Apple Evangelist

The First iPhone Keynote


It’s been more than 5 years since the late Steve Jobs took to the stage to deliver one of the best presentations in the tech space with its first iPhone Keynote and announcement. Now I have never been a huge fan of Apple, but I have to admit that the iPhone was a giant leap in mobile device technology. Even though the specs may be out of date i.e. 4GB/8GB options, 2mp camera and 2g internet, the features and innovations it brought to the market are now taken for granted. Those who receive their first phone as a smartphone (either Android or iPhone), do not know the mobile world past we lived in where Nokia (who’s mobile patents now belong to Microsoft) dominated the market with their seemingly indestructible 3310 model.

The keynote also reveals how the digital and mobile landscape has changed:

  • Yahoo was still a major competitor in the email market
  • 3.5 inch screen = REALLY BIG screen
  • Google and Apple had a friendly relationship
  • No mobile optimisation for websites
  • Cingular and AT&T still existed as separate brands
  • The importance of patents and the how broken the intellectual property system is

So how was the keynote?

The presentation started by Jobs stating it will be announcing 3 ‘revolutionary products’ of its class: iPod, phone and internet communications device. From here the theatrics and showmanship of Jobs begin to shine as he reveals that the 3 products is indeed the one product, the iPhone.

Jobs continues by talking about the current state of the ‘smartphone’ market (which we would now consider ‘feature phone’ as opposed to smart). He runs through the numerous problems and design flaws in particular the user interface and its rigidity, which segues perfectly into the introduction of the touch interface devoid of any stylus. (Textbook pain point identification + solution formula.) The language Jobs uses gently coaxes the audience to separate the iPhone from its competitors, ‘revolutionary’, ‘gorgeous’, ‘works like magic’, ‘patented’, ‘5 years ahead of any other phone’. These words and phrases were critical part of Apple’s evil plan in displaying product differentiation and establishing a unique selling proposition (USP).

The keynote then turns to the features and innovations of the 3 ‘products’ through demonstrations i.e. proof of concept:

  • iPod – being able to ‘touch’ your music, cover flow, landscape and portrait mode
  • Phone – ‘visual voicemail’, conferencing, detection and switching to ‘phone mode’, phone book and contacts, texting sessions
  • Internet communications device – Safari browser, email, pinch gesture, double tap zoom, maps and apps (maps, weather, camera)

One of the funniest moments is when Jobs gives a prank call to a local Starbucks in front of the audience:

‘Yes, hello. I’d like to order 4 thousand lattes to go please. Just kidding, wrong number. Thank you.’

Being the salesman he is, Jobs then goes into the sales side of things. First the announcement was made about 6 months prior the shipping date of the iPhone, which was a first for Apple who, before then kept details close to the chest UNTIL the release of the product, however the hype generated from the keynote created a massive amount of buzz and anticipation. It’s funny looking back on this, as Apple aimed to take 1% of market share by setting a target of selling 10 million iPhones in its first full year of sales, as many were skeptical of how achievable this was. Jobs uses price anchoring, i.e. what you’d normally pay for the products separately and what you’d pay for the iPhone which, of course, has more funcationality *evil smile*, for price points and justification.

Why was the iPhone so successful?

There were some key marketing decisions which you can see from the keynote, that shows the amount of planning put in for the product launch, so here are my thoughts of the reasons behind the success.

  • Creating a highly successful product announcement that (for the most part) went without a hitch (minor clicker problems) and generating a ridiculous amount of press
  • Manufacturing its own hardware – which meant greater oversight in quality control
  • Partnering with large software (Google and Yahoo) and service vendors (Cingular) for support and backing, allowing for a greater reach and exposure
  • Protecting its unique selling proposition through innovation and patents (over 200 filed for the 1st gen ALONE)
  • Rebranding of the company to reflect it’s product offering ( Apple Computers Inc to simply Apple Inc)

Bonus Drinking Game

You must drink every time:

  • Jobs says ‘revolutionary’, ‘boom’ or ‘gorgeous’
  • The crowd cheers
  • Jobs wears his glasses or puts them on his head
  • Gives a spec of the phone that would now be considered crap but awesome at the time

And here is the complete Keynote presentation: