Happy 5th Birthday iPhone
Today was the day in 2007 when Apple announced the iPhone. In what is likely Steve Jobs most masterful public presentation, he announced a device that was like introducing a gun in a medieval age.
It was one of the few times that I've had an amazing "wow" and "surprise" moment. Apple actually did it. It was the only time that what was announced was better than the rumor run up. There wasn't any post-keynote blues because of crazy expectations and rumors. Everyone was thinking it was something more mundane as the rumors went crazy that December, including Cisco's "iPhone" stunt. What was announce was basically a total surprise to everyone.
They made a device that was going to be so fun and easy to use. I was similarly amazed the first time I used it too. It was like a 1000x better than my Treo 650 which was oh so clunky and frustrating. The benefits of the "realtime" animation/scrolling and multi-touch interface was immediately obvious, and simply amazing that Apple was able to pull it off. The lag was minimal. Stuttering was minimal. It was immediately obvious that a directly manipulated UI would be the UI to be used in the future. Today, this is the dominant UI technique in smartphones.
What surprised me most though was the keyboard. After 4 years of Treo 650 ownership, and 2 years of Blackberry 8800 usage, I finally found a cell phone keyboard I liked to use with the iOS virtual keyboard. It is better than the hardware-based thumb boards I've used: zero force to hit a key, and forgiving of mistakes. Today, a virtual QWERTY is the dominant input method for smartphones.
Lastly, the iPhone 2007 chassis design stands the test of time. I think it holds it's own against the 4/4S design, or any other design today. Aluminum back with it being flat so it can rest on a table evenly. All corners were softly rounded. The side bezels were awesomely minimal. Obviously, they had to settle with the plastic panel for radio transparency, but I think they could have eliminated this with more iterations of this design.