I had forgotten about this 2007 article by The Times’s John Markoff, published the day before the iPhone went on sale, until Rene Ritchie linked to it today. Markoff had such great access to Steve Jobs — I can’t recall any other reporter who got this sort of access to him.
The iPhone could have an effect on the cellphone industry akin to
the influence the Macintosh computer from Apple had on the personal
computer industry in 1984, Mr. Jobs said. He said he thought that
the iPhone’s “multitouch” control system, in which the fingers are
used to scroll through data or enlarge photos on the screen, was the
biggest shift in a computer’s user interface since the Macintosh was
“It’s the first thing to come along since the mouse and the
bit-mapped display and take things to the next level,” he said.
Mr. Jobs seized on the multitouch technology after Apple product
designers proposed it as a “safari pad,” a portable Web surfing
appliance. Instead, he saw the technology as something that could be
used for a similar purpose in a cellphone, a former Apple employee
The whole article is well worth a re-read.