Mark Bridge writes:
In a way, it’s hard to believe that the first Apple iPhone wasn’t seen in public until this day seven years ago. It - and the trend towards one-piece smartphones with hardly any buttons - seems to have been with us for much longer.
Yet it was 9th January 2007 when Apple CEO Steve Jobs walked on stage at at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco and announced “Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone”. The USA then had to wait until June for the phone to go on sale, selling a million units in 74 days. UK sales begin in November 2007, with the phone (2 megapixel camera, 3.5-inch display and a maximum 8GB of memory) costing £269 on an O2 contract.
But the iPhone wasn’t Apple’s first move into mobile communications. In 2005 the Motorola ROKR E1 had gone on sale. Although it didn’t bear the Apple name, it had been produced in partnership with Apple, was capable of linking with iTunes on a PC and had music controls that were familiar to anyone with an Apple iPod. Unfortunately, the relatively small memory and lack of features when compared to dedicated MP3 players meant the E1 didn’t sell as well as expected.
In fact, the Apple iPhone wasn’t even the world’s first smartphone with a full-length touch-controlled screen. Many would suggest that honour went to the LG Prada KE850, which was announced a week after the iPhone and went on sale in May 2007... while others would point to the stylus-operated IBM Simon from 1993.
However, it’s the success of iPhone that’s changed the way millions of people think about technology. And with $10 billion spent on downloadable apps in the Apple App Store last year, the iPhone is clearly here to stay. For a while, at least.