The 10 biggest moments in the history of iPhone

On Jan. 9, 2007, Apple introduced the world to the iPhone. With its all-touch interface and sleek design, the iPhone took a very different approach to the smartphone, which had been defined by front-runners like BlackBerry.

Ten years later, the iPhone is perhaps the most important device launched this century. It made smartphones a must-own device, and helped to transform how we live. Practically everything we do is through a smartphone, and the iPhone is a big reason for this shift.

So how did we get here? Here's a look at the 10 most important moments in the iPhone's history.

1. Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone

During a keynote at the MacWorld expo in 2007, the co-founder and CEO at the time says the concept was inspired by computers, with bitmap screens that could display any user interface and a pointer like the mouse. That's why the iPhone ditched keyboards. As for the pointer, Jobs opted for the pointing device "we're all born with": our fingers. This is also the moment we learned Jobs really hated using a stylus.

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A 4GB model (yes, a smartphone with 4 GB of storage really existed) sold for $499, and the 8 GB model sold for $599 when they launched in the U.S. in June 2007. Roughly two months after launch, Apple had sold 1 million iPhones.

2. Apple launches App Store

The launch of the iPhone 3G also marked the debut of the App Store, where users could download third-party applications, either free or paid. Apps like Shazam and Pandora were among the early hits. Remember games like Tap Tap Revenge? It got its start on the App Store, too. Downloads topped 10 million during the App Store's opening weekend.

Last year, Apple revenue App Store downloads topped 130 billion. It's the reason why many of us can't let go of our smartphones.

3. The birth of Android

With the touchscreen and app store, smartphone makers like BlackBerry and Palm struggled to compete with Apple. Then Google decided to create its own smartphone operating system, called Android. It launched in September 2008 with the T-Mobile G1 before other smartphone makers including HTC, Motorola and most notably Samsung jumped on board. Android is now Apple's chief rival when it comes to choosing a smartphone operating system. Android and iOS represent a 98% share of the worldwide smartphone market, according to IDC.

4. Antennagate

When the iPhone 4 launched in 2010, several consumers reported issues where the signal would quickly drop when you covered part of the steel band encasing the device. Apple confirmed "Antennagate" was a real thing, urging consumers to avoid gripping the lower left corner of the phone to avoid drops in reception. Apple would offer free cases and full refunds to customers who no longer wanted the phone because of the reception problems. Steve Jobs called the problems with the antenna overblown. "Maybe everybody thought we were perfect and that it would be fun to jump on this," Jobs said during a 2010 press briefing. "We're not perfect, but we figure it out pretty fast."

5. Verizon jumps on board

Remember when the iPhone was only available on AT&T? After more than 3 years after launch, the iPhone would finally make its debut on Verizon's network, with the iPhone 4. Later than year, the iPhone would launch on Sprint's network, followed by T-Mobile in 2013.

6. Siri makes her debut

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Before Alexa and Google Assistant, Apple brought its digital voice assistant to life through the iPhone 4S in 2011. Siri could answer basic questions, and integrated with third-party apps like Google Maps. There was also that fun moment where you could ask Siri where to hide a body. Ask Siri now? "Very funny," it responds.

7. The September events

Like the start of the NFL season or fall TV, everyone knows it's September when you hear the first details of Apple's special iPhone event. They started this in 2013 with the unveiling of the iPhone 5 and 5C. It works masterfully: host an event followed by the launch of the new phone two weeks later.

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8. The rise of Samsung Galaxy

Apple already had a clear rival in Google when it comes to smartphone software. But it wasn't until Samsung rolled out its Galaxy line that the tech giant found a real competitor in hardware. The electronics giant offered several features, including larger screens, giving consumers a tough decision on choosing a smartphone. We can also thank Samsung in part for the next big moment on this list.

9. Touchscreen goes big

As competitors started to expand the sizes of their smartphone touchscreens, Apple followed suit with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Originally at 4 inches, the iPhone touchscreen grew to 4.7 inches on the iPhone 6 and 5.5 inches on the iPhone 6 Plus.

10. Apple vs the FBI

The iPhone became center of a battle over privacy and security when the Federal Bureau of Investigation urged Apple to unlock a smartphone owned by one of the gunmen in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. Apple refused, claiming it would create a back door impacting any one with an iPhone. The FBI eventually found a way to bypass the locked iPhone, but has yet to reveal how it broke in.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.


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