Re­mem­ber­ing the first iPhone 10 years later

The Denver Post - - TECH KNOW - By Hay­ley Tsukayama Paul Sakuma, As­so­ci­ated Press file

The first iPhone went on sale at 6 p.m. on June 29, 2007, kick­ing off the smart­phone era. And 27year-old Ryan O’Don­nell was one of the first to get one – af­ter stand­ing in line for six hours while bat­tling sun­burn, ex­haus­tion and a very full blad­der.

Ten years later, O’Don­nell, now 37 and a San Fran­cisco-based film­maker, said that the iPhone’s de­but made him feel like a “piece of alien tech­nol­ogy had landed on the planet.” He and his friends had been dis­cussing what it would be like if Ap­ple were to cre­ate, as ru­mored, an iPod phone. When it be­came a re­al­ity, he had to have it.

“Rea­son went out the win­dow,” he said.

O’Don­nell al­ready had a smart­phone at the time, a de­vice called the Black­jack that was made by Sam­sung and had the sell­ing point that it could con­nect eas­ily to Out­look. But the Black­Jack could barely dis­play even sim­ple Web pages, and its bat­tery life was so short that the store threw

Ein a free spare bat­tery, O’Don­nell said.

The prom­ise of hav­ing a su­per-re­spon­sive touch screen and bet­ter mo­bile in­ter­net ac­cess con­vinced him to stand in line for Ap­ple’s de­vice on the Fri­day it launched, he said. Despite pulling an all­nighter at work, O’Don­nell headed to the Ap­ple store in down­town San Fran­cisco around noon to wait for the evening sales launch.

He was not ad­e­quately pre­pared. For one, he was ex­hausted. Some peo­ple who were al­ready in line had chairs and lap­tops.

ESe­cond, O’Don­nell quickly re­al­ized that he was go­ing to get sun­burned and it was not go­ing to be pretty. (He tried to fash­ion him­self a tent out of his clothes.)

Then, three hours in, the real cri­sis hap­pened. He re­al­ized, with hor­ror, that he re­ally had to use the bath­room. “I thought I’d have to leave the line,” O’Don­nell said. He even­tu­ally man­aged to get a hold of his part­ner, who worked down­town, to save his place in line.

His com­rades in line were all friendly and chat­ting with each other – some­thing O’Don­nell said would never hap­pen now with the iPhone. “Now peo­ple would all have their phones, but then, we were talk­ing with one an­other,” he said.

Ap­ple em­ploy­ees fanned the party at­mos­phere that held up despite the sum­mer sun. O’Don­nell re­mem­bers the store em­ploy­ees walk­ing up and down the line, hand­ing out wa­ter and even bur­ri­tos from a nearby Chipo­tle.

And then there were the cheers from the em­ploy­ees when peo­ple fi­nally got into the store. The at­mos­phere was un­like any O’Don­nell had seen be­fore, he said. He even re­mem­bers see­ing leg­endary Ap­ple de­signer Jony Ive stand­ing above the crowd on the sec­ond floor.

When O’Don­nell got home, he opened his new phone – slid­ing to un­lock it for the first time. “Oh, my God, this worked,” he re­mem­bers think­ing. The film­maker, who was in­tro­duced to The Wash­ing­ton Post by Ap­ple’s PR unit, was the first among his friends to get an iPhone. He said felt like he had “a su­per­power,” the first time he used the de­vice to eas­ily find a restau­rant.

O’Don­nell won’t be stand­ing in a line when the next iPhone comes out, though he will take the op­por­tu­nity to up­grade, he said. The last time he bought an iPhone was three years ago be­cause each model seemed to last longer for him. Plus, the nov­elty of each model has worn off since his first few iPhones. (He has al­ways had an iPhone, by the way. And no, he doesn’t have his first iPhone any­more.)

Yet while O’Don­nell doesn’t plan to at­tend the lat­est iPhone cam­pout, he said, he will set an alarm to pre-or­der his next phone – from the com­fort of his own bed.

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