The iPhone Revolution Turns Five

It was five years ago today that Steve Jobs made an announcement that revolutionized the cell phone industry:

Now we’ve got a world where the innovations that jobs introduced are commonplace on every smartphone, and where smartphones are more than just those things that businessmen carry around. We literally have the world at our fingertips and in our pockets, and it’s only been five years since that started. I still find it all kind of amazing.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Science & Technology,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Davebo says:

    I’ve enjoyed my Iphones for about 5 years now but Apple is forcing me to consider one of the Android alternatives with their constant need for app control.

    It’s a constant for Apple. A my way or the highway attitude that has limited then for decades now.

  2. Trumwill says:

    It was five years ago today that Steve Jobs made an announcement that revolutionized the cell phone industry

    Some day, I will forgive Steve Jobs for that.

  3. A voice from another precinct says:

    Yawn! Last month, my cellphone bill (base fee plus metered usage) was about $10. I used the phone to send 2 text messages (up until this year, I had sent only two text messages, total) and made one call, for a grand total of about 18 cents over the basic charge (incoming calls are free and I had, I think, three). Spending a hundred dollar (more or less depending on plan and usage) on iphone service has limited appeal. Alas, the “revolution” seems to have passed me by, but I’ll get over it.

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Davebo:

    Check out the new windows phone. I went from blackberry, to iphone, back to blackberry, then android–never satisfied. The windows phone is one of the greatest I’ve used.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    My kids.

    My wife.

    My iPhone.

  6. It was five years ago today that Steve Jobs made an announcement that revolutionized the cell phone industry:

    And like most Cultural Revolutions, the winners relied on the fact their partisans would completely rewrite history after the fact to excise any pesky facts that didn’t match the official line.

    In this case, pretending that the iPhone was actually a revolution, rather than an evolutionary repackaging of features copied from other existing phones.

  7. Trumwill says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    As loathe as I am to admit it, and despite the fact that Apple sometimes gets credit from some for things it didn’t pioneer (“Before Apple, you couldn’t get apps except through your carrier!”), I think “revolutionary” actually does fit. Apple didn’t invent the smartphone, but it changed the way that smartphones are designed.

    (Which is why I cling to my WinMo phone for dear life. Nobody’s making phones that allow me to do what this phone allows me to do. Thanks, Steve.)

  8. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    In this case, pretending that the iPhone was actually a revolution, rather than an evolutionary repackaging of features copied from other existing phones.

    Well, then, Stormy, we await with rapt attention your several examples of the kind of features that were simply “repackag[ed] features copied from other existing phones.”

  9. @Eric the OTB Lurker:

    Well, name some features you think were unique to the iPhone, as opposed to appearing in other smartphones in the 2006-2007 timeframe?

  10. @Trumwill:

    To put it as an analogy, I have no problem with describing Steve Jobs as the Bill Boeing of smartphones. The problem is people want to pretend he’s the Wright Brothers.

  11. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Well, name some features you think were unique to the iPhone, as opposed to appearing in other smartphones in the 2006-2007 timeframe?

    Stormy, you made the claim, and I asked you to support it. When you provide some examples, I will respond more thoroughly.

  12. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    To put it as an analogy, I have no problem with describing Steve Jobs as the Bill Boeing of smartphones. The problem is people want to pretend he’s the Wright Brothers.

    I think you’re arguing against a straw man. I don’t think anyone is making the claim that Jobs invented the phone, or even the smartphone. What he did do was take existing technology, build on it, and put it together in a way that had not been really done before. So I think it is entirely fair to say that Jobs and Apple “revolutionized” phones.

    I think it is a bit of a quibble to not give the man his due. On your analogy, one could say the Wright brothers are also over venerated, since they weren’t the very first ones to try to fly.

  13. @Eric the OTB Lurker:

    What he did do was take existing technology, build on it, and put it together in a way that had not been really done before.

    This is precisely my point. But that’s not revolutionary. That’s evolutionary. The iPhone was merely a slightly better version of what Motorola, HTC, RIM, etc. were producing at the same time, not a generational leap forward.

  14. @Eric the OTB Lurker:

    Stormy, you made the claim, and I asked you to support it. When you provide some examples, I will respond more thoroughly.

    I’m not going to waste hours of time researching every single feature of the original iPhone in hopes I get the one you’re thinking of. If there’s something you think was unique to the iPhone, name it.

  15. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    This is precisely my point. But that’s not revolutionary. That’s evolutionary. The iPhone was merely a slightly better version of what Motorola, HTC, RIM, etc. were producing at the same time, not a generational leap forward.

    I disagree. “Evolutionary” is, for example, like moving from LCD to LED screens; what Jobs and Apple did I think can fairly be characterized as indeed revolutionary and probably was a “generational” leap. One doesn’t need to invent out of whole cloth in order to be revolutionary.

    I think it’s pretty clear by what’s happened over the last 5 years that the iPhone was not a “merely better version” of existing phones. To think otherwise I think takes a pretty jaundiced view of events and tells us more about you than it does about the iPhone’s place in history.

    I’m not going to waste hours of time researching every single feature of the original iPhone in hopes I get the one you’re thinking of. If there’s something you think was unique to the iPhone, name it.

    Look, in argumentation and debate, the one making the claim has the burden of supporting it; it is not the duty of your opponents to disprove your mere assertion. You claimed that the iPhone was an “evolutionary repackaging of features copied from other existing phones” without providing any examples of what those–apparently obvious–existing features were. Surely you had a few in mind in making the claim in the first place? I’d simply like to know what those are, so that I may either agree or disagree about them.

  16. @Eric the OTB Lurker:

    Look, in argumentation and debate, the one making the claim has the burden of supporting it

    Yes, and the claim that must be supported is Doug’s original claim that the iPhone was revolutionary. Name a revolutionary feature of the iPhone.