By: Michael Carey
Welcome to Apple Apex Throwback.
This column is a spin-off of Apple Apex – the biggest need-to-know stories for fans of everything Apple.
AAT highlights a particular Apple product each week whether it be a flagship product, an accessory, or something you may have never heard of.
Check back regularly to see what you can learn about Apple’s past.
iPhone (1st Generation)
Date Revealed : January 7th, 2007
Pricing – $499 for 4GB, $599 for 8GB, $499 for 16GB (2008)
Carrier : Cingular (exclusive deal)
Colors : Slate
Performance : Samsung 32-bit ARM CPU
Memory : 128MB RAM
Screen : 3.5 Inch, 320×480 Display, 163PPI
Camera (1) – 2MP rear facing camera, no flash
Supported USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, 30-pin “iPod” Connector
This Changes Everything
The iPhone 2G is “the phone that changed phones forever” according to late CEO Steve Jobs. When the iPhone was first revealed in January 2007, it was met with such fanfare. It was rumored for years that Apple was developing a phone. Apple did technically already have a few phones previously including the iTunes Phone (Motorola Rokr) in 2005.
Apple wanted to design, engineer, and produce a phone that was at least five years ahead of anything on the market. The design of the phone was groundbreaking – no keyboard, a great camera (for the time), a 3.5″ display, and a simple design. Many phones on the market at the time had designs that were far from what the iPhone looked like. Many phones on the market at the time had clunky plastic keyboards, and “baby software” as Steve Jobs kindly put it.
The smartphone market at the time was wide, but peppered with badly designed phones, with horrible UI. Many of the phones on the market, including the PalmOne and Moto Q, were designed for email usage, and light web browsing. Steve Jobs envisioned a “computer in your pocket” that would deliver a full web browsing experience in the palm of your hand. iPhone OS (later changed to iOS) was centered around one page – the Home page. This single page featured everything you needed in one space, meaning that you didn’t have to scroll or swipe or go through more applications to find what you wanted. Common items today, such as Multi-Touch, pinch-to-zoom, copy and paste, and inertia scrolling, were all “WOW” factors in 2007.
Immediately after the announcement, the hype for the iPhone was through the roof. Fans were eager to place their orders for the “phone that would change phones forever”. Apple and wireless carrier Cingular (later bought by AT&T) struck a deal to give Cingular the exclusive rights to the iPhone The iPhone was made available for purchase in June of 2007. The somewhat popular practice of camping out at stores for new products became mainstream with the first iPhone. Because of the well-documented problems with Sony’s PlayStation 3, including stores being robbed before midnight, Apple hired specialized security guards to ensure no iPhone got out early.
According to Statista, the iPhone (1st generation) sold nearly 5 million units worldwide before the debut of the iPhone 3G, which brought 3G speeds at a lower price point. According to Apple, when surveying those who did not buy an iPhone, the $499 price tag was too hard to justify.
Did you know?
According to Gizmodo, The iPhone keynote in 2007 was actually used with broken prototypes. When Apple announced the keynote in January, they anticipated that the iPhone would be functioning and ready – but that wasn’t the case. The iPhone was nowhere near ready – the iPhone prototypes that were going to be used in the keynote were crashing, unresponsive, and broken.
This threw Apple engineers into a frenzy – until they came up with a patch for the problem. Steve Jobs would present the iPhones as planned but was told to follow VERY strict instructions via a pre-made book. Engineers tested the iPhones hundreds of times to try and find a step-by-step process that wouldn’t result in a phone crashing on stage and causing an embarrassment. Jobs had a handful of iPhones connected to the projector and would strategically put the phones down, talk with his hands for a few moments, and then grab another iPhone in case one had a memory or performance issue.
For example, the iPhone couldn’t play an entire song – only clips of a song before risking crashing. Once they nailed down a very strict procedure (dubbed “The Golden Path”) for demoing the phone, Jobs was given the all clear to be able to demo the units.
To ensure that the iPhone was at its best condition, Jobs contacted Cingular to bring a portable cell tower to ensure that the iPhone was always running at full bars (Steve also pre-programmed the phone to always show five bars).
In addition, an article posted by Apple Insider discusses how Apple engineers backstage and in the audience, were drinking during the entire event thanks to anxiety and nerves. Engineers and managers were downing Scotch. If someone had a responsibility for creating a feature that went smoothly during the demonstration, they would take a shot. After the presentation went smoothly, the team celebrated with… more drinking
You can watch the history making keynote down below :
Thank you for checking out Apple Apex Throwback.
Disclaimer – Michael Carey and WHIP Radio are in no way affiliated with Apple.
Michael is an award-winning radio host at WHIP Radio. He has been a staple host on WHIP’s Wake Up Call, and has recently occupied the role of Program Director for the station.