Tech Columnist Ben Sin wrote an article on Iphone history.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the day Steve Jobs changed the world by unveiling the iPhone. I understand that we — by “we” I mean internet bloggers and new media in general — have really watered down the meaning of certain words and phrases in recent years with our slangy online writing, where everything is “epic” and every semi-decent achievement on social media is apparently “winning the internet.”
I WANT TO CLARIFY THAT WHEN I SAY THE JOBS
That’s why I want to clarify that when I say the Jobs and the iPhone “changed the world,” I mean it literally, without any blogger/millennial embellishment. The world, and all of us, would simply be behaving differently right now if the smartphone was never invented. Services like Uber and Instagram wouldn’t exist. Celebrities whose fame come from social media would be nobodies. Heck, I might not have a job.
It’s amusing and crazy to think back now, but when Jobs first introduced the iPhone on January 9, 2007, he didn’t even really play up the fact that the device can connect to the internet anywhere. He mentioned it, yes, but that feature took a backseat to the mobile phone part. The crowd was, too. Watch the original iPhone announcement below, and you’ll hear fans cheering the music and phone part of the iPhone, but remained mostly silent at the “internet communication device” part.
What’s even crazier and more amusing to look back now is that the iPhone had a lot of non-believers. Below is a list of some of the more famous ones.
NOW, THIS PIECE ISNT IN ANY WAY TO MEANT TO POKE FUN
Now, this piece isn’t in any way meant to poke fun at people who predicted failure for the iPhone. Nobody, not even Jobs, could have known the iPhone would be the single most important invention of the past decade. And as I mentioned recently when I tried using the original iPhone for a day (it still works!), I too held off buying the original iPhone and waited until the second version before jumping onboard.
1: Steve Ballmer
We now know him mostly as the crazy owner of the Los Angeles Clippers — who did the NBA a big favor by buying the team off controversial and inflammatory owner Donald Sterling — but when the iPhone was first announced, Ballmer was an CEO of Microsoft. This was what he thought.
“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”
2: Seth Porges and apparently several others at TechCrunch
The guys at TechCrunch predicted failure for the iPhone.
“That virtual keyboard will be about as useful for tapping out emails and text messages as a rotary phone. Don’t be surprised if a sizable contingent of iPhone buyers express some remorse at ditching their BlackBerry when they spend an extra hour each day pumping out emails on the road.”
3: Tech author David Platt
He wrote on his blog in 2007 that the iPhone will “crash in flames.”
I have three specific reasons why the iPhone’s design will cause it to crash in flames the way Apple’s late and unlamented Newton did, only much more loudly and publicly because of all the hype it’s gotten. First, the iPhone ignores the main reasons that the iPod succeeded: simplicity and ease of use. Second, the iPhone crams too many functions into a single box. Putting everything in the same package so you only have to carry one box sounds like a good idea, until you want to listen to music while surfing the web or reading your email or playing a game. Third, users will detest the touch screen interface due to its lack of tactile feedback. Using a thumb keyboard, as on the very popular Treo phone, allows the user to feel the keys and know subconsciously that he’s about to press this one and not the one next to it. A touch screen doesn’t allow that, so the user will have to be looking at the keyboard at all times while using it.
4: Tech journalist Bill Ray
Ray, writing for The Register at the time, said the Apple phone will not just fail, but “fail badly.”
“The Apple phone will be exclusive to one of the major networks in each territory and some customers will switch networks just to get it, but not as many as had been hoped. As customers start to realise that the competition offers better functionality at a lower price, by negotiating a better subsidy, sales will stagnate. After a year a new version will be launched, but it will lack the innovation of the first and quickly vanish.mThe only question remaining is if, when the iPod phone fails, it will take the iPod with it.”
5: Tech writer Mitchell Ashley
Writing for NetworkWorld, Ashley predicted the iPhone will fail because of overcrowded mobile phone market.
“The iPhone will fail to dominate as so many other Apple products have failed to in the past. The iPhone is certain to fade into history as another cool Apple innovation, that others soon rushed competitive, like-products to market, blowing away any significant lead Apple might have.”
6: Many Engadget readers
This archive thread of the comments on Engadget’s write-up of the iPhone announcement is fun to read back now. Comments include…
“Apparently none of you guys realize how bad of an idea a touch-screen is on a phone. I foresee some pretty obvious and pretty major problems here. I’ll be keeping my Samsung A707, thanks. It’s smaller, it’s got a protected screen, and it’s got proper buttons. And it’s got all the same features otherwise.”
“Touch screen buttons? BAD idea. This thing will never work.”