I remember June 29, 2007, as if it were yesterday (almost). I bought my first iPhone from the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City on the first day it came out. I had worked all day on a typical consulting gig from my apartment, which was a 10-minute walk to the flagship Apple store. Around 4pm I had done enough so I figured, What the hell? — yes, it was that casual — I’d stroll over to see what was up. What I found was a party. I hadn’t intended to, but I got on line to buy.In the days before, there were interviews on the local news of geeks camped out to be the first to buy the first iPhone. As I walked past them, they looked much worse for living on the street for days; I thought that was over-the-top. I went by the TV cameras, and bystanders, and looked for the end of what seemed like an endless line. Everyone was talking with everyone. The universal excitement was palpable. It was a beautiful summer afternoon. So after bending around the first corner, and another, and then another, I just got in the line and joined the party. I was over-the-top about iPhone, too.
They started letting people in at 6pm and by 7:45pm I had a phone in my hand. Raising the box high above my head I rushed out in a euphoria, past the cheering store employees, past the curious, adoring, and cheering Apple fans outside. The unboxing back home was a delight (no surprise). In a few more minutes I was connected and running (though some were not so lucky their first time). Ever since I’ve been thrilled to buy a new one on the first day — but rarely have I waited on a physical line again — waking at 3am Eastern Time and tapping a few buttons is far easier, if less romantic. And it’s self-referential — using an iPhone to buy an iPhone! (Sheesh.)
Three years later, a succession of my iPhones became the inspiration for a future-casting report for Samsung in which I compare the device to a cybernetic extension of the nervous system — no implants required. (For the record, an accurate view of cybernetics doesn’t have to involve implants.) The diagram above is a layered-services model supporting these essential services: coordination, relevance, conversation, context, and wellness. See the report for more details — including an overview of an implementation plan, requested by Samsung after they read my initial report. (Not kidding.) But no, they didn’t build it. (Sigh.)