iPhone turns 5 this year

The Economist

Original poster
Apr 4, 2011
When the iPhone was introduced, I think it's safe to say that no one had an idea of what was to come; just consider that the App Store was launched over a year after the iPhone was made available.

My first thought was: it's way too expensive. The device was expensive and the plans were also expensive. I said I wouldn't own one in the foreseeable future and to this day I still don't own one, but that's going to change later this year when my contract expires and I sign a new contract for a free 3GS and $35/month plan. Or maybe I'll just pay a little bit of money for an entry–level iPhone 4.

I'm wondering what were your first impressions of the first iPhone? Did anyone here owned one? Where do you think the iPhone and iOS are headed?



macrumors 603
Oct 18, 2011
Apple iPhone World
For me, it all started when iPhone 3G was released so I can't express my impression on the first generation iphone, and plus the first generation and the second generation was not much different. Only changes was the exterior and the 3G and that's about it. I didn't even think I'd owned a smartphone back then, considering that the iphone 1st generation was expansive and there was no subsidized pricing for the iphone 1st generation.

To be honest, I had the ipod touch first generation so didn't feel like having an iphone. Well my sister wanted one so off we go to the store and buy her an iphone 3G. Well I ended up getting one as well to see what the hype was about.

From my experience, I loved using the iphone and has always been using the iphone. Starting from 3G, then the 3G S, then 4, and now 4S. Of course I don't know what my plans are when the next generation iphone comes about but I may just hold it off until my contract is up.

moldy lunchbox

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2010
Raleigh, NC
It came out when I was in the middle of high school so I wasn't in the target market. Infact, only 1 kid in any of my classes had one and the teacher pretty much stopped class a couple times to comment on it. We all thought he was rich. Infact, I think for awhile I thought anyone who had an iPhone was rich. Granted, I was only 16 but still, $600 plus an expensive contract seemed completely out of perspective.

I had a Palm Treo 650, which was pretty expensive at the time for a 16 year old and I thought it was better overall than the iPhone or so I kept telling myself. :D "How can anyone type on that portrait keyboard with no buttons?"

I watched the original keynote and thought it was a cool device, but couldn't ever see myself with one. Then the 3G and iPod Touch came out in 2008 for a lower price, around then I kinda lost interest in technology so I didn't really notice (sounds weird). I got a 3GS in 2010, then haven't looked back.

I couldn't see myself without an iPhone right now. I've been from prepay phone-to-smartphone-to-featurephone-to-NoPhone-to-iPhone.


macrumors member
Jan 2, 2012
When the first iPhone came out, I'll admit I thought it was dumb. I had a phone, and I had an iPod. Why did I need these in the same device?
Then a friend of mine got one, and after I checked it out I decided I had to have one. So I got a 3g, now I have a 4. I'd be lost without an iPhone now, and I can't see myself getting any other kind of phone ever again! <3 :apple:


Jun 18, 2010
The rumors of an iPod phone was going on for years, but the first time I ever saw a picture of it was on PhoneScoop.

I was just amazed by its design based inside and out. Cover flow was just amazing for its time and iPhone still has the best way at browsing for your music. I thought the first iPhone was the best thing Apple ever created. They made my dream phone. But then I saw the price at $499-$599 and wasn't sure about getting one just yet since it was just Generation 1 which is usually plagued with problems and didn't have the best features I wanted like a great camera. But I waited and waited for months. I would even watch the iPhone commercials on my PSP over and over. I had iPhone envy for months.

First time I saw one in person was when I was walking near Grauman's Chinese Theater and some guy in a suit was holding it. First time I ever held one in my hand, I was in the Apple Store at South Coast Plaza around October. I saw it again the next month in another Apple Store in San Diego. But around this time, I had conflicting feelings for Apple since my iPod 5G broke after 18 months and just didn't like Apple / Jobs' arrogance. And remember, the first iPhone had many basic features missing and didn't have the App Store yet. Also, jailbreaking wasn't that easy to do yet in 2007. I remember having a choice between the iPhone 2G vs Nokia N82 and I chose the latter in January 2008 because I needed a camera. While it was a better cameraphone and all, I realize now that the iPhone 2G was the better device overall because of the OS and apps even if I felt it was extremely overpriced for its time.

When I got an iPod touch in July 2008, I was amazed at the jailbreaking scene. I ended up getting my brother's iPhone 2G around Nov since my mom didn't like the ringer on it. Then jailbroke it, used it for 19 months and then sold it to use the money for the iPhone 4. Then 16 months later on Oct 5 of 2011 , I ended up getting a second hand iPhone 2G on CL for $90 and it was in pristine condition. Better than my first one. I remember the first time I surfed on it and opening up GSMArena. That was the first time I read that Steve Jobs died. This was just after I saw 50/50 which is about cancer. For some reason that week, I wanted to get another iPhone 2G. I still feel it was destiny for me to get an iPhone 2G the day he died like if SJ was giving me his Jedi mind trick just hours before he died.

On January 9th of this year, I decided to use the iPhone 2G for a day. Still a solid device and holds up well after almost 5 years. Obviously, I would rather use my 2010 smartphones since they are faster, have better features, and have more RAM, but the iPhone 2G is still better than any other phone that came out in 2007. Many all-touchscreen phones were still using the clunky resistive screens back in 2007. That first iPhone was a gamechanging product. A classic and collector's item. One of the all-time great phones ever even with all its flaws early on.


macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
At the time, I was looking at getting a pda phone that played music. Imagine my horror when I found out that really wasn't possible. So then I looked at getting both the pda-phone and an ipod. It didn't seem like a very elegant solution, but I decided I would buy it after a few months. While I was waiting, I saw headlines introducing the iphone. Intrigued, I went over to Apple's site and watched the keynote.
Holy guacamole:eek:
Of course, I was going to buy it. Since I was already saving money to buy the pda-phone and ipod combo, I was already well on my way to saving up for the iphone. By the time it was released, I had more than enough to get the 8 GB model.
I got in line with everyone else. I took my iphone home and it was damn near perfect. Although it took a while for the hackers to break in, I got custom ringtones on my phone. At the time, it was about the only thing I was interested in hacking.
If I hadn't gotten drunk one night and somehow drowned my phone, I'd have kept it a while longer. But that's another story...:eek:
Last edited:


Jun 18, 2010
An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator.

The first iPhone keynote was Steve Jobs' pinnacle as a master showman. Greatest Apple keynote ever. And it worked like magic!

A blast from the past article I remember reading five years ago...

Apple's New Calling: The iPhone
By LEV GROSSMAN Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007

The iPhone developed the way a lot of cool things do: with a notion. A few years ago Jobs noticed how many development dollars were being spent—particularly in the greater Seattle metropolitan area—on what are called tablet PCs: flat, portable computers that work with a touchscreen instead of a mouse and keyboard. Jobs, being Jobs, figured he could do better, so he had Apple engineers noodle around with a better touchscreen. When they showed him the screen they came up with, he got excited. So excited that he thought he had the beginnings of a new product.

Jobs had just led Apple on a triumphant rampage through a new market sector, portable music players, and he was looking around for more technology to conquer. He found the ideal target tech sitting on his hip. Consumers bought nearly a billion of cell phones last year, which is 10 times the number of iPods in circulation. Break off just 1% of that and you can buy yourself a lot of black turtlenecks. Apple's new iPhone could do to the cell phone market what the iPod did to the portable music player market: crush it pitilessly beneath the weight of its own superiority. This is unfortunate for anybody else who makes cell phones, but it's good news for those of us who use them.

Cell phones do all kinds of stuff—calling, text messaging, Web browsing, contact management, music playback, photos and video—but they do it very badly, by forcing you to press lots of tiny buttons, navigate diverse heterogeneous interfaces and squint at a tiny screen. "Everybody hates their phone," Jobs says, "and that's not a good thing. And there's an opportunity there." To Jobs's perfectionist eyes, phones are broken. Jobs likes things that are broken. It means he can make something that isn't and sell it to you for a premium price.

That was why, two and a half years ago, Jobs sicced his wrecking crew of designers and engineers on the cell phone as we know and hate it. They began by melting the face off a video iPod. No clickwheel, no keypad. They sheared off the entire front and replaced it with a huge, bright, vivid screen—that touchscreen Jobs got so excited about a few paragraphs ago. When you need to dial, it shows you a keypad; when you need other buttons, the screen serves them up. When you want to watch a video, the buttons disappear. Suddenly, the interface isn't fixed and rigid, it's fluid and molten. Software replaces hardware.

Into that iPod they stuffed a working version of Apple's operating system, OS X, so the phone could handle real, non-toy applications like Web browsers and e-mail clients. They put in a cell antenna, plus two more antennas for WiFi and Bluetooth; plus a bunch of sensors, so the phone knows how bright its screen should be, and whether it should display vertically or horizontally, and when it should turn off the touchscreen so you don't accidentally operate it with your ear.

Then Jonathan Ive, Apple's head of design, the man who shaped the iMac and the iPod, squashed the case to less than half an inch thick, and widened it to what looks like a bar of expensive chocolate wrapped in aluminum and stainless steel. The iPhone is a typical piece of Ive design: an austere, abstract, platonic-looking form that somehow also manages to feel warm and organic and ergonomic. Unlike my phone. He picks it up and points out four little nubbins on the back. "Your phone's got feet on," he says, not unkindly. "Why would anybody put feet on a phone?" Ive has the answer, of course: "It raises the speaker on the back off the table. But the right solution is to put the speaker in the right place in the first place. That's why our speaker isn't on the bottom, so you can have it on the table, and you don't need feet." Sure enough, no feet toe the iPhone's smooth lines.

All right, so it's pretty. Now pick it up and make a call. A big friendly icon appears on that huge screen. Say a second call comes in while you're talking. Another icon appears. Tap that second icon and you switch to the second call. Tap the big "merge calls" icon and you've got a three-way conference call. Pleasantly simple.

Another example: voicemail. Until now you've had to grope through your v-mail by ear, blindly, like an eyeless cave-creature. On the iPhone you see all your messages laid out visually, onscreen, labeled by caller. If you want to hear one, you touch it. Done. Now try a text message: Instead of jumbling them all together in your in-box, iPhone arranges your texts by recipient, as threaded conversations made of little jewel-like bubbles. And instead of "typing" on a four-by-four number keypad, you get a full, usable QWERTY keyboard. You will never again have to hit the 7 key four times to type a letter S.

Now forget about phone calls. Look at the video, which is impressively crisp and plays on a screen larger than the video iPod's. This is the first time the hype about "rich media" on a phone has actually looked plausible. Look at the e-mail client, which handles attachments, in-line images, HTML e-mails as adroitly as a desktop client. Look at the Web browser, a modified version of Safari that displays actual Web pages, not a teensy crunched-down version of the Web. There's a Google map application that's almost worth the price of admission on its own.

Weaknesses? Absolutely. You can't download songs directly onto it from the iTunes store, you have to export them from a computer. And even though it's got WiFi and Bluetooth on it, you can't sync iPhone with a computer wirelessly. And there should be games on it. And you're required to use it as a phone—you can't use it without signing up for cellular service. Boo.

The iPhone breaks two basic axioms of consumer technology. One, when you take an application and put it on a phone, that application must be reduced to a crippled and annoying version of itself. Two, when you take two devices—such as an iPod and a phone—and squish them into one, both devices must necessarily become lamer versions of themselves. The iPhone is a phone, an iPod, and a mini-Internet computer all at once, and contrary to Newton—who knew a thing or two about apples—they all occupy the same space at the same time, but without taking a hit in performance. In a way iPhone is the wrong name for it. It's a handheld computing platform that just happens to contain a phone.

Why is Apple able to do things most other companies can't? Partly by charging for it: The iPhone will cost $499 for a 4GB model, $599 for 8GB, which makes it expensive, but not a luxury item. And partly because the company has highly diverse talent who are good at hardware, software, industrial design and Internet services. Most companies just do one or two things well.

Unlike most competitors, Apple also places an inordinate emphasis on interface design. It sweats the cosmetic details that don't seem very important until you really sweat them. "I actually have a photographer's loupe that I use to look to make sure every pixel is right," says Scott Forstall, Apple's vice-president of Platform Experience (whatever that is). "We will argue over literally a single pixel." As a result, when you swipe your finger across the screen to unlock the iPhone, you're not just accessing a system of nested menus, you're entering a tiny universe, where data exist as bouncy, gemlike, animated objects that behave according to consistent rules of virtual physics. Because there's no intermediary input device—like a mouse or a keyboard—there's a powerful illusion that you're physically handling data with your fingers. You can pinch an image with two fingers and make it smaller.

To witness the iPhone launch from behind the curtain (or under the towel) is to see the controlling hand of Steve Jobs, for whom this is an almost mystically significant year. He's 52 years old. It's been 30 years since he founded Apple (with Stephen Wozniak), and 10 since he returned there after having been fired. In that decade Apple's stock has gone up more than 1,000%. Neither age nor success (nor cancer surgery in 2004) have significantly mellowed him, though some of the silver in his beard is creeping into his hair. All technologists believe their products are better than other people's, or at least they say they do, but Jobs believes it a little more than most.

Jobs's zealousness about product development— and enforcing his personal vision—remains as relentless as ever. He keeps Apple's management structure unusually flat for a 20,000-person company, so he can see what's happening at ground level. There is just one committee in the whole of Apple, to establish prices. I can't think of a comparable company that does no—zero—market research with its customers before releasing a product. Ironically, Jobs's personal style could not be more at odds with the brand he has created. If the motto for Apple's consumers is "think different," the motto for Apple employees is "think like Steve."

The same goes for Apple's partners. The last time Apple experimented with a phone, the largely unsuccessful ROKR, Jobs let Motorola make it, an unsatisfying experiment. "What we learned was that we wouldn't be satisfied with glomming iTunes onto a regular phone," Jobs says. "We realized through that experience that for us to be happy, for us to be proud, we were going to have to do it all."

Apple's arrogance can inspire resentment, which is one reason for some of the glee over Jobs's stock options woes: taking pleasure in seeing a special person knocked down a peg is a great American pastime. (Jobs declines to talk about the options issue.) But there's no point in pretending that Jobs isn't special. A college dropout, whose biological parents gave him up for adoption, Jobs has presided over four major game-changing product launches: the Apple II, the Macintosh, the iPod, and the iPhone; five if you count the release of Pixar's Toy Story, which I'm inclined to. He's like Willy Wonka and Harry Potter rolled up into one.

That doesn't mean Apple can operate beyond the boundaries of the Securities and Exchange Commission, but the iPhone wouldn't have happened without Apple's "we're special" attitude. One reason there's limited innovation in cell phones generally is that the cell carriers have stiff guidelines that the manufacturers have to follow. They demand that all their handsets work the same way. "A lot of times, to be honest, there's some hubris, where they think they know better," Jobs says. "They dictate what's on the phone. That just wouldn't work for us, because we want to innovate. Unless we could do that, it wasn't worth doing." Jobs demanded special treatment from his phone service partner, Cingular, and he got it. He even forced Cingular to re-engineer its infrastructure to handle the iPhone's unique voicemail scheme. "They broke all their typical process rules to make it happen," says Tony Fadell, who heads Apple's iPod division. "They were infected by this product, and they were like, we've gotta do this!"

Now that the precedent has been set, it'll be interesting to see if other cell phone makers start demanding Apple-style treatment from wireless carriers. It'll also be worth watching to see how successful they'll be in knocking off the iPhone's all-screen form factor, which will be very difficult without Apple's touchscreen technology. Apple has filed for around 200 patents associated with the iPhone, building an imposing legal wall. Considering the size of the market, the stakes are high. The phone market is, of course, divided into armed camps by carrier, and so far the iPhone is exclusive with Cingular. Apple has sold 100 million iPods worldwide, but Cingular has only 58 million customers. Apple expects to launch the iPhone abroad in the fourth quarter of this year.

It's not quite right to call the iPhone revolutionary. It won't create a new market, or change the entertainment industry, the way the iPod did. When you get right down to it, the device doesn't even have that many new features—it's not like Jobs invented voicemail, or text messaging, or conference calling, or mobile Web browsing. He just noticed that they were broken, and he fixed them.

But that's important. When our tools don't work, we tend to blame ourselves, for being too stupid or not reading the manual or having too-fat fingers. "I think there's almost a belligerence—people are frustrated with their manufactured environment," says Ive. "We tend to assume the problem is with us, and not with the products we're trying to use." In other words, when our tools are broken, we feel broken. And when somebody fixes one, we feel a tiny bit more whole.
iPhone Commercials (2007)

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
Washington DC
I watched the keynote the day it came out and that alone was what convinced me to buy some Apple stock. I knew that no one else had anything close to that in 2007 and that Apple would sell a ton of them. I'd seen many Apple product unveilings, but I knew this one was different. Unlike the Mac, this was finally an Apple computer that people didn't have to switch away from something to buy. All those Windows users out there could just buy one.

That said, the first one was too expensive for what it did, so I didn't buy one that year. Once they added the app store and let AT&T subsidize it, it suddenly did a lot more for a lot less.

I jumped in with the 3G in 2008 and have never looked back.


macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2010
Carnegie and Ontario
I personally jumped in when the 3GS came out in 2009, but my older brother had the Original right when it came out and he would let me use it albeit in small increments. He made me watch the original keynote and I was in love but could not afford one until I bought the 3GS. Now I have an iPhone 4 and I cannot wait for what Apple reveals next. :apple:


macrumors 68040
May 14, 2008
I picked up a 2G iPhone about 2 or 3 months before the 3G iPhone came out. I picked up one via Craigslist and I've been a fan ever since. The updates have been slow, but steady and to my liking as well. Hopefully the next iPhone has a bigger screen.


macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
Tampa, Florida
I was struck when it was introduced at how massive a leap Apple had taken in the smartphone world. I resolved to get one as soon as I could reasonably afford one, because as a User Interface geek, I had to have something as stunningly beautiful and natural as it. I bought mine after the September price drop, back when a 4GB iPhone for $299 was a great deal :p

As the years have gone by, I have been amazed at just how well the original iPhone has aged. I finally replaced it as my phone with an iPhone 3GS, then a 4, and now a 4S. I still have my original around, and still use it occasionally as an iPod. Apple hit upon a beautiful and functional external design layout for the iPhone in 2007 - it is amazing just how little its external features have changed in the last five years. The original iPhone is still a great little phone, even after all this time. I have unlocked mine and use it as an international travel phone. I still love the feel and look of it - it's classy and high-end.

I'm not sure that Apple really *needs* to change all that much about the iPhone, whether in its physical form factor or general dimensions. It's a great device, it always has been, and will probably continue to be for years to come. I can't wait to see what future iPhones look like - I'm sure they'll be Insanely Great!



Jun 18, 2010
Thanks guys, I really enjoyed reading your experiences.Thanks Savor for the small article, it was a good read!
No problem!

The first iPhone might not have been my favorite one ever. Most people will just end up picking the latest one as their favorites because of the most cutting edge features and specs. The latest is the greatest to them. And the first iPhone probably sold the least being how expensive it was for its time even with the $200 price cut two months later and being available on ONE American carrier.

I think by 3Gs with a beefier specs and more RAM is when I felt the first iPhone should have been. That is the bare minimum for me. While the 3G was the first to reach the mass audience with a more consumer-friendly $199 price tag with contract. The first iPhone didn't even have a video recorder and you needed to get an app via Cydia with bad frame rates to get one. There is an official one at the App Store and it is still as bad as Cycorder.

But it had the best build quality out of them all and most unique to its design. When it comes to the greatest iPhone ever, the first one was the greatest one. The others that followed was just evolutionary including my favorite model and current ALL-TIME best-selling one, the iPhone 4. I guess it is like the Star Wars when it comes to comparing the originals vs the prequels. Even with the flaws of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, most people regard them as the true classics. ANH for the revolutionary leap in special effects and TESB for the best overall.

The original iPhone was revolutionary since nobody saw an interface like that before packaged in a beautiful design and such a responsive multi-touch screen. Its impact was far greater to the market than the others that followed it.



macrumors 68020
Oct 23, 2008
I absolutely love the matte aluminum back. It looks wonderful, even today compared against all those new superphones. It also felt really great in your hands. I hope Apple returns to the aluminum. I love the design of the iPad 2 as well, it's like a giant first generation iPhone, so Ive's still got it :) .

It's also pretty amazing how Apple managed to pull of such a fluid and responsive OS five years ago. Android superphones still have trouble reaching that level of fluidity after all this time. The iPhone changed the industry. I remember Jobs saying it was 5 years ahead of its time. Well, it wasn't. But it would have been if Apple just kept it for themselves and never release it.

The only company that managed to pull of a similar experience is Microsoft with WP7. It's even more fluid and responsive than iOS, even on two year old hardware. It lacks in a lot of other areas compared to the competition, but they have more potential than any other OS.

Btw: if Apple would ever release some sort of anniversary edition of an an iPhone 2G limited edition with current hardware, I'd buy it in a heartbeat :) .


macrumors regular
Mar 11, 2011
I anted one when iPhone first arrived. I remember I was extremely envious of a guy at work who had one just wasn't in my price range at the time. Now I own an iPhone 4s my first iPhone and I'm loving it