Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Eight Years Ago, Apple Introduced an “Innovative Cellphone”

Remember how shortsighted those articles seem from when the World Wide Web was invented? Those kinds of articles are always funny in hindsight. John Markoff’s reporting for the Times is chock full of great quotes, like this:

[Jobs] said Apple had set the goal of taking 1 percent of the world market for cellphones by the end of 2008. That may seem small, but with a billion handsets sold last year worldwide, that would mean 10 million iPhones — a healthy supplement to the 39 million iPods that Apple sold last year.

And this:

“At $499 and $599, it’s a pretty expensive deal,” said Rob Glaser, chief executive of Real Networks, whose online music store is a rival of Apple’s iTunes Store. “Steve is more focused on not cannibalizing iPod sales than on driving volume of phones. Those are not high-volume prices.”

It’s pretty easy to gloat about articles like these with the benefit of hindsight, but it was also pretty easy to know at the time that the iPhone was the future of cellphones. Everyone I know watched the presentation at the time realizing that they were watching the unveiling of the perfect convergence device that every other company on the planet would strive to copy. It was truly one of those rare keynotes where everyone was completely surprised.