First iPhone Announced

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announces the first iPhone at the Macworld Expo in 2007.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announces the first iPhone at the Macworld Expo in 2007.

On January 9, 2007, Apple revolutionized the phone with the introduction of the iPhone. Apple’s first forays into the world of mobile handset technology changed the entire industry.

At the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs prepared to announce to a packed crowd something Apple had been working on for the past two years. He started out his keynote speech with, “Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything… today, we’re introducing THREE revolutionary new products.” Jobs went on to explain that Apple had developed an iPod with a wide screen, a phone, and a “breakthrough internet communications device.” Surprising the crowd, Jobs then announced that these three revolutionary products were actually combined into one unit – the iPhone.

The new iPhone featured “Multi Touch,” a new input technology which allowed users to control the phone by touching the 3.5-inch display screen with their fingertip. This seamlessly crafted device also only featured a single button below the screen to take users back to their homescreens, and a wake/sleep button on top to lock the screen and prevent unwanted actions on the phone. Jobs also wowed the crowd when he announced that the device would run Mac’s OS X, which would allow the phone to sync data with any Mac, PC, or internet device, allowing users to have all of their iTunes music and videos, contacts, calendars, photos, notes, bookmarks and e-mail accounts in the palm of their hand. The revolutionary phone also included a 2-megapixel camera and three different smart sensors. The first of these sensors was a proximity sensor, which would turn off the display and prevent touchscreen capability when the phone is held next to the ear. The second was an ambient light sensor, allowing the screen to adjust brightness and save power based on surrounding ambient light. The last sensor, an accelerometer, knows when you turn your phone and adjusts what you’re looking at to portrait or landscape mode.

On top of all this, the original iPhone was then announced to have EDGE and WiFi capabilities (3G coming in the future), allowing it to automatically connect to the Internet. The Safari web browser included on the iPhone allowed users to view standard Web pages and HTML-capable e-mail. Jobs also informed the audience that Yahoo would be offering free push e-mail to all iPhone customers. Other features announced were a Google Maps feature which could be used to look up locations and directions and satellite map imagery. Along with this were other dashboard widgets like the weather widget and a stock widget. Now standard on smartphones, the original iPhone also introduced photo management software that allowed users to zoom in and out using a “pinching” motion.

Though these other features were mind-blowing to the Macworld crowd, Jobs boasted that the most impressive thing about the new iPhone was how it redefined the way phone calls would be made. A conference call function made it easy to have a phone conversation with more than just one person. A visual voicemail display allowed users to skip to voicemails they wanted to listen to rather than having to wait through others. Text messaging matched that of iChat on Mac computers as far as sounds and looks, with a touch keyboard appearing at the bottom of the screen.

When this “magical” phone, as Jobs put it, came out, two versions were available - a 4GB, $499 model and an 8GB, $599 model. On June 29, 2007, hundreds of U.S. customers lined up outside of each store offering the revolutionary product across the country. Media outlets were dubbing the new product the “Jesus phone.” The iPhone has since revolutionized the way phones are made, with most smartphones borrowing features introduced by Apple and Jobs in 2007. The iPhone is now in its seventh generation, with the 5S and 5C which were introduced in September 2013.

Sources: Macrumors, BBC, Macworld

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