Happy Fifth, iPhone

On June 29, 2007 I picked up the iPhone as a birthday present to myself. Since then I’ve upgraded to the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4. But five years later I find myself having returned to the original iPhone. Everything at your fingertips worked for a while, but access to everything is distracting. I wanted simple and found the original iPhone to be exactly what I wanted: a good-enough phone with texting capability.

Phone and Messages. Nice and simple. The rest are on the second screen. This setup keeps me from being easily distracted.

Jim Dalrymple, The Loop:

[…] I thought I’d take a different approach and look at some of the iPhone naysayers so we could make fun of them together.

It might have been the magic of Steve Jobs, the simple and elegant industrial design, or the technical marvel of multitouch display technology. I’m sure it was all three, and I had to get it. After the keynote there was no doubt in my mind I had seen the next big thing. Millions of others did, too. But many really smart folks couldn’t for some reason.

January 2007 when Richard Sprague was senior marketing director at Microsoft:

I can’t believe the hype being given to iPhone.  Even some of my blindly-loyal pro-Microsoft friends and colleagues talk like it’s a real innovation and will “redefine the market” or “usher in a new age”.

What!?!?  Without even mentioning that the same functionality has been available on PocketPC, Palm, Nokia, and Blackberry for years, I just have to wonder who will want one of these things (other than the religious faithful).  People need this to be a phone, first and foremost. But with 5 hours of battery life?  No keypad?  (you try typing a phone number on that screen, no matter how wonderful it is — you will want a keypad).  And for all that whiz-bang Internet access, you absolutely need the phone to work, immediately, every single time.  Will it do that?

So please mark this post and come back in two years to see the results of my prediction:  I predict they will not sell anywhere near the 10M Jobs predicts for 2008.

The iPhone redefined the smartphone. In January 2007 every phone manufacturer on the planet stopped what they were doing, went back to the drawing board, and copied Apple (except for a few companies like RIM). Indeed, a new age was born.

Who will want one of these things? 217 million people all over the world. I wonder if Sprague uses one.

January 2007 Bloomberg columnist Matthew Lynn:

The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant. […] Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.

I had to look up the word bauble: A small, showy trinket or decoration. Something of no importance or worth.

Harsh.

In August 2011 Lynn founded Strategy Economics: “[…] a new type of economic consultancy. Market-savvy, insightful and ahead-of-the-curve, it aims to deliver penetrating, original analysis of the big issues in the global markets.”

Insightful?

How can such smart people get it so wrong? The answer: Getting it right has very little to do with how smart you are. Either your mind is open or it’s closed. With an open mind you’re giving yourself a chance to get it right. Not so with a closed mind.

Steve Jobs really did think different. He opened his mind to the possibility of something much better. And he worked himself and others tirelessly until the iPhone became a reality. The world is a better place for it.