Wes Miller, Microsoft Research VP:
In 2007, Apple shocked the world by releasing a phone. A REALLY EXPENSIVE phone. But this phone did something important. Every phone before it had been a device seemingly designed by committee, to meet the business goals of a wireless telco. This one was designed for the consumer first.
Step 1 for Apple was delivering the first iPhone. Remember, this phone had NO 3rd party apps at launch. It had the ability to pin web pages to the home screen, and these could be designed to be “application-ish”. No dev ecosystem or tools, no App Store, no sales revenue. Oh, and it also had a very premium price of $599, and was locked to AT&T’s network.
But it had a touch-driven user interface, accelerometers, a very usable web browser, powerful email client, a camera, iTunes media integration and an Apple fit and finish to the device and software that recalled what Mac fans were used to.
That’s where we were in 2007. People paid through the nose to get a phone that put some aspect of design in front of telco business requirements.