The fifth anniversary of the launch of the iPhone just passed. Things changed so fast, no matter what kind of smart phone you have, that it seems nearly impossible to remember just how fantastic and amazing that phone was.
Prior to the iPhone, there was the old Windows Mobile, which was clunky and plagued by horrible battery life. There was also Blackberry, which was functional and loved by people with a poor work-life balance, and had a hideous user interface. Probably the most striking thing about the iPhone was that its key feature was so obvious... a glass touch screen. Is there any more of a natural way to interact with something than to touch it?
When iPhone was announced, Steve Jobs was pretty serious about making the point that you didn't need to develop applications natively for it. The Web was your app, and awesome things could be built to run in the browser. The app store came a year later. The thing is, games aside, Jobs was right, because I would bet that 90% of the apps most people use frequently could just as easily be browser-based.
Later, Android came to market, and in terms of overall OS share, took over. Palm made a go of it and failed. Microsoft eventually released Windows Phone, and finally evolved the user experience to something I believe is hands down better. But no matter what you might use today, it started with the iPhone in 2007.
I didn't get it the day it came out, because waiting in line seemed insane to me, but I think it was a day or two later. The lone Apple Store in town had a reasonable amount of stock, and I was contract-free. I got the 4 gig model, and it just amazed me. I remember going on trips and vacations and being surprised that I could simply bust out my phone and see stuff on the Internet.
Two years later, I upgraded to the iPhone 3GS, which did real GPS and location stuff. I also had a fantastic hard case for it that, to this day, is the only phone case that I've ever had that I really liked.
A little less than a year and a half later, I was able to buy a Samsung Focus, one of the launch Windows Phones. It didn't take long to feel that, while lacking a few things, it was definitely a step forward in user experience for phones. I still use that phone every day, and I will keep it until some new Windows Phone 8 device comes out later this year.
I can only imagine that teenagers completely take these things for granted now. They don't know a time when no one had cell phones, let alone smart phones. Isn't it funny how we have such great amazing things and people complain about how shitty things are?