2iPhone as Three-in-One Device
Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld 2007 and announced that Apple would be introducing three products: a wide-screen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and an Internet communications device. He repeated the list several times, driving home a point, before laughing and telling the audience, “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device.”
The iPhone dismissed two popular trends of the time, a dedicated keyboard and a stylus, in favor of a 3.5-inch sheet of glass and a single button. “We’re going to get rid of all these buttons,” Jobs said, showing a picture of a Palm Treo. All the popular smartphones of the day—the BlackBerry Pearl, the Nokia E62, the Moto Q, the Samsung BlackJack—had keyboards that dominated 30 to 60 percent of their front real estate.
4Who Wants a Stylus?
“Now, how are we going to communicate, because we don’t want to carry around a mouse, right?” asked Jobs, going about the business of introducing the world to a touchable touch screen. “Who wants a stylus? You have to get ’em, and put ’em away and you lose ’em—yuk! … We’re going to use our fingers.”
5Back to the Drawing Board
The day Jobs introduced the first iPhone, Google executives and engineers, some of whom had been working “sixty- to eighty-hour weeks for fifteen months,” Fred Vogelstein wrote in his book Dogfight, scrapped the phone, dubbed “Sooner,” that they’d been working on. While in many ways it was superior to the iPhone, the iPhone made it clear that the keyboard-equipped Sooner was also “ugly.” A year later, Google introduced the T-Mobile G1, which managed to keep the keyboard while incorporating a large touch screen.
6‘Twice as Fast at Half the Price’
In June 2008, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G. While the iPhone was $599 with a contract, the iPhone 3G was $199 with a two-year contract, which was a new pricing model for AT&T. “Negotiating with third parties was one of [Jobs’] great, great strengths,” TBR analyst Ezra Gottheil told eWEEK. “It’s basically how he made the iPod win, and it’s how he made the iPhone win.”
7The App Store
8A Complete Experience
Apple’s devices were beautiful, its stores were beautiful and—unlike the traditional retail experience—no attention to detail was spared anywhere. Even the packaging “was something of an innovative step,” said TBR analyst Jack Narcotta. “Opening the box, as corny as it sounds, was like being a kid on Christmas morning.”
Writing in MarketWatch in September 2008, tech veteran John C. Dvorak took wide-eyed notice of Apple ads that showed people how to download an app from the app store. “No ad for a mobile phone has ever veered in this direction,” he wrote, wondering whether most people realized the “tectonic and fundamental shift taking place.”
10Building on a Vision
Early smartphones came with a manual that users read and often referred to. What Apple accomplished with the iPhone—the simplification of the user experience—it started with the Macintosh and furthered with the iPod. Jobs’ position, his “passion,” says TBR’s Gottheil, “was that technology should be the servant, not the master.”