Only once in my life have I owned the undisputed best of anything. That was the original iPgone on June 29th, 2007; the first day it went on sale. Purchasing an 8 GB iPhone in 2007 bought me the best mobile phone money could buy1. Android would not be released for another year. Windows Mobile required a stylus. The BlackBerry was a oversized pager. The iPhone was in a league of its own. It started a brand new era in computing.
Owning an iPhone in 2007 was more of a point of interest than a practicality. Strangers would stop me on the street to ask questions about my phone. But once you got past the novelty of pinching and zooming there was little else you could do.
Only 15 apps were included on the phone. There was no App Store. I could send a text, make a call, read an email, or schedule an appointment, but there was no copy and paste. I found myself watching the stock market for the first time because I could do it on my phone. There was no iCloud. To sync my data, I had to plug my iPhone into my computer. Using an iPhone was exciting because of how you did things, not because of the things you could do.
If the iPhone had a killer app, it was Safari. It put the whole Web in my pocket at blazingly fast 2G EDGE speeds. There were no iPhone optimized versions of popular websites back then. You had to wait for things to load. But for the first time in human history, the world's largest library of information was always just a few taps away. Trivia night at the local pub suffered. People started to spend their free time staring into 3.5 inch screens. Conversations would never be the same again.
A lot has changed since the original iPhone first went on sale over ten years ago. Owning an iPhone is no longer a point of interest; everybody has one. Multitouch is no longer a novelty. The word App became common language. Phones have gotten smarter, faster, and their screens have gotten larger. People are talking to their iPhones and their Phones are talking back.
But even though the original iPhone is gone, it can never be forgotten. It started the mobile revolution, and popularized software as an app. The original iPhone gave us a map to new places, and lifted our limitations once we got there. It allowed us to share our experiences like never before. There is no longer a good excuse for being uninformed.
Sometimes I am sad I cannot go back to that time to 2007 when having unlimited information at my fingertips made me special When the joy of multitouch was new, and the web was unprepared. Maybe someday I will dig into my desk drawer to show my kids the iPhone that started it all. Remembering a time when 15 apps was all you wanted — well that and copy and paste.
- A 4 GB version was also available, and a 16 GB iPhone came out early in early 2008. ↩