Walk down memory lane: What did critics say about the iPhone in 2007?

It’s the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and what better way is there to celebrate its birthday than by serving up a glass of old-time haterade from 2007 for nostalgia’s sake?

Since the famous reveal in San Francisco in January 2007, the Mercury News wrote extensively about the revolutionary smartphone building up to its release. There was hype everywhere, which soon was proven to be justified. But there was also plenty of skepticism that we can all look back and laugh at cordially.

“It’s a little frightening,” said Jay Somaney, a hedge fund manager with TSG Capital in Plano, Texas to former Mercury News reporter Troy Wolverton five months after the iPhone was revealed. “There’s no way they can meet the hype.”

On the opposite end of Somaney were people who chugged the iPhone Kool-Aid, like Michael Gartenberg, an analyst who covers personal technology for Jupiter Research.

“This is the most anticipated telephone since Alexander Graham Bell’s,” said Gartenberg.

Considering former Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs declared that the iPhone would “reinvent the phone,” Gartenberg’s statement doesn’t land too far from the apple tree. (Pun intended.) With some billing the iPhone as the “God device,” many had trouble seeing how the iPhone — or any phone — could live up to its monikers.

“They’re way overhyping this,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, a San Jose-based research firm. “The phone isn’t that good.”

Three of the most prominent of tech reviewers of their time — Walt Mossberg, David Pogue and Steven Levy — disagreed. The first iPhone was imperfect but it was still a game-changer.

“Expectations for the iPhone have been so high that it can’t possibly meet them all,” wrote Mossberg for his then-employer, the Wall Street Journal. “But, despite its network limitations, the iPhone is a whole new experience and a pleasure to use.”

Other analysts saw other Apple products as the next big thing. Richard Gardner, an analyst for Citigroup Investment Research, was on the Apple TV train, believing it could generate up to $1 billion in revenue for Apple by 2008.

“Apple TV is obviously very important because it brings iTunes content into the living room,” Gardner wrote in a note to clients, according to Bloomberg.

Apple TV did hit the $1 billion revenue mark — in 2013. Apple generated $37.5 billion in revenue in 2013 buoyed by selling 33.8 million iPhones, a 26 percent increase from 2012.

But the biggest loser in this retrospective tour is Somaney, the hedge fund manager who was a bit frightened by the hype. He told Wolverton he planned to sell his Apple stock before the iPhone came out.

Considering Apple’s stock in June 18, 2007 — the day his quote was published — was $17.87 and it’s now $145.83, let’s hope he didn’t follow through with his plan.

Photo: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an Apple iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco on Jan. 9, 2007. (Paul Sakuma/AP)


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