On June 29, 2007, Apple officially launched the iPhone, which the company described as “a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, maps, and searching.”
Technically, the device was announced five months earlier on January 9, but work and manufacturing needed to be finalized before it was ready for primetime. Once it did launch, though, it began a revolution, and to this day remains one of the world’s most important products.
Rather than completely revisit the device—we’ve already done that—we thought it would be fun to glance back at what Apple’s website looked like soon after the original iPhone was announced. It’s full of descriptions and marketing speak that sound downright ancient by today’s standards.
Here is Apple’s introductory paragraph in full:
iPhone combines three products—a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, maps, and searching—into one small and lightweight handheld device. iPhone also introduces an entirely new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering new software, letting you control everything with just your fingers. So it ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, completely redefining what you can do on a mobile phone.
Of course, that describes literally every smartphone that’s released today. But it goes to show how much our perception of what a smartphone can be has changed. It’s especially funny how Apple marketed its iPhone as a widescreen iPod, a device that has all but faded into oblivion.
What’s even funnier is, when I look back at what features Apple highlights on its website, the iPhone hasn’t changed as much as we thought. Sure, the industry has made strides in hardware, but iOS more or less remains the same as it did ten years ago. The part describing the original iPhone as a “breakthrough internet device” is particularly rich.
iPhone features a rich HTML email client and Safari—the most advanced web browser ever on a portable device—which automatically syncs bookmarks from your PC or Mac. Safari also includes built-in Google and Yahoo! search. iPhone is fully multi-tasking, so you can read a web page while downloading your email in the background over Wi-Fi or EDGE.
Back then, the iPhone’s software wasn’t even called iOS. In fact, on its website, it simply refers to the software as OS X.
We recently revisited the original iPhone to see what’s changed over the last decade, and it’s crazy to see how ahead of its time the device was—at least as an idea. As a piece of hardware, it still left a lot to be desired. I mean, just look at the device’s specs in the gallery above. How did owners of the original iPhone deal with a 2-megapixel camera?
After ten years of offering the iPhone, Apple may be on the verge of its biggest release yet. In addition to the expected iteration of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the company is rumored to release an iPhone Edition (or iPhone 8), which is said to feature a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge display, wireless charging, advanced biometrics, and even better cameras.
The iPhone is no longer the most revolutionary smartphone on the block, but there’s no doubt it’s had a huge and lasting impact on the mobile industry.