In the first 30 minutes of Apple’s Macworld 2007 keynote in early January, Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. Just an hour later, however, the tech press and eager fans learned they’d have to wait until June to actually get their hands on one. Fifteen years ago, that wait was over.
With June 29, 2007 marking a milestone in the history of not just smartphones, but consumer technology as a whole, we thought it would be fun to see how this fledgling device evolved into the most established smartphone on the planet, serving up a handful of facts gleaned from the 15-year history of the iPhone’s existence.
The iPhone Really Missed Its First Sales Target
During the iPhone launch in 2007, Jobs said the company aimed to sell 10 million units, equivalent to 1% of the mobile phone market at the time. Despite the successful launch on time and with generally positive reviews, (according to statist (opens in new tab)), the original iPhone sold just 1.39 million units in 2007 and a total of 6.2 million devices before being discontinued in July 2008.
Apple did not own the ‘iPhone’ brand at launch
Apple had been talking to networking giant Cisco for years before the iPhone’s launch in an effort to block trademark rights. Cisco took ownership of the iPhone name when it acquired a company called InfoGear in 2000, which in turn trademarked the ‘iPhone’ name in 1996 (as reported by CNBC (opens in new tab)).
According to the editor-in-chief of in the US, Lance Ulanoff, at the time speculation began to arise about possible alternatives that Apple might have to settle for if a deal with Cisco could not be closed. Suggestions like ‘Apple Phone’ and even ‘Steve Phone’ were apparently considered; however, Apple and Cisco resolved their dispute in late February 2007, just four months before the iPhone was released to market.
The iPhone didn’t launch with the App Store or a selfie camera
While nowadays the idea of having an iPhone without an App Store is unthinkable, that’s exactly how the original device hit the market. It wasn’t until July 10, 2008, that the App Store launched, when it only featured 500 apps.
Today there are 1.96 million apps on the App Store (according to statist (opens in new tab)) and this was after Apple eliminated all 32-bit apps that are no longer compatible with iOS.
Other notable iPhone items also took time to materialize: the iPhone 4 was the first in the lineup to receive a front-facing camera; Siri didn’t arrive until 2011, as part of iOS 5 on the iPhone; and the iPhone’s signature Lightning Port didn’t replace the 30-pin connector – popularized by the iPod – until 2012’s iPhone 5.
The iPhone 13 is up to 3.2 times more expensive than the original iPhone, but at least 53 times more powerful
The original iPhone – with its 4GB of storage – is $499 on a two-year AT&T plan in the US (the 8GB model is $599), while the current iPhone 13 lineup ranges from $599. 699 to $1,599 – this is for the entry-level 128GB iPhone 13 Mini and high-spec 1TB iPhone 13 Pro Max respectively. As prices go up, that’s not too bad, especially considering how far the features and performance have come.
Speaking of performance, be damned with Moore’s Law; based on numbers Gadget Versusthe A15 Bionic chipset from the iPhone 13 lineup is approximately 53 times more powerful in single-core comparisons compared to the underclocked RISC ARM 1176JZ(F)-S v1.0 SoC within the original iPhone and, understandably, the gains provided by multi-core architecture further expands the chasm.
Apple has sold more than 2.8 billion iPhones to date.
While Apple has not officially released worldwide iPhone sales figures since November 2018 — when the total officially stood at 2.2 billion — multiple sources (as compiled by app business (opens in new tab)) set the units sold, by the end of 2021, at a total of 2.8 billion iPhones.
According to Counterpoint Search (opens in new tab)Apple also currently holds 62% of the premium smartphone market and the top four spots for the most popular phones on the market (as of April 2022), worldwide.
What does the future hold for the iPhone?
While it’s clear that Apple has made some monumental strides in the iPhone’s illustrious history so far, it’s also no secret that a successor is already waiting in the wings.
Our iPhone 14 hub has all the latest updates from the next line of iPhones, including leaks, rumors and news.