On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs put sneaker to stage and introduced the world to a revolutionary phone, a breakthrough internet communicator, and a widescreen iPod with touch controls. It was iPhone, and oh wow but did we get it.
Ten years ago our smartphones had tiny, low-res screens with resistive touch that almost required a tiny plastic stylus, physical keyboards that never changed nor went away, even when you no longer needed them, and no ability to render the modern web. Everyone, Apple thought, hated their phones. And so they made a new one. They made iPhone.
Apple had worked for over two years on the Purple Experience Project: A capacitive touch interface that made direct manipulation a reality, and on inertial scrolling and rubber banding, pinch-to-zoom and other interactions that made it a delight. With Safari, they'd brought the real web to mobile, and they reduced their then top-selling iPod down to an app. (The phone too.)
In one demo, Steve Jobs showed iPhone flowing from music to a phone call to mail and the web and back, and in so doing, blew our minds and made us want it for our own.
To say the iPhone changed everything isn't hyperbole. It's an acknowledgement of one of the most profound technological and cultural developments of our generation. 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 iPhone team.
Here's what Tim Cook, then head of operations, now CEO, had to say on apple.com:
iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live. iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.
And here's what Phil Schiller, senior Vice President of worldwide marketing then and now, had to say:
It is amazing that from the very first iPhone through to today's newest iPhone 7 Plus, it has remained the gold standard by which all other smartphones are judged. For many of us, iPhone has become the most essential device in our lives and we love it. iPhone is how we make voice and FaceTime calls, how we shoot and share Live Photos and 4K videos, how we listen to streaming music, how we use social media, how we play games, how we get directions and find new places, how we pay for things, how we surf the web, do email, manage our contacts and calendars, how we listen to podcasts, watch TV, movies and sports, and how we manage our fitness and health. iPhone has become all of these things and more. And I believe we are just getting started.
To everyone who worked on iPhone, from concept to design to development, from shipping to sales to support — thank you and congratulations. A decade and over a billion devices later, you not only made the world better but invented and inspired a tool that's helped everyone using it make the world better as well.
Happy 10th anniversary! Here's to exponentially more!
I had a Treo 650 or 680 back then and ended up counting the days until iPhone was released. And then counting some more until I could actually get one. Today, I have an iPhone 7 Plus that does more for me now than my laptop did then, including helping me write and photograph almost every article I publish. What phone were you using back, what did you think when you first saw iPhone, and how are you using iPhone today?