When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone in 2007, he boldly exclaimed that it was a leapfrog product that was five years ahead of anything else on the market. And though Jobs was sometimes prone to hyperbole, his remarks about the iPhone were spot-on.
Looking back, it's fair to say that Android didn't come close to reaching parity with the iPhone until about 2011 or 2012. Suffice it to say, the iPhone was a revolutionary device that completely changed the way the world interacts with technology.
Not only did it quite literally put the internet in the pockets of millions of consumers, but it also ushered in the era of mobile apps—yet again changing the way consumers interact with technology. Today, I can use my iPhone to play games, listen to music, write reports, email with friends, pay for items at any number of stores, order food, track my exercise and much, much more.
Even more than a revolutionary device, the iPhone is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime device, a product whose immediate impact will perhaps never again be matched for decades to come.
In light of the iPhone's tremendous impact on society and technology, TIME Magazine recently bestowed upon Apple's iconic smartphone the title of the most influential gadget of all time. And while lists that set out to rank the importance of various technological developments typically spark vigorous debates, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who disagrees with putting the iPhone in the top spot.
TIME's entry reads in part:
Apple was the first company to put a truly powerful computer in the pockets of millions when it launched the iPhone in 2007. Smartphones had technically existed for years, but none came together as accessibly and beautifully as the iPhone. Apple’s device ushered in a new era of flat, touchscreen phones with buttons that appeared on screen as you needed them, replacing the chunkier phones with slide-out keyboards and static buttons. What really made the iPhone so remarkable, however, was its software and mobile app store, introduced later. The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work and complete many everyday tasks.
Interestingly enough, Apple had two other products land spots in the top 10—the original Apple Mac which came in at number 3 on the list and the venerable iPod which checked in at number 9 on the list.