There’s no question that the most innovative product of the last five years is the iPhone. It was the game changer. It led to the app store and the app developing industry, and eventually to the tablet computer, which then revolutionized the very concept of what is a computer. Other products came along that professed to have more bells and whistles, or a better user experience – though how do you define that. Critics complained that it lacked this or that thing that users needed. But ultimately, the fact remains that users would not have known they needed any of these things without the iPhone. When the iPhone was released in June of 2007, people lined up outside the stores and over a million phones were sold in the first 24 hours. A survey showed that six out of ten Americans said they knew the iPhone was coming before it was released. And yes, that first iPhone needed improvement, but nothing like it had been done before.
When Steve Jobs announced it on January 9, 2007, the opening bars of Coldplay’s “When I ruled the World,” thrummed in the background. A gaunt Jobs briefly reflected on Apple’s history of game changing computers and iPods. He then announced the launch of three devices. A widescreen iPod with touch controls, a phone, and an internet browsing device. He repeated it several times before letting on that these were not three separate products, but rather one single, integrated device. The audience cheered. “Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone,” he said. And it did. It was because of the iPhone that Apple launched the iPod Touch which had all the capabilities except the phone. It was also this phone which led to the iPad – which led to a multitude of similar devices. The iPhone changed the way we do just about everything today.