5 years ago today, a new device was unleashed on the world. It was a revolutionary touchscreen iPod, a new cellular a device, and a new internet communications device all in one. It was the original iPhone. As Steve Jobs looped through the three things over and over the crowd began to laugh, coming to the realization that the 3 devices were in fact one single device. The then CEO of Apple, Jobs made a presentation that would go down in tech history books as the beginning of a revolution. The smartphone revolution. He announced the device that would spark an influx of competition from every company that had the means to do so. Apple’s mobile presence had become large with the iPod, but it was about to shoot even higher.
January 2007, in the Moscone West building of San Francisco, that’s where it went down. Jobs walked out on stage is his always calm, cool striding fashion, black turtleneck, jeans, and New Balance shoes all in tow. Journalists and tech enthusiasts all around the world were glued to their computers as they watched news sites cover what was unfolding there at MacWorld. After years of rumors, denials, speculation, and anticipation, Apple finally told the world that they were indeed there to revolutionize the mobile phone market. It’s now been 5 years since that phone was released to the wild and put into the hands of consumers that would from then on be back every succeeding year to get the next best revision of their beloved device.
The iPhone is a defensive product. It is mainly designed to protect the iPod, which is coming under attack from mobile manufacturers adding music players to their handsets. Yet defensive products don’t usually work — consumers are interested in new things, not reheated versions of old things. Likewise, who is it pitched at?
The price and the e-mail features make it look like a business product. But Apple is a consumer company. Will your accounts department stump up for a fancy new handset just so you can listen to Eminem on your way to a business meeting?
Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.
I wonder if he still feels the same…
One of my personal favorite reaction to the new iPhone announcement was from none other than Steve Ballmer. Here’s the video:
After everything was said and done, the iPhone was one of the best selling devices to ever hit the market. And it started a revolution of the mobile phone industry that has not been matched in scale in it’s own category, nor any other. The iPhone is still, and will be for quite some time, one of the most successful product lines to have ever existed.
Happy birthday, iPhone.