10 years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, perhaps the most revolutionary technological product in history. There have been many important products introduced before and since, but nothing else was as groundbreaking as the iPhone. Watching the introduction, it’s amazing to see just how many things were introduced that day that have become integral to daily life today.
On re-watching the introduction, there are many things that stand out, starting with Steve Jobs iconic patter. The man sells this thing, playing music, making calls, and really enjoying this new device. He’s happy and calm, smiling as he calls Jony Ive and Phil Shiller (and Starbucks!).
At the time, it was immediately obvious that this was an important product. But perhaps it wasn’t so obvious just how important it was: Apple’s iPhone didn’t just blow away the smartphone industry; it revolutionized computing and built Apple into the most valuable and important technology company of our time.
- The iconic iPhone form factor was radically new
- Steve had to demonstrate the absolute basics of touch computing: Scrolling, swiping, tapping, and pinching did not exist before this day
- The familiar sound effects (marimba ringtone, “send” bloop, etc), UI for audio and video, and home screen are totally novel
- Features like Visual Voicemail and call merge seemed important at the time but are barely used these days
- Steve highlights the fact that multi-touch is patented, but it wouldn’t take long for competitors to appear
Perhaps most amazing is that it all works flawlessly. Today we know that the developers were scrambling to keep the phone “alive” with the early software build in use, but it all works.
Look around today, 10 years later, and you’ll see just how important Apple’s iPhone was. Multi-touch, portability, connectivity, personalization. This is the product that showed the world what was possible when all these technologies came together for the first time. Apple really was 5 years ahead of the world on that January day.
Note: At one point, Steve Jobs checks the Apple stock price. If you had bought it that day, your money would have grown by 792% 10 years later.