They say hindsight is 20/20, but that’s not always true. Over time, people forget things no matter how important or monumental they were when they first happened. In same cases, this forgetfulness leads to history repeating itself. But in the case of big technological breakthroughs, forgetting is often a good thing. Why? Because when something is a breakthrough in consumer technology, over time it becomes second nature. It becomes ubiquitous and as years pass, we forget how revolutionary these changes were because they fade into the background as just another part of our daily lives.
Since Monday was the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone’s unveiling, people across the internet have been reminiscing about the Macworld keynote that would change the smartphone industry forever. You can watch Steve Jobs’s entire keynote in our post from yesterday, but there was one moment in particular that we wanted to draw your attention to.
From Svbtle founder Dustin Curtis’s blog:
One of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life occurred on the morning of January 9th, 2007 as I was watching Steve Jobs introduce the original iPhone. The moment fundamentally changed the way I think about technology, and I still often think about it when putting new things into perspective. No, it wasn’t the moment Jobs introduced the phone itself. It wasn’t when he revealed what it looked like. It wasn’t even when he initially showed off the software. The moment of awe occurred when he placed his finger on the screen and flicked it upward.
Curtis most certainly isn’t alone here. These days it’s easy to take for granted how natural it is to interact with a touchscreen device. In fact, many people reading this have never experienced anything other than the touch experiences afforded by modern iOS, Android and Windows devices.
But the original iPhone is the sole reason that the interfaces on these devices is so smooth. There were plenty of touchscreens before Apple’s iPhone, but they typically features resistive touch technology and needed styluses to function well. What’s more, none of these devices offered smooth kinetic scrolling or an interface that sticks to your finger as you manipulate it.
Bottom line: Touchscreens were a disaster until Apple fixed them.
Apple’s iPhone and iPad still feature the best touch experience in the business, even to this day. In fact, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that Google and its vendor partners finally managed to smooth things out to the point where Android doesn’t (often) stutter while scrolling through large pages with a lot of text.
Steve Jobs’s Macworld 2007 keynote is embedded below, and the moment Curtis describes above takes place just after the 16-minute mark.