Today is the fifth birthday of an innovating product — a revolutionary combination of ideas that changed the way we think about phones and pioneered the smartphone industry. Apple’s iPhone, when first shown off by the late Steve Jobs in January of 2007, was thought by some to be a failed attempt, even before it had released in June of the same year. Matthew Lynn of Bloomberg wrote that it was “nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.” He thought that it was too “late to this party,” asserting that they wouldn’t be able to do anything.
First, Apple is late to this party. The company didn’t invent the personal computer or MP3 player, but it was among the pioneers of both products. Yet there is no shortage of phones out there. There are already big companies that dominate the space, all of whom will defend their turf. That means Apple will have to fight hard for every sale.
Lynn was not alone in his predicting that the iPhone would in no way become an industry standard. Research in Motion didn’t even believe that the technology was possible, considering it to be anything but a threat to its BlackBerry empire. They now know that they were so very wrong in thinking this, as the iPhone gradually overtook all their devices.
The iPhone changed it all in a daring move. Happy birthday to that device.