On June 29, 2007 people were lining up in droves outside Apple Stores to be among the first to own a wide-screen iPod, a revolutionary phone, and a breakthrough internet communicator. To own an iPhone.
It was a very different world back then. What few smartphones there were typically had small screens and hardware keyboards, locked the web in WAP and proxy, and a simple sticky notes app cost $30... if you could find it on one of the dozens of scattered online stores. The iPhone by comparison wasn't only a breath of fresh air, it was a breath of fresh experience.
Apple had worked for over two years on a capacitive touch technology that really felt like direct manipulation, on inertial scrolling and rubber banding, pinch-to-zoom and cover-flow that made interaction not only intuitive but delightful. They'd worked to bring the real web to mobile. There was no 3G or GPS, no MMS or copy paste, there wasn't even an App Store, but the difference was so great, the ramifications so obvious, most of us didn't care. Not six months earlier we'd seen Steve Jobs flow from music to a phone call to mail and the web and back, smoothly, charmingly, and we desperately wanted it for ourselves.
To say the iPhone changed everything isn't hyperbole. It's simple acknowledgement of one of the most profound technological and cultural developments of the decade. You have only to look at all the screens we interact with on a daily basis today to see how much of that is due to the hard, brilliant work of Apple and the Purple Experience Project. To the iPhone.
To everyone who worked on it, from concept to design to development, from shipping to sales to support — thank you. Five hundred million times thank you.
Happy 7th birthday, iPhone! Here's to exponentially more!
The iPhone didn't officially come to my neck of the woods until the second generation in 2008. That didn't stop me from buying an original iPhone anyway, despite the rigamarole required to get it and use it. I loved that black and aluminum beauty. It couldn't do everything my old Treo 680 or Treo Pro could do, but the way it did things was so profoundly better that I didn't care. It was evident, holding it in my hand, pushing the pixels around beneath the glass, that the iPhone was the future. I still have it and still treasure it to this day.
If the original iPhone was your first iPhone let me know — what did you switch from, what did you think of it at the time, and what do you think of it now in hindsight? If you came to the iPhone later, let me know — when, from what, and how do you feel about it now?