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iPhone turns eight years old

It was eight years ago, on Friday, when Steve Jobsunveiled the first ever iPhone at the 2007 MacWorld conference. Thus ending years of speculation regarding whether or not Apple was working on a mobile phone.

Given how ubiquitous the handsets have become in the years since (the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold upwards of 10 million handsets in their first weekend alone), it’s easy to forget just how revolutionary the device was upon its launch, popularizing capacitive touch screens and multi-touch gestures.

iphone5“As soon as I swiped the screen for the first time, I knew a radical shift in technology had taken place,” says an Apple employee, who joined the company shortly before the phone’s release.

Like any truly great technology, the iPhone’s impact wasn’t just technical, however. The iPhone changed our idea about what a smartphone should be: carry out some computing functions, to a portable computer that also makes phone calls. It transformed the world of easy mobile Internet search, which in turn set companies like Facebook on the road to being “mobile first” businesses.

The iPhone also democratized the world of software development with the arrival of the iOS App Store, which has since paid out more than $25 billion to app-makers.

Not everyone was initially a fan, of course. “Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone,” wrote MarketWatch’s John C. Dvorak in 2007, joining a long line of doubters about new Apple products. (To his credit, Dvorak later admitted he was wrong.)


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