This is the fifth anniversary of the iPhone -- five years since it first appeared on Apple's shelves and, quickly, in people's pockets or bags. It's strange to think that in the not-so-distant past, we used our cellphones simply to make phone calls.
But since Apple released its game-changing product, over 200 million iPhones have been sold, revolutionizing people's expectations of mobile devices.
And since the introduction of Apple's App Store in 2008, over 30 billion apps have been downloaded. More than 650,000 different apps are available, according to Apple.
The iPhone has traveled to space, was named one of Time magazine's "All Time 100 Greatest and Most Influential Gadgets," and declared the "snapshot camera of today" by the famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Today, the device is distributed through 230 different carriers in over 100 countries around the world.
Looking at iPhone from its not-so humble beginnings, it's difficult to imagine what we would have done without access to Google Maps, Angry Birds, iBooks, Fruit Ninja, Instagram, Facebook, Pandora, and FaceTime, at the flick of our fingers and in the palm of our hands.
|June 29, 2007: iPhone Debuts|
And so it begins. The revolution of the smartphone (and the obsessive, franic buyers' need to have one) started with typical Apple fanfare.
Apple debuted the iPhone at the Macworld convention in January 2007, but in keeping with the company's traditional secrecy, it didn't announce the phone's public release date until June 3, 2007 -- remember the "Mmm, did someone say calamari" ad? The iPhone was then released in stores on June 29, 2007.
Lines snaked around Apple stores across the country as people waited for the phone.
Touted as "major breakthrough" in cellphone technology, the first iPhone combined Apple's immensely popular mp3 player, the iPod, with smartphone capabilities: surfing the Internet, checking email, playing movies, messaging friends and -- oh, yeah -- making phone calls. All that came in one sleek, lightweight package.
It made the smartphone wicked cool, but it only worked on AT&T's network.
Features included: a multitouch screen, up to 16 GB of storage, 620 MHz processor, 2-megapixel camera for still images, USB dock.
Debut price: $499 and $599 for 4 GB and 8 GB, respectively. The 16 GB model wasn't released until Feb. 5, 2008.
Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, told ABC News in a 2007 interview that his motivation to develop the iPhone wasn't to compete with other tech companies. He said it was the need for a fresher product, one that he would want to use daily.
"We just try to build products that we feel are really wonderful and that people might want," Jobs said at the time. "Sometimes we're right, sometimes we're wrong, but I think we're going to hit a grand slam with this."
|July 11, 2008: iPhone 3G|
Within two weeks of the iPhone's 2007 debut, Apple sold 700,000 units. Within a year, the company had sold 6 million units.
The iPhone 3G, sometimes called the "iPhone 2," was released on July 11, 2008. With Apple having claimed the high ground in the comsumer cellphone market, once again a buying frenzy followed the announcement.
Apple made some tweaks to its 3G unit, but one of the biggest was to its price. Just 10 weeks after the original iPhone's release on June 29, 2007, Apple dropped the price from $599 to $399 for the 8 GB model. When the original iPhone 16 GB model debuted in February 2008, it was priced at $499, but was dropped to $399 within two months.
Early-bird customers who paid the higher prices up front were outraged, and Apple took their criticisms to heart. With the debut of the iPhone 3G, the company offered its new operating system upgrade -- iPhone 2.0 firmware -- for the original unit for free.
Additional features added: thinner edges, assisted GPS.
Debut price: $199 and $299 for the 8 GB and 16 GB phones, respectively, with cell carrier contract; $599 and $699 without a contract.
|June 19, 2009: iPhone 3GS|
"Better, faster, stronger," Apple could have easily lifted those Kanye West lyrics for their press release announcing the coming of the iPhone 3GS in 2009.
The 3GS promised to perform "twice as fast as the iPhone 3G" -- after all, the "S" stood for "speed." Over 1 million units were sold within the first three days of going on sale.
2009 was also the same year Apple launched its "There's an app for that" ad campaign, and its now-famous App Store.
Features added: up to 32 GB of storage, 833 MHz processor, 3.0-megapixal camera that includes video recording, digital compass, voice control, Nike+.
Debut price: $199 and $299 for the 16 GB and 32 GB, respectively, with cell carrier contract for new and qualifying customers; $599 and $699 for the 16 GB and 32 GB without a contract.
|June 24, 2010: iPhone 4|
Steve Jobs said the iPhone 4 would be "the biggest leap since the original iPhone."
When it was first announced on June 15, 2010, Apple and AT&T said they took 600,000 preorders in the first 24 hours -- so many that it caused their online ordering system to crash. Although the white version of the phone was also slated for a June 2010 release, it was delayed until April 2011.
Aside from boosting the phone's processor, camera and video capabilities, Apple also gave its fourth model a makeover, flattening the phone's curved back and slimming its sides to create the sleekest iPhone yet.
Perhaps the biggest change came when Verizon Wireless announced on Jan. 11, 2011 that it would now carry the iPhone 4. Even though the phone more or less worked the same on either network, the real advantage was giving Verizon's roughly 94 million wireless customers the option to get in on the iPhone without switching carriers.
Features added: black or white body, bigger battery, 1 GHz processor, 5.0-megapixel camera with LED flash, HD video recording.
Debut price: $199 and $299 for the 16 GB and 32 GB, respectively, with carrier contract for new and qualifying customers. $599 and $699 without a contract.
|Oct. 4, 2011: iPhone 4S|
The iPhone 4S looked a lot like its predecessor, but inside, said Apple, it was all new. The killer app -- if "app" is the word for it -- was intelligent voice recognition, a system called Siri that allows users to query the phone with spoken words. Apple said Siri is smart enough that if you ask, "What's the weather forecast?" or "Do I need a raincoat?" it will recognize that you want essentially the same information.
Other added features: an A5 processor (the same as the one that ran the iPad 2), an 8-megapixel camera capable of shooting stills in low light and HD video, and dual antennas so that it can be used almost anywhere in the world.
Apple said it would be available to customers of AT&T, Verizon and -- for the first time -- Sprint.
Price with a two-year contract: $199 with 16 GB, $299 with 32 GB, and $399 with 64 GB.
Ironically, the 4S was announced the day before the death of Steve Jobs, the mastermind of the iPhone and so many other game-changing technologies, who had driven his engineers and designers to create a phone people would love.
Jobs had laid out long-term plans for Apple before illness overtook him, and the company has continued to thrive. Earlier this month Apple showed off the next version of its iPhone software -- iOS 6 --which will have its own map solution, Facebook integration, and some major Siri improvements. As for that fifth iPhone though? We don't know much, but from the rumors, its looking like it will be the best iPhone yet.