iPhone Turns 9 Years Old, Looking Back at the Past and into the Future

iPhone Turns 9 Years Old, Looking Back at the Past and into the Future
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June 29th, 2007 was the birthday of one of the most iconic, influential, and revolutionary products we will see in our lifetime – the original iPhone. While it wasn’t technically the first smartphone out there – the bulky and insanely ugly IBM Simon, which came out in 1994, and featured rudimentary apps as well as email and fax capabilities – the iPhone was the device that propelled smartphones into the mainstream.

The original iPhone was the first smartphone to ditch hardware keyboards and styluses, opting for a touch-screen display. Steve Jobs first conceived the idea in 2005, and put several of Apple’s engineers on the task, codenamed “Project Purple 2”. Over the next thirty months, and $150 million later, Apple collaborated in private with AT&T (then known as Cingular Wireless) to develop the device. During a keynote address on January 9th, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the device that would “reinvent the phone.”


When Jobs introduced the iPhone, he billed it as a mind-blowing combination of three devices – a “widescreen iPod with touch controls”, a “revolutionary mobile phone”, and a “breakthrough internet communicator.” Its major features, besides the ability to make phone calls of course, included an ‘iPod’ music player app, email app, text messaging, Safari web browsing app, a camera with a Photos app, and even a YouTube app. All of this was available to you with a “blazing fast” 2.5G connection.

While the iPhone was certainly a revolutionary device when it was introduced, a lot has changed in the past nine years. When the device was first released, Apple didn’t even have an App Store yet – that didn’t come until July of 2008. And 3G wireless technology, which now seems to crawl at a snail’s pace, didn’t come until the second generation device in 2008, as well.

The iPhone featured a 3.5-inch screen with 320×480 pixel resolution at 163ppi, primitive in comparison the 4.7-inch, 1,920×1,280 @ 401ppi display found on the iPhone 6s. The original iPhone boasted a 2MP camera as compared to the 6s’s 12MP camera capable of shooting high-definition video, and its 620MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, and 4, and 8GB storage options pale in comparison to the 6s’s dual-core 1.85GHz A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16, 64, and 128GB storage options.

And although the 6s is a much larger phone with much more powerful hardware, it only weighs 0.2oz more than the original device. What hasn’t changed much is the price, however. The original iPhone debuted at $499 for the 4GB storage option, and $599 for the 8GB option. The iPhone 6s, by contrast, released at $649 for the 16GB option, $749 for the 64GB option, and $849 for the 128GB option, with huge discounts for contract renewals with your wireless carrier – all in all, a relatively minor increase when all of the new hardware and features are taken into consideration.

Looking back, the iPhone has changed a lot over the years. When comparing the feature set of the original iPhone to the iPhone 6s, more features have been added than could possibly be listed in this article. With each iPhone release, incremental tweaks and hardware/software updates have really added up over time, and it’s exciting to see what the future holds for the device.

The iPhone 7, for example, which is slated for a September release this year, doesn’t add any mind-blowing new features. iOS 10, which will likely be released at the same time, however, adds some great new functionality to the operating system, which is sure to be expounded upon in further releases. And the iPhone 8, which many expect to release next year, will likely see an incredible new redesign with a rumored all-glass enclosure, bezel-free design, and Touch ID and front-facing camera embedded under the display.

From radical redesigns to small, cumulative changes, the iPhone is constantly growing. And the revolutionary devices that changed the way we operate in our day-to-day lives will likely keep changing and adapting to our lives in the future. Happy 9th birthday, iPhone. Here’s to many more.

What did you love about the original iPhone?
Let us know in the comments below.

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