Five years ago today Apple released the first iPhone to a massive number of eager buyers. Since that fateful day back in 2007, the iPhone has gone on to revolutionize the mobile phone market and the world at large. It is impossible to go a single day without having the iPhone impact our modern lives … you see it in the phone’s design (which has been mimicked by other touchscreen smartphones), the number of apps available for download and the way we interact with one another. It’s pretty amazing to think that something still so young has managed to change our world so significantly.
It was five years ago today that the very first iPhone owners felt the addictive iGot-it rush of the hottest gadget on the planet at that time, Apple’s revolutionary device. More than just an iPod that makes calls, the iPhone’s debut and success shifted the already co-dependent relationship between people and their phones to more of a symbiotic synergy, encouraging and ushering in what has becoming a radical shift in digital lifestyle. Though, when it was announced in early 2007, not everyone was sold. The folks at Research in Motion, which was having much better days back then, didn’t believe what Apple was showing in the iPhone was even possible, according to reports. Others just didn’t believe it would resonate. Among them, David Platt wrote on his Suckbusters blog: “The forthcoming (June 29) release of the Apple iPhone is going to be a bigger marketing flop than Ishtar and Waterworld (dating myself again, aren’t I) combined.” Bloomberg News columnist Matthew Lynn made a pronouncement declaring the iPhone “nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.” “Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry,” he wrote in 2007. Well, the iPhone has more than made its mark, reaching beyond gadget freaks to resonate with the generational bookends from tiny tots to grandparents. Five years, five iterations and many millions of iPhone units later, the mere mention of speculative details for the next iPhone — however wildly improbable or ridiculous — still whips the Web into a frenzy, a reaction that hasn’t really found its equal among competitors. And from it has sprung an ecosystem that spawned its own micro-economy and continues to define the potential and success of every other competitor. “The iPhone ushered in a whole new era where people were carrying a device that was truly personal,” Calvin Carter, chief executive of Bottle Rocket Apps, told The Times in an interview. Carter launched March 7, 2008 — the day after Steve Jobs announced the advent of the App Store, that the iPhone would be opened to third-party apps — as a one-man band by driving down to the Office Depot to buy graph paper and start learning how to build apps. From one man to a team of 90, his company has grown to produce a stable of 65 apps for 42 clients, including NPR, ESPN, Starwood, Scholastic, AARP and Donna Karan International. As for downloads, they stopped counting a year and a half ago at 20 million. Indeed, the iPhone sparked a revolution that continues to evolve today. Happy birthday, iPhone.
LOL! I remember all the naysaying press back then but I had a hunch that they were all wrong … clearly, they were. Even if you don’t own/use an iPhone, you cannot deny that it hasn’t changed the world. The phone’s design and functionality has changed the way we interact with information — we, literally, have small computers connected to the Internet in our pockets. I’ve spent the past few days watching reruns of the MTV reality TV series Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County all week long. The first 2 seasons of the show were filmed back in 2004 and 2005 … the pre-iPhone generation. Back then, flip phones and T-Mobile Sidekick phones were THE coolest phones. Back then, folks still talked on their phones (after they flipped open their phones and pulled out their, now ancient, telescoping antennas). These days, people hardly talk on their phones anymore … instead, they send text messages, instant messages, photo messages, video messages, etc. much more readily/easily. I love my iPhone. I’ve loved it from day one (yes, I was one of the hordes of people clamoring for the iPhone this weekend back in 2007) and I find it very hard to imagine a different phone that will be able to surpass the iPhone. BUT, back in 2007, I loved my Motorola RAZR and I never thought there’d be a better phone to take its place … and you see how that turned out.
5 years in and the iPhone is still one of if not THE most popular/coveted phone in the world. Later this year, the iPhone 5 will be released to much fanfare, I’m sure. We’ll have to wait and see if the iPhone will continue to grow in importance (something tells me it will) but for now, I think it’s worth celebrating the first very successful 5 years of existence for the iPhone.