Today eight years ago, the original iPhone went on sale in the United States after a 6-month period of unprecedented hype triggered by its January 9, 2007 introduction. Like most other Apple products were panned as duds but went on to become smash hits, the Apple smartphone was universally dismissed.
Then industry heavyweights such as Nokia, RIM and Palm—with a little help from shortsighted technology press—ridiculed the device for its poor (by non-smartphone standards) battery life, multitouch interface, software keyboard and many other features that were ahead of its time.
In retrospect, rivals’ knee-jerk reaction to the iPhone, coupled with their risk aversion and stubborn insistence on old ways of doing things, contributed to their incredibly fast undoing.
Doomsayers notwithstanding, the device went on to sell hundreds of millions of units worldwide (726 million units to date, to be precise), becoming the de facto gold standard for smartphones. And while the iPhone is now common sight in all corners of the globe, its beauty isn’t that it invented, but re-invented the hopelessly-out-of-touch (to quote T-Mobile CEO) industry.
It gave the sleepy, self-absorbed wireless carriers—and handset makers, their partners in crime—a much needed kick in their butt for not listening to consumers’ needs at all. Sure, there were smartphones before the iPhone but they looked like they were designed by committees (which they actually were) and one needed a user manual to master them.
There were phones with touchscreens before the iPhone but none implemented the sensation and immediacy of touch so elegantly and seamlessly as Apple’s device. There were also mobile app stores, of sorts, before the App Store. But none has offered the ease of use and instant gratification of tapping a colorful icon to have an app arrive wirelessly on your Home screen.
No smartphone other than the iPhone has managed to consistently earn highest customer satisfaction scores to this date. And as we’ve witnessed, in the process of doing so the iPhone has turned the largely written off, beleaguered computer maker from Cupertino into the most powerful corporation in the world, one that can easily sway whole multi-billion dollar industries with their decisions. Read More