Today is the anniversary of a launch that would change the world
Today, exactly 15 years ago, Apple launched the original iPhone in the United States. An iPhone that arrived in stores after being presented a few months earlier, in January, and with opinions that considered it would be a success or the opposite. An iPhone that now, 15 years later, we can say has changed the world forever.
When Apple introduced the original iPhone, in addition to presenting an excellent phone, it presented a concept, an archetype. A company that until now had been making computers and music players came along and said: this is what all the phones in the world should be like.
Faced with such a declaration of intent, many laughed at them. We can think of BlackBerry, stating that no one who used the phone for work would give up a physical keyboard. We can think of Nokia, which today is not even a shadow of its former self.
Apple was right. That original iPhone set the tone for how smartphones were to be and changed the world of technology forever. Was it right? Yes, we only have to look at what all current smartphones look like, in a nutshell we can say a big screen, some side buttons and a rear and front camera: an iPhone.
In fact, the only manufacturers who managed to position themselves in the phone market were those who quickly copied the iPhone. It hurts to say it, of course, because Apple spent a lot of resources and time to make the original iPhone the smartphone that changed the world, but it is clear that this was the case.
That first iPhone could have shortcomings. It might not have a front-facing camera, it might lack something as basic as copy, paste and cut, but it got it right on two points that have always been Apple’s forte: concept and execution.
What Apple delivered worked very well. The system was full of innovations, starting with the very concept of the Mac-born and Mac-inspired user interface, and the user experience was superb, just what we all didn’t know we wanted until we saw it.
We can talk about the technology that made it possible, the software development, but probably the success of the iPhone is in the people who were part of the team. Led by Steve Jobs, those people sat down to think and talk – maybe even dream – about what a cell phone should be, and then they made it happen. And they were right.