This weekend has been fifteen years since the presentation of the first iPhone. A device that revolutionized the telecommunications industry and in general that of all world technology due to its enormous influence.
It was on January 9, 2007 when a Steve Jobs on the crest of the wave after sweeping the music industry with iPods, set out under the battle cry “today we are going to make history together»To present a new device at the Macworld conference then held at the Moscone Center from San Francisco. Apple was about to revolutionize the industry and become ‘a mobile company’.
Rumors had been running for months before and finally the bombshell arrived: his first smartphone. Named by ‘Time’ magazine as ‘invention of the year’ the success of the iPhone was absolute and the impact of its launch, total for the technology industry on several fronts. And the same for Apple, since its line of mobiles is considered the most profitable hardware device in history and an essential component for fifteen years after turning Apple into a listed value of three trillion dollars.
If the launch of this smartphone delayed the arrival of Android terminals because «the iPhone was light years away from its development in 2007»As recognized by its creators, its success ended up inspiring the arrival of hundreds of other models. Its influence was of such caliber that it transcended the simple voice communication device, causing the revolution of the smart mobile and a ‘mobility era‘in which we still find ourselves.
The first iPhone
Apple opted for a device small in size, but large in functions and software, capable of adding to the typical voice calls and sending of SMS, Internet services such as access to web pages or emails, in addition to taking pictures or the of music player. All that could already be done on other devices, but the iPhone combined it like no other.
Its screen was a capacitive type touch LCD with 3.5 inches diagonal and a native resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. It had a single-core processor and a RAM of only 128 Mbytes. It had several internal storage options, 4 GB that was only sold for a few months, 8 and 16 Gbytes. Its base price was $ 499.
Although today it is a difficult collector’s item to come by, it can be easily recognized by its back, divided into two parts, the upper one made of aluminum and the lower one made of black plastic where the antennas were housed to support quad-band GSM mobile networks with EDGE technology and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity that it also supported.
More important than its design and hardware, was its operating system and the way to interact with it. It used the iPhone OS system (later renamed to iOS) and its interface was based on the concept of direct manipulation, with sliders, switches and buttons working perfectly using multi-touch gestures.
Another section where the first iPhone shone was in its applications. And that at that time could not install more applications than the 15 that it included as standard. Although Steve Jobs did not want third-party applications on his iPhone, it was a deficiency that had to be resolved and shortly after, he announced a development kit that was the prelude to his online store, the App Store.
Today, the App Store is the most profitable app store on the planet, a huge new way to grow the hardware sales business and an essential part of Apple’s multi-billion dollar mobile business. Its growth was astonishing and if it were an independent company, it would be ranked among the top fifty on the Fortune 500 list by income level. It is also the big star of the increasingly important category of services, as well as a feedback from the sale of devices. . And all this for that first iPhone 15 years ago.
Some curiosities of the first iPhone
The chosen name, “iPhone”, was controversial because I was registered by Cisco. Two days later, the company filed a lawsuit against Apple that months later was settled with an out-of-court settlement of which no data was provided. Apple had to pay a good amount to keep ownership of the name, as well as iOS, another registered by Cisco.
The unveiling of the first iPhone came just two days after Bill Gates delivered the CES 2007 keynote address to introduce Windows Vista and the “central role of PCs.” A full-fledged counterprogramming that overshadowed everything Microsoft said. Vista was a fiasco and although the PC still exists and is irreplaceable for many tasks, Jobs showed that the technology industry was going a different way.
In the beginning, it was marketed under an exclusive launch in the United States through the AT&T operator. A strategy that stopped being used shortly after with simultaneous launching all over the world and for all operators.
Apple reached the first million units sold of the original iPhone in 74 days from its launch. Today sells -almost- a million units every day.
The App Store did not exist at the launch of the first iPhone, but it opened its doors a year later, on July 10, 2008 with 500 applications. Today the store offers almost two million apps.
When the iPhone was announced in 2007, Apple’s market capitalization was $ 174 billion. Fifteen years later, it exceeds three trillion dollars and a good part of it is due to its line of smartphones, which in some years have reached 60% of all its income.
«The iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone »Jobs said in the presentation. Perhaps not so much, because the HTC Dream arrived the following year, but Android officials later recognized that the first mobiles with Google’s system had to be delayed due to the difference in level.
The iPhones, and also the multiple Android devices that came later, put the companies that had dominated mobile sales for decades on the ropes: Motorola, Nokia or Blackberry. They just couldn’t adapt in the switch from ‘dumb’ to ‘smart’ mobile.
The general design of the iPhone, with the entire front occupied by a touch screen and without the physical keyboard that was a trend until then, was imitated endlessly by the rest of the manufacturers. Apple started a judicial war against them that today is not understood, but that then raised a wide dust cloud.
The presentation of the iPhone “forced” a change of name of the same company. From Apple Computer Inc. to Apple Inc. «We have thought about it and we think that maybe our name should reflect a little more what we do«. That, from computers to a mobile company, and, later, to tablets, watches or headphones.
Jobs also announced that they had completed the transition of processors for Mac, from IBM’s PowerPCs to Intel’s x86. Fifteen years later it is also in another transition, from Intel to internally developed ARM SoCs.
After the keynote, Jobs confessed that he had not been able to sleep the night before. And it was not because of going on stage, but because he was aware that neither the iPhone nor its software was finished And if Jobs deviated from the planned demo, the presentation was likely to fail. And it failed, in a moment when the executive clicked, and clicked, and the slides didn’t go through. «They’re fighting backstage right now«He told the audience.
Fortunately for Apple, what did not fail was the launch of this first iPhone that we remember today fifteen years after the beginning of the revolution.