It Was Ten Years Ago Today That Apple Started Selling the iPhone

Rumours were everywhere, but Apple wouldn’t comment. Would the company make a mobile phone? If so, what would it look like? Would it have a physical keyboard? What would it cost? And how could it possibly be better than a BlackBerry?

On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld and unveiled the iPhone in one of the greatest tech presentations of all time. It went like this.

Six months later–June 29–the iPhone went on sale. Since then, more than 1.2 billion units have been sold making it the most successful retail product since–well, maybe ever. Think about it: How many products have created a near universal consensus that we needed it every day, all the time? In that context, the phone is right up there with the concept of clothing.

The iPhone changed everything about mobile communication. While it wasn’t the first smartphone, it represented a quantum leap forward. Everything suddenly seemed old-fashioned. It convinced us that we needed access to the Web 24/7. And in the process, it wiped out the need for standalone portable music players, even the iPod, which saved Apple from extinction.

But lost in the reality distortion field is how limited the iPhone’s capabilities were. In the context of what’s available today, it’s primitive. A 2 megapixel camera (and no front-face camera for selfies). Just 4GB of storage, 8 GB for an upgrade model. No cut’n’paste. But when compared to the other smartphones of the day, it was damn near magical.

CBS’s Sunday Morning had this report.

Here’s a great story on the six-month rush to develop the iPhone.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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