This day, ten years ago, Steve Jobs walked up to stage at Macworld 2007 and showed the world a new device. He called the iPhone a mix of three devices — “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device.” A decade on, it has been much more than that to the world.
The iPhone was certainly not the first smartphone, but Apple’s innovation was in how the user will interact with their device. While many were unconvinced by the utility of a touchscreen then, we now know it was the most natural way of working on a handheld smart device.
Soon after launch it earned the sobriquet of the Jesus Phone, for it was the gold standard for aspiring users as well as manufacturers. So every other flagship smartphone that came along was dubbed the iPhone killer. Many came and went. The iPhone still stands.
While looking at the huge impact this phone had on the telecom industry, we tend to forget the impact it has had on others. For instance, this phone was solely responsible for initiating the last rites of many industries right from the makers of portable music systems to compact cameras. In fact, the iPhone soon ended up killing Apple’s own successful iPod segment, as the phone could do much better than the digital music player.
Also, it was the iPhone that showed the world how successful services business can be propped up through smartphones. Apple is now makes a lot of its revenues from these services, selling music and movies to its users. Even Google has not really been able to crack this bit, despite Android being a much larger ecosystem across the world.
However, Apple’s success a decade ago was driven by its ability to give the world something it did not know it needed. Since then Apple, and other companies, have been trying their best to get this magic mix right, but unsuccessfully so.
Marking the anniversary, Apple top brass said in their notes this is just the beginning. Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “The iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.” We can only hope so.