Five years ago today, Apple changed the world – again — by launching the first iPhone. The press release for the 6:00 p.m. EST, June 29th, 2007 launch noted:
iPhone introduces an entirely new user interface based on a revolutionary multi-touch display and pioneering new software that allows users to control iPhone with just a tap, flick or pinch of their fingers. iPhone combines three products into one small and lightweight handheld device—a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod®, and the Internet in your pocket with best-ever applications on a mobile phone for email, web browsing and maps. iPhone ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, which completely redefines what users can do on their mobile phones.
Since then, the smartphone marketplace has changed considerably thanks to its innovation and design. And Apple has reaped the rewards, pulling in $150 billion from the iPhone alone — and creating an "app economy" the likes of which even Steve Jobs couldn't have predicted five years ago.
When the Apple co-founder and then-CEO introduced the iPhone in a now-legendary keynote address at Macworld in San Francisco in January 2007, he foreshadowed this day, stating: "iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone. We are all born with the ultimate pointing device—our fingers—and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.
As CNET's Scott Stein notes,
The lingering bombshell that the iPhone has birthed is, needless to say, the idea of apps. Apps as a commercial prospect. Apps as a celebration of a device's identity. Apps as fun. Apps as independent spirit. I say "idea of apps" because, after all, Apple didn't invent apps, nor was the iPhone the first smartphone. However, Apple and its App Store became the spark that marketed and reinvented the perception of apps...and the business model for selling software.
And as Wired points out on the iPhone's fifth anniversary, the landscape has changed considerably: smartphones with keyboards such as HP and RIM’s struggling BlackBerry device are “dead or dying,” while Android and the more recent Windows phone are giving Apple’s iMoneymaker a run for its money.
Before it even launched, the iPhone was getting slammed. Bloomberg news columnist Matthew Lynn predicted that the phone wouldn’t last and noted that an iToaster that downloaded while making toast would likely get similar buzz. But consumers paid no attention, buying up one million of the things in the first 74 days it was on sale.
When the App Store launched in July of 2008 along with the second version of the iPhone, plenty more consumers piled in who had been waiting to see if the phone would flourish or fail. One million of them are sold in the first weekend. The store helped create a whole new massive line of revenue for Apple. More than 10 million apps are downloaded in the first nine months, Wired reports.
The frenzy continues when the third iPhone comes out in 2009 (more than one million sold in the opening weekend) and with the fourth in 2010 (1.7 million were snapped up in the first three days).
Siri, the iPhone's serious voice recognition software, makes her appearance in October of last year as part of the groundbreaking iPhone 4S. She’s offered advice to millions since, including a few celebs and one perplexed Major League Baseball manager. And, of course, a slew of iPhones go out the door, four million in the first weekend, Wired reports.
At Wired’s last count, more than 217 million iPhones have been sold worldwide, and there are more than 650,000 apps for consumers to pick up in the app store.
Of course, Apple almost didn’t make all that cash from the iPhone. Steve Jobs originally asked Motorola if the company wanted to work together on it, Business Insider reports. (You can be sure the Jobs family and everybody else at Apple is happy that partnership never worked out.) Now everyone's waiting for iPhone 5, as this creative parody imagines: