The iPhone was the device that took handheld computing from something only nerds could stand to something useful for “normal” people. Looking back at what Apple announced (video) back in 2007, two things stand out: How primitive the first iPhone actually was, functionality-wise—no third-party apps, no multitasking, no copy-paste, etc.—and how revolutionary it was.
In the above-linked video, you can hear people gasp as Jobs demos scrolling and pinch-to-zoom. Which shows what an epic leap forward the product was. When your demo makes the audience audibly gasp in delight, you’re doing things very right indeed.
This New York Times article on the backstory behind the development of the first iPhone, apart from being interesting reading in itself, shows just how much Apple bet on that product and how flatfooted it caught the competition. (It’s an extract from the very good Dogfight, which you should read if you have any interest in the technology business.)
Now the platform has had enough time to mature that people whose lives are sad can fill the Internet with blather about how boring the accumulated improvements to the platform are. Boring, boring, boring. Yawn. Multi-tasking, a full-on Q-Branch fingerprint sensor, retina screen, massive performance increases. Yawn.
It must be very sad to be one of those people.
Apart from the progress of the iPhone itself, it’s mind-boggling just how many other devices and technologies in my life the iPhone has devoured. (And yes, if you swing Android, a modern Android phone can do pretty much the same things.)
The iPhone is now the camera I carry around, it’s my GPS, it’s my alarm clock, it’s my music player, it’s my exercise tracker, it’s my weight logger, it’s my Twitter window, and it’s my podcast player. All of that in my pocket.
But wait, there’s more! Thanks to the maturation of Bluetooth my iPhone also talks to my FitBit and the Automatic device in my car and plays podcasts over my car stereo. Seriously, listening to a podcast on the bus, then getting in the car and having the same podcast continue playing over the car stereo from inside my pocket is so future it’s almost ridiculous.
It’s going to be amazing to see what the next seven years will bring.
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Lots of fantasy and sci-fi in this installment plus a book about sports! Includes Boy on Ice, Difficult Men, Restaurant Man, The Red Line, Cunning Plans, Seveneves, Nemesis Games, Bitter Seeds, The Mechanical, Angles of Attack, and City of Stairs.
Turns out “it's just a big iPhone” is a stroke of genius.