Five years ago today at Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs unveiled a device that reshaped our definition of the personal computer. It reminded us of the stuff of science fiction from our childhood.
I remember the first time I actually saw an iPhone. It was a couple weeks after it was released, and I was sitting with my bride in the Denver airport, waiting for our connecting flight to Seattle for our honeymoon. While we were waiting to board our plane, a young woman sat next to me and started browsing on her iPhone. I was about to inquire, but instead admired as she had just received a phone call. That was the first time I saw one.
A few days later my wife and I found our way to an Apple Store in Seattle, where I finally was able to experience the future. I called my parents, who were a little confused when they answered as their caller ID said
Apple, Seattle, WA. If I had resided in an AT&T coverage area then I probably would have left the store with one.
One year later we moved to a new city, which did indeed have AT&T, and I bought an iPhone 3G on release day. My son was born four days later. I used the lap timer in the Clock app to time contractions. A couple days earlier, in preparation, I drafted a message to our friends and family announcing his birth, and left blanks for things like time of birth, length, weight, etc. Minutes after he took his first breath, I snapped a picture with my iPhone, sent it to the web, added the link to my email message, filled in the details, and hit send.
A lot of folks mock Apple for describing their devices as magical. Let me tell you, being able to announce my son’s birth to the most important people in my life without having to leave his and my wife’s side, all within moments of welcoming him into the world…it was magical. Truly magical.
Today I own an iPhone 4. It is used daily and it, like its predecessor, is the thing I reach for to record these endearing moments of my life. My son has an old iPod touch of ours, loaded up with games, educational apps, and Pixar movies. He has apps that have helped him learn how to write the alphabet. Not to mention that he is fascinated by the iPad. I often sit back and wonder when he goes to college, if the computer he takes will be more like a MacBook or an iPad. I have my money on the latter.
Even after the past half decade of the iPhone being a part of our culture, I sometimes catch my iPhone 4 out of the corner of my eye, and notice how great it really is. It is a piece of art. I am still fascinated with how photos and apps seem painted on the glass.
In the end, the iPhone is just a device. I could live without it. However, its presence in my household sure seems to bring a lot of joy and delight. The iPhone changed everything. I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring.