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Apple iPhone turns 10: Here's what reviewers had to say about the original iPhone as they typed on glass

The touchscreen functionality made the original iPhone a hit a decade ago.

Apple iPhone-original

Apple launched the iPhone ten years ago. The product was showcased by none other than Steve Jobs himself. The original Apple iPhone was released in 2007 when Steve Jobs announced, “An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone.”

The original iPhone was considered a revolutionary product, but it lacked a lot of (now) basic features such as cut, paste, video recording or even a front camera. This week, the original Apple iPhone turns 10 and as the technology giant prepares to launch the next iteration of the iconic product, four reviewers of the first iPhone went down the memory lane to recall their experience.

Walt Mossberg, one of the initial reviewers of the original iPhone said, “After three days, I was ready to throw this thing out of the window for trying to type on glass.” Soon, after the announcement, four tech reporters including Steven Levy, editor in chief of Backchannel, who worked at Newsweek at the time; Ed Baig, of USA Today; Walt Mossberg, the executive editor of The Verge, who was then at the Wall Street Journal; and Pogue, then of The New York Times, were handed the product. These reviewers had just two days before the review came out and the phone actually went on sale.

Given the eccentricity Jobs was infamous for, it wasn’t an easy task for reviewers to publish something that would go about defining the kind of success the iPhone as a brand enjoys till date. As noted by CBS News, Baig recalls, “We had two days between the time our review came out and the thing went on sale,” adding, “I have never been more popular in my life. I wish I had this thing in high school, you know?” The iPhone, irrespective of which year post the first release has indeed been a product of class and first impression had to be a perfect one.

Levi recalls how Jobs called all the four reviewers to check on how the review was coming out. Mossberg added, “Oh yeah, he called me multiple times a day. ‘How’s it going?’ ‘You know Steve, it’s not the way I do reviews. We’ll talk. But don’t worry about it.'” ALSO READ: iPhone at 10: A great run for Apple but challenges ahead

Today, the iPhone lineup boasts 3D Touch feature, dual camera module, and certainly much more than just sending and receiving picture messages. But, back then, the USP of the iPhone was its all-touch display. While Mossberg wanted to throw the device out of the window, Levy admits how the things have stayed pretty much the same, with people struggling to type correctly on the phone without a physical keyboard. “It’s ten years later,” said Levy, “and half the emails I get still have a little message underneath saying, ‘Typed on phone, forgive typos’!”

Building the first iPhone was a long-term project. In his keynote, Jobs mentioned, “This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years,” and Bas Ording, a software designer who worked at Apple in 2005 agrees to that. Today, touch-enabled smartphones and other devices are a standard, but a decade ago, it was a challenge to build something that works completely with touch-based input, and definitely not stylus – something which Jobs hated. “We had to think about, how can you type on it? Or how can you manipulate images on it?” Ording said. The concept of touchscreen existed before it was applied to a phone. “At some point, I think, probably Steve thought, like, ‘Oh, this would be great to put on a phone,” adding, “So that’s why we went in that direction.” RELATED: Apple Park Campus gets finishing touches; to boast a 100,000 square-feet gym, 9,000 trees and unique air-conditioning system

Apple Inc is worth billions of dollars today and part of the success is derived from the original iPhone. With the original iPhone, Apple not only brought a revolutionary product to the market but paved way for something like apps such as Instagram and Uber to become multi-million brands. But none of the people working on the revolutionary product estimated how big it would turn out to be. It has been six years since the death of Jobs. “We don’t have Steve Jobs around to ask — we would all be getting interviews with him right now because of the tenth anniversary — but I don’t think that he foresaw the hugeness of it,” Mossberg said. “I don’t think anybody did.”

A decade after the launch, a lot of people think Apple is running out of innovation. “Is Apple’s sun setting now? Are they done with innovation?” asked Pogue. “Well, I do think they’re a victim of their own success,” Baig says defending the company. He says that it is not every day a company can bring something as revolutionary as the iPhone. “It is not an easy thing to do.” 

As 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone, Apple is already working towards bringing newer technologies to its iconic smartphones. Current CEO Tim Cook is working on bringing augmented reality to the palms of the users and allowing for an immersive experience without the need for distracting hardware. The company is scheduled to launch the successor to its iPhone 7 lineup, iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, along with the iPhone 8 – another revolutionary product which is expected to boast new design, wireless charging, and a display embedded fingerprint sensor.  RELATED: Apple iPhone 8 rumor roundup

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  • Published Date: June 26, 2017 1:04 PM IST

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