape, and it remains the basic template for phones to this day.”
The iPhone 4, one of the last models designed by Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs, was far from perfect compared with more recent smartphones. But it was ahead of its time for a number of groundbreaking features, including the first Retina display, Apple’s first in-house designed smartphone processor, the first front camera on an iPhone and a five-megapixel back camera that took years for competitors to catch up to.
In addition, the iPhone 4 was also remembered for the media storm it caused after tech news outlet Gizmodo leaked details of the phone ahead of its official launch date—thanks to a lost prototype the publication bought from a bar patron.
“The iPhone 4 was the first phone to be built as an ultra-precise glass-and-metal sandwich, a design legacy still visible in every flagship phone today,” Verge concluded. “…And there has never been a phone that changed both technology and culture around it like the iPhone 4. Someone ought to make another one.”
Here are top 10 gadgets of the 2010s from Verge’s ranking:
1. Apple iPhone 4 (2010)
2. Amazon Echo (2014)
3. Apple MacBook Air (2013)
4. Samsung Galaxy S6 (2015)
5. Tesla Model S (2012)
6. Apple AirPods (2016)
7. Apple Watch Series 3 (2017)
8. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (2014)
9. Sony PlayStation 4 (2013)
10. Google Pixel 2 (2017)