Here is what I wrote in 2007, when Prospect magazine asked me to name the most underrated cultural development of the year:
The iPhone. The world really did change…We now have handheld personal computers and personal entertainment centres, yet they are no larger than a thin pack of cards. And no, I’m not a techie, a gadget freak or an Apple lover. The device itself is beautiful as well.
And here was my “overrated” answer:
Overrated: Hollywood movies. US ticket sales recovered this year, but to what end? This was a year for microculture, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The bigger visual productions of the year won’t much stand the test of time. On the bright side, television drama continues to rise in quality.
I am pleased to have bought an iPhone on the first day, I felt at the time it was like seeing the premiere of a Mozart opera. Many people laughed at me for suggesting such an analogy, and they chided me for my infatuation with such a toy. I recall Alex walking into my office, asking me what I thought, and I told him the product really did deliver what it promised and that it would change the world.
The funny thing is, I hardly use my iPhone anymore, much preferring the larger iPad. I haven’t even bothered to order one of the larger iPhones, as for me it isn’t large enough and I marvel that others can use it as much as they do. In other words, now that I have experience using the product my forecast, if I were to make one historically “blind,” but with that accumulated personal experience in pocket, would be far less accurate than what I said at the time.