The world’s first iPhone was announced in January of 2007, it’s release came six months later in June. June 29th to be exact. I know, because I have June 28, 2007 tattooed on my right shoulder. Not because I wanted to immortalize the eve of the birth of the world’s first iPhone, but because it’s the day that my world saw the death of someone very near and dear to me. My brother..
Between January and June of 2007, I watched and re-watched the WWDC keynote in which Steve Jobs announced the iPhone countless times. I set aside money the buy the phone without putting a strain on my family. (Most people forget that at launch, the first iPhone was $599 – a few months later it was dropped to $399). I poured over rumors that were running rampant across the internet — will they add any extra features? What does it do that wasn’t announced? Where’s the best place to stand in line on launch day? It was the biggest news in the tech world at the time – but, I wasn’t alone, the whole tech industry was eating, drinking, and sleeping iPhone.
Suddenly bigger news in my world came. My brother was dead. My world came crashing down. Suddenly, I was alone. Suddenly there was something bigger than the iPhone.
Suddenly launch lines didn’t matter, gigabytes didn’t matter, none of it mattered. The money that I had sat aside to purchase the iPhone instead went to purchase a new suit and shoes for the funeral.
I remember that at the visitation, I was standing outside of the funeral parlor on the front porch and saw several of my brothers’ school mates huddled around a small shiny object. It was strange, you could tell that they all wanted to be excited about their new phone, but couldn’t. I walked over to the group and for the first time saw an iPhone in the wild. I asked if they would mind if I took a look at it.As it was placed in my hand, for a very short moment, my world returned to a sense of normalcy. It all just felt so… right. My fingers glided across the screen with ease, tapping, pinching, swiping. As I pressed the home button, I was brought back to reality, the small smile that I had cracked, returned to solidarity. I knew that eventually, I’d have that feeling again, but it wouldn’t be today, it wouldn’t be for a while – a long while.After the funeral, I started setting aside money again for my iPhone and on several occasions, tried to walk into the AT&T store to purchase one, I never got past the front door, my emotions flooded over me, they were mixed, and powerful enough to prevent me from opening the door. After several failed purchasing tempts, my wife surprised me with the 1st generation iPhone after work one day. “Aren’t you proud of me, it’s the big one?” she said. As my eyes began to water, I cracked a resounding, “yes”.Eventually, I became an iPhone developer, and have released several successful apps on the store. I’ve worked with everyone from small startups to fortune 500 companies. Since then I have also owned (or bought for my wife) every model of iPhone that Apple has made. All on launch day. I’ve woken up at insane hours and stood in line, or I’ve preordered at odd hours for delivery. I know that i’m not alone in the excitement of launch day, millions of people stand in line, campout, or spend all day waiting for the UPS or FedEx driver to knock on the door.
For me, I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas, the excitement building, until that first “slide to unlock”.For a brief moment, I transcend to a world where everything just seems “right”. To what should have been.