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When Were iPhones Invented And Why? History Of The iPhone 

In September 2022, Apple released the iPhone 14 with 5G capability and a range of features that you could only dream about a decade ago. But how was the first iPhone made, and why did Steve Jobs choose to design it as he did? 

Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007, and it’s largely considered the first version of the modern smartphone. It came with a sleek design, superb storage, and other unique features. Jobs’ motivation was to reinvent the phone and make it more accessible to the general public. 

Let’s take a closer look at when the first iPhone was released, which features it had, and what motivated Steve Jobs to pioneer this now world-famous technology. 

When Was the iPhone Invented?

Working Apple iPhone 3GS and box with IOS 6

The first iPhone was released in January 2007 in the US, about 15 years after the invention of the first touchscreen mobile phone. Upon its release, the iPhone was hailed as the invention of the year due to its unique operating system, ease of use, and quality design.

The first iPhone was a huge hit in the US and marked the beginning of a new era of smartphone innovation. We’ll cover some of the basics in this article, but if you’re interested in learning more about this revolutionary product and how it has basically changed the modern world, have a look at Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs Biography, or The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, by Brian Merchant (both on Amazon).

In less than 10 months, almost a million units of the first iPhone were sold. In the early days of its release, Apple had to deal with a shortage of iPhones on the market due to skyrocketing demand. Before its release, the original iPhone was hyped so much that almost 60% of Americans were aware of its release. 

The quality of the first iPhone was considered significantly better than competing smartphones at the time. Currently, there are still a significant number of people who use the iPhone 1!

Subsequent iPhones have maintained the premium quality brand image established by the first iPhone, which is part of why the iPhone is the third most popular smartphone worldwide — despite being more expensive than many of its competitors. 

Some relatively new features offered by the iPhone when it was released included: 

  • 3.5-inch touch screen
  • Microphone
  • Internet connectivity 
  • 2.0 Megapixel rear camera
  • Built-in iPod 

While many of these features may seem redundant when compared with the current smartphones, they were revolutionary at the time. To top it off, the iPhone was based on the iOS system, which is known for its user-friendly interface. 

Who Invented the First iPhone? 

Steve Jobs led a team of Apple engineers to invent the first iPhone. He emphasized the uniqueness, ease of use, and creativity on which the iPhone was based. Steve Jobs was also the co-founder of Apple and released other revolutionary Apple products like the Macintosh, iPad, and iPod. 

When Steve Jobs released the first iPhone, he described it as a combination of the iPod, an internet communicator, and a smartphone. While other smartphones had similar versions at the time, the iPhone was the first smartphone that integrated these feathers seamlessly into a single system. 

At the iPhone’s release, Steve Jobs claimed that the iPhone was at least 5 years ahead of its time. Considering its hype and features, it’s clear that the iPhone was more technologically advanced than its competitors. 

When Jobs released the first iPhone, he marketed it as a premium phone, and later versions of the iPhone were built using the same concept. 

Was the iPhone the First Smartphone? 

Guy with working Apple iPhone 3GS in hand with IOS 6

While it was certainly a revolutionary development, the iPhone wasn’t actually the first smartphone. The first smartphone was invented almost 15 years before the iPhone, in 1992. This was the first phone to feature a touchscreen, but it wasn’t released into the market until 1994 by IBM. 

The SPC (Simon Personal Communicator) was officially the first smartphone to be sold in the market. Although the touchscreen was its most unique feature, the device was also able to send emails and faxes. It even had a touch keyboard, address book, and other unique features that set the device apart.

The iPhone doesn’t hold the record for being the first device with internet capabilities either. In 2001, antenna phones started to offer internet capabilities, but this was extremely restricted and unaffordable for most users. 

The iPhone 1 is credited as being the first smartphone with full 3G capabilities, making it much easier for users to access the internet. It was also the first smartphone to have the sleek design of modern smartphone models, and it had 8GB of storage space and an 8-hour battery capacity. 

So, while Steve Jobs didn’t reinvent the wheel by releasing the first iPhone, he is credited with improving the smartphone in a way that makes it accessible to the general population. The iPhone 1 is therefore seen by many as being the first smartphone of the modern smartphone era. 

What Was the Price of the iPhone 1? 

The starting price of the iPhone 1 was $499 for a 4GB model, which was significantly more than many other smartphone models available at the time. The 8GB version of the iPhone 1 sold for $599 and was one of the first smartphones to offer 8GB storage space. 

When adjusted for inflation, the 4GB version of the first iPhone would now cost around $600. Used iPhone 1’s are obsolete and sometimes sell for less than $2 online. These are mostly kept by collectors and tech enthusiasts. However, unboxed pieces are a collector’s dream and can sell for up to $20,000. 

While there was some skepticism regarding the pricing of the iPhone 1 when it came out, it seems to be more reasonably priced when looking back at its unique design and revolutionary features. While subsequent models were also fitted with additional features, many of these weren’t as revolutionary as the original iPhone’s. 

In fact, pricing is one of the main criticisms of current iPhones since users claim a lack of innovation in each new model. Despite this, the iPhone continues to be the most popular smartphone brand in many countries and has the highest gross sales of any smartphone brand worldwide. 

Can You Still Use an iPhone 1?

You can still use an iPhone 1, even though its iOS isn’t supported by Apple anymore. Nevertheless, even used iPhone 1s are surprisingly effective, and many people have claimed that most of the features work smoothly despite the hardware being outdated for more than a decade. 

While you can still use the touchscreen, network, and certain apps on the iPhone 1, some features, such as YouTube and other apps, won’t work since they can’t be updated. Let’s look at which of the key features of the iPhone 1 still work and which have become obsolete: 

iPhone 1 Features That Still Work

  • Display: While the 3.5-inch screen feels tiny compared to modern smartphones, it was considered big at the time. So, it’ll feel pretty small now, but it should still work (if you’ve taken care of it). 
  • Wireless Connectivity: You can still access the internet through WiFi, but you’ll have to wait almost a minute for most websites to load. 
  • Operating System: Even though iOS 1 is outdated, the operating system still works. That said, your phone won’t be smooth, and it takes a long time to start. 
  • Storage: Yes, you can still store contacts, pictures, emails, and other data on the iPhone 1, but you’ll only have 4GB of space. 
  • Camera: A 2 Megapixel camera takes blurry pictures, but it’s still better than most CCTV cameras! 

iPhone 1 Features That Don’t Work

  • 2G Network Access: Unless it’s an exceptional case, you won’t be able to connect to the internet with your 2G SIM on the iPhone 1. 
  • YouTube: While the YouTube app can open, it doesn’t load any videos because of software incompatibility. 
  • Third-Party Apps: According to Apple’s tradition, you can’t install third-party apps on the iPhone 1 (unless you manage to jailbreak it). 
  • Other Apps: The iPhone 1 doesn’t support many major apps unless they were preinstalled since the App Store was only released in 2008. 

So, even though you can still use the first iPhone, it will be like working with a fax machine or another type of outdated technology. At the time, it may have been groundbreaking technology, but it’s currently best kept in a museum or historical tech collection. 

Why Did Steve Jobs Invent the iPhone? 

Steve Jobs

When it comes to why the first iPhone was invented, there are several different opinions out there. Some claim it was Steve Jobs’s innovative mind and ability to identify a market opportunity. Others claim that he simply wanted to reinvent the phone (which he himself said), and some people tell the story of how Job’s hatred for a Microsoft employee motivated him. 

So, why exactly did Steve Jobs create the iPhone? 

The answer is a combination of different viewpoints. Let’s look at Steve Jobs’ vision and what motivated him in detail. 

Steve Jobs Wanted to Reinvent the Phone 

Regardless of his primary motivation, what led to the invention of the iPhone was Jobs’ vision of reinventing the phone.

Steve Jobs wanted to make the smartphone more accessible and easy for customers to use. He was all about promoting usability, and two of his greatest inventions — the iPod and iPhone, were testament to this. 

Steve Jobs himself claimed that the main feature he wanted to improve was the phone’s design. The iPhone 1 was one of the first phones that had a touchscreen and was small enough to fit in a pocket. Earlier smartphones were massive and could easily be considered tablets by today’s standards. 

This focus on design improvement certainly paid off, and the iPhone paved the way for newer smartphones using a similar design. 

Steve Jobs Recognized the Smartphone Threat 

Another motivating factor for building the first iPhone was the fact that Steve Jobs was worried that the iPod would become obsolete. Many phone companies were trying to combine several features that were present in different devices, and this could be the end of the iPod. 

If users could have the same features on their phones, why would they need a separate iPod? 

This led to the invention of the iPhone, which Jobs himself described as a combination of the phone, iPod, and internet device. No wonder Jobs was so focused on maintaining a sleek design for the iPhone. 

The ‘Real’ Motivation for Inventing the iPhone

If you ask Scott Fortstall, a designer who worked under Jobs, the primary motivation behind the iPhone was Steve Jobs’ hatred for a Microsoft employee who would constantly taunt him for lack of creativity at Apple. 

This sparked a fire within Steve Jobs, and the rest is history.