There is no way to overstate it. The iPhone was the inflection point where “personal computing” truly became personal. Apple had amazing product introductions before the iPhone, and it’s had a few good ones after. But the iPhone was the only product introduction I’ve ever experienced that felt impossible. Apple couldn’t have shrunk Mac OS X — a Unix-based workstation OS, including the Cocoa frameworks — to a point where it could run on a cell phone. Scrolling couldn’t be that smooth and fluid. A touchscreen — especially one in a phone — couldn’t be so responsive. Apple couldn’t possibly have gotten a major carrier to cede them control over every aspect of the device, both hardware and software. I can recall sitting in the hall at Moscone West, watching the keynote unfold, 90 percent excited as hell, 10 percent concerned that I was losing my goddamn mind. Literally mind-blowing.
Whenever I have casual conversations about macOS versus Windows, I always wonder how any technology enthusiast could have lived through Apple’s transition to Intel without switching to the Mac. The same could be said about the iPhone.
How could anyone live through the launch of the iPhone and not, at the very least, get excited about the device? It was such a tremendous leap forward compared to everything we had experienced prior that you couldn’t help but pay attention to it. And yet, a significant portion of the tech community just didn’t seem to understand how important this launch was. And some of them, still don’t seem to get it.