I never thought that this would be something I’d ever say, but the device that changed my life celebrates its fifth birthday today. Yes, the retroactively named original, or ‘2G’ Phone was first announced by an enthusiastic Steve Jobs during a keynote speech at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 9th 2007.
Looking back on the event, I don’t think anyone could predict the effect that the device would have on the industry, especially considering this was a first generation device from a company with no previous experience in that particular sector. During the speech, Steve Jobs defined the iPhone as a mix of a "Widescreen iPod with touch controls", a "revolutionary mobile phone" and a "breakthrough internet communicator" which he promised would reinvent the phone.
After three years in the making, from concept to launch, Apple released the device to queues containing hundreds of people on June 29th, which at the time was an unfamiliar site for a launch of a consumer gadget, but has since become a common occurrence around the world for Apple product launches.
The launch of the iPod range of devices in 2001 has been credited as being one of the main catalysts in Apples rise from the ashes to the top of food chain where they currently sit. However, the iPhone is now sitting on the fifth release and is widely considered to be the companies defining product, spawning opportunities to introduce additional products to market such as the iPod touch which followed shortly after the original iPhone and the iPad tablet device.
With approximately 6.1 million units of the original iPhone sold, just why was it so popular? Was it because it featured an elegant, beautiful design which integrated a purposely built OS to perfectly compliment the hardware? Was it because it featured a multi touch display with hardware sensors such as an accelerometer to capture user movements? Could it be because it represented a shift in the companies direction and represented a new era for Apple Inc?
Well, in all honesty for me it was an amalgamation of all of those things. But perhaps more importantly, using the iPhone proved to be an entirely unique experience from other devices the industry had seen. A combination of the touch gestures, responsiveness of the OS and the beautiful screen animations achieved something that no other device had achieved. When I purchased the first iPhone in 2007 I didn’t want to put it down, using it just felt ‘right’.
Happy birthday iPhone, here’s to the next five.