With the release of the iPhone 8 right around the corner, it’s hard to imagine life before the iPhone existed. But, believe it or not, before 2007, no one had an iPhone because it hadn’t been released yet. It wasn’t until June 29, 2007, that Apple released its game-changing smartphone to the world.
You might think that the first iPhone paved the way for some ground-breaking smartphone technology. However, the truth is far from that. The first iPhone was actually created with technology that already existed – it was simply the packaging that caught a lot of attention.
Take a few moments and think back to 2007. Blackberries were all the rage, and everyone was carrying around their cellphones, MP3 players and digital cameras. That’s a lot of tech to be hauling in your purse or pockets.
Enter the first generation iPhone: A compact, internet-capable device that could take pictures and even served as a music player.
As you might imagine, sales went through the roof. But the iPhone wasn’t able to impress everybody. Some of the world’s most famous tech journalists, editors, bloggers and figures went on record noting their disappointment – even their disdain – for Apple’s newest product.
Looking back now, it’s funny to see how these notable figures got it wrong. And, even more, how some of them went on to experience their own significant tech failures. Here’s a quick look at what was said about the original iPhone, before it changed the world as we know it.
1. Padmasree Warrior
Remember Motorola? It used to be a household name. Now, you might see one of their products pop up every once in a while. But, back when the first iPhone was released, Motorola was one of the top players in the market. And the company’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior, publicly shamed the new product.
It’s also worth noting that Warrior left his position at Motorola after the company failed to find another hit that could top the highly-popular Razr.
2. Scott Gilbertson
Over at Wired.com, Scott Gilbertson was less than impressed with the iPhone’s features. Call clarity and reliability left him unsatisfied. However, AT&T (which had an exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone at the time) could have easily been to blame for that problem.
3. Brian Lam
All in all, Gizmodo’s Brian Lam seemed to enjoy his new iPhone and even recommended it. However, on several key points, he wasn’t afraid to throw some criticism at the smartphone’s capabilities.
4. John Gruber
During a time when consumers flocked to Blackberry for smart devices, Apple’s use of the touchscreen on the first iPhone took a bit of getting used to. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber was actually one of the few who voiced a positive opinion about it.
5. Jason Snell
MacWorld’s Jason Snell was also impressed by the digital keyboard feature on the new iPhone. In his 2007 review, you can almost hear the sense of surprise after discovering the keyboard not only worked but was actually fairly accurate.
6. Seth Porges
Although positive reviews of the touch screen keyboard can be found, not everyone was on board with it. Seth Porges, a columnist at TechCrunch claimed the keyboard was as effective as “tapping out emails and text messages as a rotary phone,” and that users would “spend an extra hour each day pumping out emails.”
To be fair, Porges ended this review with the disclaimer “Here’s hoping my dire predictions come to naught.” Or, in other words, “I hope I’m wrong.” Considering the wild success of the iPhone, it sure looks like he was.
7. Lev Grossman
While he may not have written a rave review for the iPhone, “Time’s” journalist, Lev Grossman, at least seemed to grasp Apple’s vision. “You’ll have one in a few years,” he claimed, “and it will be cheaper.”
Perhaps that last statement never found truth, since we’re still paying around $600 for our iPhones on average.
Bonus: Steve Ballmer
One of the most notable voices of criticism for the iPhone was Microsoft’s former CEO, Steve Ballmer. Maybe it was the looming threat of his company’s toughest competition. Or maybe it was just plain arrogance. Either way, when Ballmer made the following statement, he couldn’t have been more wrong.
Years later, Microsoft’s former CEO seemed to have realized his blunder. “I wish I’d thought about the model of subsidizing phones through the operators,” he explained. “You know people like to point to the quote where I said iPhones will never sell because the price at $600 or $700 was too high. And there was business model innovation by Apple to get it essentially built into the monthly [cellphone] bill.”
So, consumer’s first look didn’t go down entirely without hiccups. Since that time, however, Apple has consistently attracted buyers by launching updated software and adding new features. With the 10th anniversary of the iPhone landing in 2017, we can only speculate on what’s in store for the iPhone 8.
Until then, we’ve gone on record with several criticisms of the iPhone’s performance, as well as praise for its innovations. So, I guess the bottom line is, the iPhone isn’t necessarily for everybody. If you’re thinking about purchasing an iPhone 7 or holding out for the iPhone 8, click here for some articles that will help you make the most informed decision.
And, if you liked this roundup of past tech fails, you’re going to love this video with the worst tech predictions.
Note: If you’re reading this article in the Komando App, click here to see the images and video.