Ten Years In With The iPhone

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You can’t throw a digital rock across the Interwebs today without hitting an article opining on the ten year anniversary of the release of the original iPhone. It’s a momentous occasion, to be sure, but there’s not a lot to say on the importance of the iPhone that hasn’t already been said many, many times over. I wrote a piece on Steve Jobs’ announcement of the iPhone earlier this year to mark that ten year anniversary, so rather than add another drop to today’s ocean of iPhone articles, I will just stick with a bit of what I’ve already written.

Rather than tell you why the release of original iPhone was so significant, and what about it was so revolutionary, I think it’s more important to ask YOU why. To get the ball rolling, I am going to post an excerpt from my earlier article dealing with how I came to be an iPhone user:

A Personal Note

In a personal sense, what stands out to me is my own hubris at the time of the announcement. I certainly wasn’t alone in this, but it makes me laugh at myself a bit in hindsight. I had heard the rumors. I knew about the impending announcement of a big new piece of Apple hardware. However, even though I had dipped my toe into their ecosystem for the first time with a couple of iPods, I wasn’t interested. Not even a little. I was a longtime Windows Mobile PDA and Smartphone user with all of the accompanying apps and accessories. I was on XDA Forums when the original XDA actually existed, and Android was still just a glimmer in Andy Rubin’s eye. I had modded firmware and hacked and skinned, and anything else possible. I was so disinterested in Apple’s inevitable phone, that I didn’t actually see or hear Steve Jobs’ presentation until a few years later. I read the early reports on the event, and then the pre-release reviews later on as the release approached, but my interest in a new platform with no ability to load applications was lukewarm, at best through the majority of 2007.

Obviously my attitude changed pretty drastically, and it came sooner than you might expect. The gadget hound in me couldn’t stay away the weekend of the iPhone launch. I was already a Cingular subscriber, and I had just gotten an insurance payout for an early smartphone that was stolen. I knew what I was going to buy, but I had to take a look at the new kid on the block first. I found the smooth scrolling and the Safari browser of the original to be more enticing than expected, but there was too little else for too high a cost at first to get me to bite. I went ahead and bought my Motorola Q9 Windows Mobile Blackberry knockoff. Blech.

It wasn’t a bad phone for work, but I got bored of it quickly. Windows Mobile had grown very stale, and the new of what was then called “iPhone OS” had growing allure. I used some Christmas money to buy a used First Gen iPod Touch to give the platform a try. The thought of a thinner, lighter iPod already appealed to me, and I had already played with iPhones that a couple of family members had bought, and was intrigued. They loved the new platform and its controls right from the start, even with all of the trade-offs and work-arounds coming from Windows Mobile, and that made an impression.

I held tight with it for a couple of months, but as much as Touch grew on me, it only served to be a gateway drug. Tethering to early smartphones was cubmersome at best, and WiFi wasn’t everywhere in 2008. I LOVED Safari, but HATED that I couldn’t use it everywhere. Being forced to use Opera Mobile on the go on my Q9, which was better than IE Mobile, still just pushed me toward the iPhone. I also started paying attention to Apple news sites. I knew about the rumors that 3rd Party apps and Exchange support would be coming with the next release, so I took the plunge in March of 2008. I got a refurbished 8GB Original iPhone, and I have owned every one that has come since.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I wasn’t remotely interested in the iPhone when it was announced, and only had lukewarm curiosity by the time it was released. However, it still roped me in eventually, and I’ve been locked in ever since.

How about you? What did you think of the original iPhone when it was announced, and then when it was released? Were you all in right off the bat, or were you a skeptic like me? Were you in one of those original lines on launch day, or did it take a while for you to come around? For those of you who owned an original iPhone, what did you think of it after using it for a while? What do you think of it now, in hindsight?

The release of the original iPhone WAS significant. It WAS revolutionary, not just in the world of technology, but also in the world at large. However, the real reason for that significance is you and I. Without the users who saw the iPhone as a radical departure from what had become a very mundane and unimaginative smartphone market, and saw past its initials flaws and shortcomings to what it could later become, the original iPhone may have been nothing more than a footnote.

But that’s not what happened. Many of us bought into a vision that a multitude of Apple employees poured a large portion of themselves into, and here we are ten years later, looking back at a history that would have seemed impossible at the time. That history is worth remembering, and for me, the personal stories of users resonate just as loudly as those of Steve Jobs and the throngs of managers and developers at the Apple that played a role in bringing the iPhone an iOS to life.

On that note, to look back at this ten year anniversary of the iPhone, why not tell me and the other readers here your iPhone story. You can share your thoughts here in the Commens below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.


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