Today is Not the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone

Posted on January 9, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 36 Comments

Today is Not the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone

Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs delivered his greatest speech ever. And in announcing the iPhone, he and Apple forever changed personal technology.

Oddly, I’m seeing a number of stories claiming that today is the “10th anniversary of the iPhone.” That date is actually June 29, as Apple released the iPhone on this day in 2007.

OK, that’s semantics. And regardless of which date you choose to commemorate—I suspect many of those same sites will later remind us that June 29 is also the 10th anniversary of the iPhone—the impact of this announcement cannot be overstated.

Indeed, over the past year, I’ve repeatedly described the iPhone as the asteroid that destroyed the Windows dinosaur. Yes, that’s very dramatic, and purposefully so. And, yes, one could argue, pedantically, that the cataclysmic event that set up human beings as the dominant species on the planet happened quickly, while Windows, and the PCs it runs on, will be with us for a long time.

Fair enough. But the change ushered in by the iPhone cannot be denied. I saw it, you saw, virtually everyone saw it, though representatives from mobile companies like Motorola, Nokia, Palm, RIM (Blackberry), and others were either lying publicly to save face or just living in denial for the first year or two. But they all failed in responding to the iPhone threat, and now they’re either gone or worthless. (Microsoft failed too, of course, though as I’ve explained, Steve Ballmer was Right About the iPhone back in 2007.)

The first iPhone and the phone it replaced for me, the Moto Q.

To put the iPhone in perspective, consider Apple’s next big new product launch, in 2010, for the iPad. At that time, I accurately described the iPad as nothing more than a giant iPod touch, and I boldly (and perhaps childishly, though I have my reasons) declared that anyone who thought the iPad was The Next Big Thing was “a tool.”

Apple actually mocked me in one of their keynotes for this declaration. But, surprise: For once, I was right. And as I write this in early 2017, the iPad has suffered from 2.5 years of straight sales declines, with ongoing revisions like iPad mini and iPad Pro doing nothing to reverse this downfall. Today, the iPad is a solid business, sure, and the dominant if fading tablet. But tablets never did surpass PCs, and in the most recent quarter, iPad was a smaller business than the Mac by revenues, and represented just one-sixth the revenues, and one-fifth the unit sales, of iPhone. In other words, it is not The Next Big Thing. Sorry, Tim. And hey, thanks for calling me out for being right.

More recent iPhones I've owned

I didn’t have that reaction to the iPhone. In fact, I wrote so much about the iPhone, and, ultimately, about its inability to integrate with Microsoft’s Exchange/EAS infrastructure for businesses, that year that people started asking me if I was going to rename my site—the SuperSite for Windows, at the time—to the SuperSite for iPhone. Point being, I may not have been wowed by iPad—or subsequent products like Apple Watch, or the recent MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops—but I was absolutely wowed by iPhone.

And rightfully so. Despite the many limitations of that first device, the iPhone in 2007 represented a peek at a future we are all now living in, even if we use competing devices like those based on Android. (Which, sorry Apple, most of us are.)

And that presentation was masterful. I’ve watched it again and again, and of course the description of the event and its build-up in the official Steve Jobs biography is simply amazing too.

So, here’s to Apple for showing us the way. It wouldn’t be ready for six more months, but the revolution started ten years ago today when Steve Jobs bounded up on the Moscone Center stage at Macworld 2007 in San Francisco. It’s an event that historians will be studying for years to come. And it deserves to be remembered.

 

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Comments (36)

36 responses to “Today is Not the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone”

  1. 5234

    "ten years ago today when Steve Jobs bounded up on the Moscone Center stage at Macworld 2007"

    I'd like to remember that 20 years ago at Macworld 1997, Steve Jobs reported that Apple was in the hole, and Microsoft bailed them out.

  2. 217

    The iPhone certainly established the mobile platform for sure, and Apple's early adjustments to add Exchange functionality as well as use carrier subsidized pricing - is (what I think) helped it dominate. And if anyone has the time I think it's well worth reading (forgot book title, will try to look it up) about the Apple engineers and their stories of the first iPhone keynote. (see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/magazine/and-then-steve-said-let-there-be-an-iphone.html)

    The iPad is still just a giant iPod Touch, and I think the tablet sales decline continues to back you up Paul.

    Great article, and welcome back :)  

    • 5234

      In reply to dcdevito:

      I'd say the only real thing the iPhone introduced that was good at the time was a desktop-class browser, and to a lesser-extent, multi-touch.  All the other good stuff about the iPhone didn't come out until later, and in subsequent models, like real 3G support, and a real app ecosystem, which was actually better on the Moto Q at the time of launch.

      • 490

        In reply to Waethorn:

        You take that back right now.

        Nothing good should ever be said about the Moto Q.

        • 5234

          In reply to Lopan:

          I had a Moto Q.  I could download apps from a Windows Mobile app store, as well as games from third-party websites.  I was playing Doom on my Moto Q before the iPhone was even out.

          • 490

            In reply to Waethorn:

            I don't know about anyone else's experience with a Moto Q, but I had three of them. I couldn't get any of them to last more than half a day on battery. I was a die hard Windows Mobile guy but that phone drove me crazy.

            I still stuck with Windows Mobile at the time though, I just purchased a HTC Touch Diamond. At the time Windows Mobile could tether to your computer with a cable and/or Bluetooth which IPhone couldn't and it was highly hackable with custom ROM and such which is why I didn't jump on the IPhone bandwagon... that and the crazy cost of the first IPhone.

  3. 5234

    Someone tell me this: how do you get to "shortcut buttons" on newer versions of iOS to control things like the flashlight feature or change wireless options?  They updated that a while back and I still haven't figured out why they took a bunch of easy-to-find functionality that used to be in the notification area, much like Android, and either got rid of it, or hid it away.

  4. 7099

    I don't agree with the iPad comments in the article, the iPad is still finding its natural replacement cycle, the iPad 2 is still widely used so a vast majority of the iPad sales i think are new customers, if i look just around me what kind of a bite the iPad has taken from Microsoft its massive. At work 450 Windows 7 netbooks have been replaced with 450 iPad Mini's. My grandmother has not booted her Windows 7 laptop in years yet uses her iPad everyday for hours and hours. Both my parents have iPads and rarely use their Windows 7 laptop now, my 4 aunts and 5 uncles all have iPads as their primary devices, but again just a few years ago it was a Windows 7 laptop they were using instead. I'm also starting to see iPad tills in use where they would have previously been Windows IBM till PCs. 

    So in 6/7 years since the iPad came to market its practically wiped Windows usage completely from my family and taken a huge chuck out what were previously Windows based devices at work. The iPad is also very actively used by friends and other people i know. Again all this in 6 years! If i think about it as weird as it sounds the iPad is also my main gaming device now, i spend more gaming on my iPad than i do my Playstation, yeah i might not play Call of duty, but i have spent a long time playing Rollercoaster Tycoon this weekend, something i may have traditionally dusted out a Windows machine to play. 

    Yeah this might be anecdotal, but the iPad is not dying at the rate Windows is, that is now half the usage share it was 7 years ago. Sites like netmarketshare record usage wrong IMO, they separate mobile from desktop, that is wrong because things you may have done 10 years ago that people booted up the PC to do people now do on their mobile or tablet instead. If you use stat counter where you can combine mobile and desktop usage it paints a very scary picture for Windows http://gs.statcounter.com/#desktop+mobile+tablet-os-ww-monthly-201001-201612  you can see on that graph just how much iOS and Android have eaten usage away from Windows. How much lower is Windows usage going to go?

  5. 8834

    I'd argue that the original iBook introduction from 1999 may be even better than the original iPhone introduction.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iTNWZF2m3o

  6. 4964

    Thought Fred Vogelstein's "Dogfight - How Apple & Google went to war and started a revolution" book captured the true impact of this speech.

    I wonder if we are really yet to see who wins mobile.

  7. 5592

    Thank you. I've been fighting this one all morning.

    I ended up posting this on Facebook so I could point to it and stop having to retype it again and again...

    There is a lot of "The iPhone Is Ten Years Old" stories out today.

    In reality, the iPhone shipped in JUNE of 2007.

    What today is the 10th Anniversary of is the Announcement Show for the iPhone.

    And that the celebration is being done now is both pathetic and telling.

    What Apple is saying by moving the date up (kind of like celebrating the anniversary of your engagement notice rather than your actual wedding) is:

    Pay no attention to the MacBook Pro that actual Pros all hate
    Pay no attention to the lack of desktop Macintosh updates
    Pay no attention to the iPhone's lack of a headphone jack
    Pay no attention to us missing our dates on the AirPods
    Pay no attention to our plummeting iPad sales
    Pay no attention to our attempt to paste on a keyboard and pen to iPad
    Pay no attention to our totally missing the 2in1 market
    Pay no attention to our Creator users lusting after Surface Studio
    Pay no attention to our Watch not getting acceptance
    Pay no attention to our TV tuner not getting acceptance
    Pay no attention to ANY of our new products

    Here. We have some 10 year old footage of Steve Jobs. Pay attention to that instead and pretend we're still that company and he's still running it.

  8. 5510

    Sometimes I don't understand Paul's mind when it comes to technology, because it always seems that his heart for Microsoft dominates his thinking, not often, but always. This post, I feel, is just added evidence.

    For one thing, it's hard for me to believe that Paul wasn't wow'd by the Apple Watch, especially since it's capabilities just overwhelmed the limited features and functionality which is now the defunct Microsoft Band.

    Secondly,I know Paul has been poo-pooing the iPhone 7 as an uninteresting and unexciting phone in 2016. He just hasn't been doing this recently, but for some time now. However, I am very very surprised he hasn't even brought up the interesting theory that Apple was doing this on purpose, in order to make iPhone 8 "the 10 year anniversary edition" very special. So many other tech analysts have expressed this theory. Pretty much all, except for Paul.

    I've been following Paul, since episode One of Windows Weekly, and because of him I was this really big Microsoft fan, until I just turned into a general tech fan of many companies. I remember when the iPhone came out, Paul complained about it too. Paul mimicked Ballmer, when Ballmer mocked the iPhone's lack of tactile feedback in the keyboard. I remember Paul saying and writing about that too on the Supersite. NOT JUST that, I remember Paul complaining about possible smudge on the iPhone screen.

    Lastly about the iPad, why is Paul declaring that the iPad or tablets have never surpassed PCs? Was this ever a race? I don't think so. Technology evolves. PC sales are also declining; tablet sales are also declining; but smartphones are not. LOL...what does that tell you? I think this tells you that the state of tablets and PCs have been good for sometime that the need to upgrade is not necessary.

    As for Tim Cook, can someone point out to me where he literally called Paul's name and said that he was right? That's because Paul said that he did that, didn't he? Paul was so clearly wrong, when he said that the iPad was not a game changer, when in fact it was. Let's not forget the success of the iPad led to the creation of the Surface/Surface Pro....version 1. How did the first generation of Surfaces do? Paul can spin this any which way he wants, but his words are on public record and pretty much self explanatory in the most simplest of context.

    Unless Paul comes out of his Microsoft bubble and argues his statement about his view on the iPad years ago (lol), .... and I am not talking about with Leo Laporte..... his desire to "revise" history will never happen.

    • 1221

      In reply to Bats:

      "... it's capabilities just overwhelmed the limited features and functionality which is now the defunct Microsoft Band"  You're kidding right?  You're comparing a smart watch to a fitness band.  Not only that, there are many things that the original Apple Watch did that Microsoft's fitness band could do too.

      "why is Paul declaring that the iPad or tablets have never surpassed PCs? Was this ever a race?" Yes.  Every other publication was making it so.

      Paul has said some contradictory things in the past, but he has explained that he was wrong about the iPad on What The Tech a long while ago.  As for him being in a Microsoft bubble... you for real?  The guy uses Google, not Bing.  He has an Android phone, not a Windows phone.  And he still uses an iPhone from time to time. 

      And as soon as Commodore makes Amiga a big deal again, he'll jump towards Amiga and away from Windows ;)

       

    • 7063

      In reply to Bats:  Lastly about the iPad, why is Paul declaring that the iPad or tablets have never surpassed PCs?

      I think Paul was mainly saying that in order for the iPad to specifically be the "next big thing" like some people declared, it had to at least come close to matching the iPhone and the PC.

  9. 5767

    Honestly, we're gonna get a million articles this year about the 10-year iPhone anniversary and how 'revolutionary' it all was. Is this the first of 100 articles on the subject from Paul this year? I didn't sign up for an Apple-worshiping site.

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