We typically celebrate the iPhone’s birthday in the summer, on June 29, marking the anniversary of when the smartphone first launched in the US. Today, though, is the 10th anniversary of the very day when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone. I can remember it like yesterday, I was sitting on my couch in college when I’d heard the news. It was a big deal, since the most popular smartphones at the time were devices like the BlackBerry Curve and the Samsung Blackjack.
Steve Jobs used the now defunct Macworld show to introduce Apple’s first phone to the world. Critics were pretty skeptical of whether or not Apple could pull off the device. After all, it was going up against very established players like BlackBerry and Palm. Plus, there was a debate over whether consumers — very happy with products such as the Motorola RAZR at the time — really needed smartphones. After all, we had our iPods and Zunes (oh my!) to carry our music and videos.
Apple changed the way we thought about smartphones, however. It taught us that we could do real web browsing on a small screen (however slow it was on the EDGE connection the first iPhone supported.) While it didn’t have an app store yet, Apple showed us that a multitouch display was absolutely essential for a consumer smartphone. It proved that smartphones didn’t just belong in the enterprise, but could be very valuable for everyone to hold in their pockets, too. Within a few years, it launched the App Store and continued to outpace the market.
Destruction left in its wake
Companies like BlackBerry and Palm were eventually left in the iPhone’s wake. The former no longer builds its own smartphones, the latter has moved on to greener pastures. Microsoft, a dominant player in the space at the time, has also largely backed out of the market — even after an attempt to buy Nokia in an effort to reignite its positioning. Apple’s iPhone truly changed everything. It also makes me wonder where we’ll be 10 years from now.
Will Apple still be on top, or will a new player change the tune?