iPhone at 10: Fascinating Facts About the Apple Phone on its Birthday

Photo: Featured Image Credit: David Paul Morris / Getty Images

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the first generation iPhone, a device that revolutionized consumer technology. On June 29th, 2017, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs took to the stage at the MacWorld Expo in order to unveil the smartphone, with it going on to help catapult Apple into one of the top 10 highest-earning companies in the world.

On its tenth anniversary, let’s take a look at a selection of fascinating facts from the iPhone’s history.


The first ever iPhone prototype was made in 1983.

Apple had its eyes on smartphones as early as the ’80s, with computer developer Hartmut Esslinger being tasked by Apple to create a landline phone with features reminiscent of what we would later see in the iPhone and iPad.

Equipped with a stylus and touchscreen, the phone wasn’t exactly a looker and it was never released to market, but it’s interesting to see evidence of the process behind the creation of Apple’s revolutionary device.



It was code named the M68.

Unsurprisingly, Apple didn’t want anyone to know about the iPhone before it had been revealed. As such, they adopted a code name for the device: the M68. This is how all Apple employees would refer to the upcoming smartphone, though this isn’t the only preventative measure Steve Jobs put in place to ensure word of the device wouldn’t spread…

Even Apple’s employees didn’t know what it would look like.

Yes, Jobs was so secretive about the iPhone that he ensured even his own employees wouldn’t be able to leak conclusive details about it. Refusing to give hardware developers information about the device’s software, and software developers no information regarding its hardware, many Apple employees were just as curious as viewers of its reveal event about what the phone would look like.

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Greg Packer was the first person to buy the iPhone.

Greg Packer, a “professional line sitter,” is widely recognized as the first person to purchase the first generation iPhone. Packer spent four days camping outside the 5th Avenue Apple Store to be the first to get his hands on the smartphone, alongside a sign asking passersby for donations.


Steve Jobs unveiled the device with a classic quote.

By now we’re all abundantly aware of Apple’s penchant for hyperbole, but back in 2007 Steve Jobs confidently changed the way Silicon Valley would stage their product reveals forever.

Taking to the stage at MacWorld 2007, Jobs said: “Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one: is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second: is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. An iPod, a phone… are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.”

The announcement was met with a huge ovation from attendees, though one figurehead of a major Apple rival was left unconvinced…

Steve Ballmer said the iPhone had “no chance.”

At the time of the iPhone’s announcement, Microsoft’s then-CEO Steve Ballmer famously slammed the new device. In an interview with USA Today, he said: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”

Steve Ballmer later went on to make one of Microsoft’s most costly mistakes, with him buying out the struggling smartphone firm Nokia. The move was eventually branded a “$7.6 million mistake,” highlighting Ballmer’s poor grasp of the smartphone market.

Steve Jobs made a prank call when first revealing it.

During the iPhone’s reveal event Steve Jobs made a prank call to Starbucks, ordering 4,000 lattes for its attendees.

Watch the prank call below:

The time on iPhone ads is always 9:41.

The time on all photos advertising the iPhone reads 9:41, in reference to the time that the device was announced by Jobs.

The App Store had 500 apps when it first opened.

For comparison, the App Store currently has around 2.2 million apps.

Apple always liked Bono.

When Apple automatically downloaded U2’s album Songs of Innocence onto users’ iTunes libraries, they were widely criticized. But, that wasn’t the first time that Bono had covertly inserted himself into an Apple product. Up until 2005, the music icon displayed on iPhone products featured the silhouette of the U2 frontman.