On this day in history, June 29, 2007, the first iPhone goes on sale

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Apple’s revolutionary iPhone first went on sale on this day in history, June 29, 2007, at Apple retail stores nationwide. 

All 164 Apple retail stores in the U.S. stayed open until midnight that evening so that eager customers could purchase up to two iPhones on a “first-come, first-served basis,” according to a press release by Apple on that date.

First announced on Jan. 9, 2007, by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the iPhone was considered one of Apple’s worst-kept secrets — but even so, it was arguably the most anticipated gadget of all time.

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“Prior to the unveiling at Macworld Expo, tech blogs published rumors purporting to contain details on the iPhone,” Wired said. “And days before the iPhone finally landed, [on] June 29, hundreds of fanatical consumers camped outside Apple and AT&T stores for the $600 gadget.”

The iPhone is a “revolutionary and magical product” that is “literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” Jobs said during his keynote speech.

The first iPhone introduced an entirely new user interface based on a revolutionary multi-touch display, along with pioneering new software that allowed users to control an iPhone with just a tap, flick or pinch of their fingers, according to Apple. 

“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,” Jobs also said during his keynote speech.

The first iPhone combined three products in its one small handheld device, serving as “a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod and the Internet in your pocket, with best-ever applications on a mobile phone for email web browsing and maps,” Apple said.

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Also, the original iPhone had 15 apps: Calendar, Camera, Clock, Contacts, iPod, Maps (Google Maps), Messages, Notes, Phone, Photos, Safari, Stocks, Voice Memos, Weather and Settings, according to CNET. 

The App Store opened on July 10, 2008, with 500 apps, according to CNET.

Despite drawing significant interest, the iPhone didn’t immediately charm its way into the mainstream due to its high price tag, according to Wired. 

“Just two months after the iPhone’s initial release, Apple trimmed the handset’s price down to $400,” that publication noted. 

“That helped a little, but it wasn’t until 2008 — when Apple unveiled the iPhone 3G with a new $200 price tag and access to the faster 3G network — that the smartphone exploded in popularity. Apple sold over 10 million iPhone 3G units worldwide in just five months,” it also said.

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On Sept. 10, 2007, 74 days after the launch of the original iPhone, Apple sold its millionth iPhone, according to CNET.

In 2008, only a year after its debut, Apple released a second version of the iPhone that was updated to use third-generation (3G) wireless technology.

“As with the original iPhone, demand was high, and the new iPhone 3G sold one million units in the first three days after its introduction,” said Britannica.com.

 In addition to hardware changes, the new iPhone boasted a 3-megapixel digital camera that could also record digital videos – and it had an internal digital compass, capable of working with various mapping software.

In June 2010, the iPhone 4 was introduced; it was thinner with improved battery life, and offered a 5-megapixel camera and a front-facing camera for video chat and selfies, Britannica also noted.

The iPhone 5 entered the scene in September 2012, and the 5C and the more expensive 5S were released in September 2013. 

The 5S had a fingerprint lock system called Touch ID, that site also said.

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Apple unveiled two iPhones in 2014: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both offering upgraded cameras, said ComputerWorld.

Next, in 2016, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus premiered in two new colors: Black (a matte-finish charcoal color) and the super shiny Jet Black.

Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in 2017, with a new glass and aluminum enclosure and an improved 12-megapixel camera that had a larger and faster sensor, a new color filter, deeper pixels and more capabilities, according to ComputerWorld. 

There was no iPhone 9 model released.

Also in 2017, Apple introduced the iPhone X, in which the screen covered the whole front surface of the device. 

The home button at the bottom of the iPhone was removed, and users no longer used their fingerprint but instead facial recognition to unlock their phones, according to Britannica.

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In the late 2010s and early 2020s, new iPhone models concentrated on incremental improvements to the cameras, screen resolution and processing power. “The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max (introduced in September 2019) were the first models to have three cameras on the back, the third camera being able to take ultrawide-angle pictures,” Britannica said.

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In Oct. 2020, the iPhone 12 Pro got an even larger big brother with the 6.7-in. iPhone 12 Pro Max, according to ComputerWorld. Next, in 2021, iPhone 13 and 13 mini offered users a new processor and better battery life.

The next year, 2022, Apple released the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and both models featured improved cameras and Emergency SOS via Satellite, according to CNET.

The highly anticipated iPhone 15 is expected in 2023 – likely to be released in September 2023, if Apple follows its traditional September launch timeline, according to MacRumors.

Apple is one of the most influential brands in the world and is responsible for the rise of the smartphone with the iPhone, according to The Business of Apps, which noted, “Valued at over $2 trillion in 2021, it is also the most valuable technology company in the world.”

With over 2.3 billion units sold since 2007, Apple has taken the top spot in the global smartphone market. 

Apple generated $394.3 billion revenue in 2022, with 52% coming from iPhone sales, the same site reported.

Additionally, with over 2.3 billion units sold since 2007, Apple took the top spot in the global smartphone market, with a 27.71% market share in the first quarter of 2023, according to website Bank My Cell.

As of June 2024, iPhone sales still generate around 55% of the company’s total revenue, according to The Motley Fool.

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