The very first iPhone went on sale 10 years ago today — here’s how Steve Jobs announced it

10 years ago today, June 29, 2007, was a milestone in the history of computing: The launch date of the first iPhone.

It wasn’t the first “smartphone,” or the first phone with a camera. It wasn’t the first mobile device to have a touchscreen, or to let users install apps. (In fact, the app store didn’t even launch until 2008, a year after the first iPhone was released!)

But it tied numerous disparate features together in a cohesive, well-designed whole — kickstarting a mobile revolution that has transformed the modern world.

Today’s app economy is bigger than Hollywood, and WhatsApp, Snapchat, Uber, Tinder, and more are essential parts of modern culture, collectively used by hundreds of millions of people around the globe every day. But seven years ago, none of that existed, and the iPhone’s success was by no means guaranteed.

It was announced by CEO Steve Jobs on-stage at the company’s Macworld conference on January 9, 2007. The now-iconic exec was not humble about its possibilities — calling it a “revolutionary device … that changes everything.”

Five months later, as customers queued for days, it hit shop shelves — first in the US, then elsewhere in the world.

And the rest is history.

Via Rob Price, BusinessInsider

Keep reading for the story behind the launch, and to watch the full keynote…

Jobs took to the stage in his trademark black turtleneck sweater for the now-legendary presentation in January.

Jobs took to the stage in his trademark black turtleneck sweater for the now-legendary presentation in January.

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” the executive said. “Apple’s been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.”

"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," the executive said. "Apple’s been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world."

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

“Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one: is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second: is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device”

"Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one: is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second: is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device"

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

He went on: “An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.”

He went on: "An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone."

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

The performance was carefully stage-managed — but it wasn’t all plain sailing getting there.

The performance was carefully stage-managed — but it wasn't all plain sailing getting there.

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

According to a report from The New York Times from 2013, rehearsals were plagued with technical glitches. An early iPhone engineer said that Jobs was “intense,” telling him: “‘If we fail, it will be because of you,” and “you are [expletive] up my company.”

According to a report from The New York Times from 2013, rehearsals were plagued with technical glitches. An early iPhone engineer said that Jobs was "intense," telling him: "‘If we fail, it will be because of you," and "you are [expletive] up my company."

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Apple is (in)famous for its secrecy — and Jobs reportedly even wanted contractors working on the presentation to sleep at the auditorium to prevent leaks. (In the end he was persuaded against the idea.)

Apple is (in)famous for its secrecy — and Jobs reportedly even wanted contractors working on the presentation to sleep at the auditorium to prevent leaks. (In the end he was persuaded against the idea.)

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

When it launched, The New York Times described it as “not … for everyone,” and a “gamble.” That “gamble” has propelled Apple to stratospheric heights, with the largest market cap of any country in the world today.

When it launched, The New York Times described it as "not ... for everyone," and a "gamble." That "gamble" has propelled Apple to stratospheric heights, with the largest market cap of any country in the world today.

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Revisiting the launch earlier this year, BBC tech reporter Rory Cellan-Jones wrote that he was criticised for giving what some argued was “undue prominence to a product launch.” He now feels like his coverage was probably justified.

Revisiting the launch earlier this year, BBC tech reporter Rory Cellan-Jones wrote that he was criticised for giving what some argued was "undue prominence to a product launch." He now feels like his coverage was probably justified.

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Source: BBC

Google and Apple would become bitter rivals, battling for supremacy on mobile. But Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, actually appeared on stage at the iPhone launch. He praised it as an “incredible job” that let companies like Google and Apple “merge without merging.”

Google and Apple would become bitter rivals, battling for supremacy on mobile. But Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, actually appeared on stage at the iPhone launch. He praised it as an "incredible job" that let companies like Google and Apple "merge without merging."

Eric Schmidt, right, being greeted by Steve Jobs.David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Although hyped, dozens of features iPhone owners now take for granted were nowhere to be seen at the time. No App Store, no copy-paste, no changeable background, no picture messaging, no video camera, no Siri, no notification centre, and more. It was actually pretty basic.

Although hyped, dozens of features iPhone owners now take for granted were nowhere to be seen at the time. No App Store, no copy-paste, no changeable background, no picture messaging, no video camera, no Siri, no notification centre, and more. It was actually pretty basic.

The iPhone 7. It has come a long way.Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

After two and a half years’ development, the iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007.

After two and a half years' development, the iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007.

The first iPhone, on display at Macworld in 2007.David Paul Morris/Getty Images

It went on sale in on June 29, 2007 in the United States. People queued for days outside Apple Stores to be the first to get their hands on it.

It went on sale in on June 29, 2007 in the United States. People queued for days outside Apple Stores to be the first to get their hands on it.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

It didn’t launch in the UK until months later, on November 9, 2007. People queued for it then too — and queues have since become a familiar sight at Apple’s hyped launches.

It didn't launch in the UK until months later, on November 9, 2007. People queued for it then too — and queues have since become a familiar sight at Apple's hyped launches.

Fun.Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Since then, more than 1 billion iPhones have been sold worldwide.

Since then, more than 1 billion iPhones have been sold worldwide.

Flickr/groovenite

In a statement celebrating 10 years of the iPhone earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the “iPhone is an essential part of our customers’ lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live … iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.”

In a statement celebrating 10 years of the iPhone earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the "iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live ... iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come."

Tim Cook.REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Source: Apple

Finally, here’s part of the press release that came out alongside the announcement of the first iPhone, and the full keynote:

Finally, here's part of the press release that came out alongside the announcement of the first iPhone, and the full keynote:

David Paul Morris/Getty Images


Apple Reinvents the Phone with iPhone

MACWORLD SAN FRANCISCO – January 9th, 2007

Apple today introduced iPhone, combining three products — a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, Web browsing, searching and maps — into one small and lightweight handheld device. iPhone introduces an entirely new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering new software, letting users control iPhone with just their fingers. iPhone also ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, which completely redefines what users can do on their mobile phones.

“iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone”, said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We are all born with the ultimate pointing device — our fingers — and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse”.

Via Rob Price, BusinessInsider

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