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:
And here's what Phil Schiller, senior Vice President of worldwide marketing then and now, had to say:
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?
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.