It's getting hard to remember what it was like before the iPhone.
From wooden wall mounted telephones to small and sleek pocket phones; the telecom industry has grown in leaps and bounds. Since the advent of “smart phones” in 1992 by IBM, the world has seen remarkable success in communication technology – quality and quantity alike. With a smart phone the user can send out e-mails and text messages, browse the internet, take pictures, watch TV shows and movies, download and listen to music, get traffic updates and directions and even store personal information on just one consolidated device.
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Apple’s first iPhone 2G model, introduced to consumers on June 29, 2007, was geared toward people on the go in the fast-paced 21st century. The history of the iPhone began with Steve Jobs’ direction that Apple engineers investigate touch-screens. Many have noted the device’s similarities to Apple’s previous touch-screen portable device, the Newton MessagePad. Its form factor is credited to Apple’s head of design Jonathan Ive.
On January 9, 2007, Jobs announced the iPhone at the Macworld convention, and on June 11, 2007 he announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference that the iPhone would support third-party applications using the Safari engine on the device. Third-parties would create the Web 2.0 applications and users would access them via the internet. Initially priced at US$599 and US$499 for the 8 GB and 4 GB models, Apple closed its stores at 2:00 PM local time to prepare for the 6:00 PM iPhone launch, while hundreds of customers lined up at stores nationwide.
Technology analysts estimated sales of between 250,000 to 700,000 units in the first weekend alone, with strong sales continuing after the initial weekend. As part of their quarterly earnings announcement, AT&T (the then-official iPhone carrier) reported that 146,000 iPhones were activated in the first weekend. It is also estimated that 95 percent of the units sold were the 8 GB model. In its annual feature of 2007, Time Magazine named the iPhone “Invention of the Year.”
On July 11, 2008 Apple released the iPhone 3G, a faster device than its predecessor and equipped to work in tandem with GPS units. A follow-up, third-generation model was introduced to consumers on June 17, 2009 – the iPhone 3GS with new features such as video capabilities and voice recording.
On June 21, 2010, Apple launched iPhone 4G with the highly anticipated multitasking feature. Jobs described the iPhone 4G as the thinnest smart phone on the planet: almost 25 percent thinner than the iPhone 3GS. As of July 2010, it was priced at US$199 for a 16 GB model and US$299 for a 32 GB model. Apple plans to continue selling the iPhone 3GS, with the 8 GB model going for US$99.
(Text by Purvi Gajjar)
Photo: William Hook/Flickr