June 30, 2007 – The first generation of Apple’s iPhone went on sale on June 29, 2007, a full 15 years ago. 15 years on, the iPhone has been absolutely essential to Apple’s software, accessories, and service strategy. It brings consumers not only the best hardware but also the best user experience.
When Steve Jobs introduced the first-generation iPhone, he described it as three revolutionary products in one: an iPod music player, a cell phone, and an Internet communications device. The first iPhone came in one size, and the only decision users could make was whether to buy 4GB or 8GB.
Many people agree that the biggest appeal of the initial iPhone was the touch screen, which looked unrealistically futuristic. “One of the unique things about iPhone initially was that we wanted to blend software, services and hardware to create a simple, powerful and magical experience,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of product marketing. “In the first generation of iPhone, the interaction of multi-touch and press-and-release began to manifest itself.”
Fifteen years later, Apple is selling eight different models of the iPhone, five of which were introduced in the last 10 months and can support almost every major cellular carrier in the world. The iPhone is now available in a wide range of colors, sizes, dimensions and storage options, with a maximum storage capacity of even 1TB.
Over the past 15 years, it is no longer just the design and hardware specifications that define the iPhone. Today the iPhone and the iOS system that powers it have become the gateway for consumers to access Apple services like iMessage, take photos with the top-of-the-line camera, and use apps like TikTok. iPhone has become the primary tool for consumers to live, play, identify, work, and socialize.
The iPhone is also now the foundation for products such as the Apple Watch and Apple Headphones and may play a role in future Apple products such as AR glasses.
Digital services have also become an increasingly important factor in differentiating the iPhone from competing mobile devices. Apple digital services have grown rapidly in recent years with the advent of the iPhone.
Such is the case with the “Find” feature, which began in 2010. What began as a tool for locating lost iPhones has evolved into a network for finding Apple devices and virtually anything connected to Apple’s AirTag tracker. Some third-party products even have built-in support for the iPhone “Find” feature. By 2021, Apple’s “Find” network will have hundreds of millions of devices, most of which are iPhones.
A few weeks ago, Apple also unveiled iOS 16 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and enriched its Wallet app and Apple Pay service.
Most digital services need to be accessed through the iPhone. For years, the iPhone has not been inexpensive for consumers. But the recently upgraded iPhone SE gives Apple the opportunity to further expand the customer reach of its iPhone products. Its blend of the iPhone 8’s body size and the iPhone 13’s glass and processor.
“To invest and create future experiences, we put as much processing power as we can, and that’s what sets us apart from other companies,” Borchers said of the latest A15 Bionic chip built into the iPhone SE.
Apple’s cheapest and most expensive iPhones both use the same processor, which is designed to give users both an Apple Services experience. More expensive Apple phones such as the iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, feature a more modern design, a high refresh rate screen, a larger camera sensor and components such as the U1 ultra-wideband chip and LIDAR.
This means that users who spend more money can use their iPhones in more ways. for example, users can unlock and start certain cars with their iPhones, a scenario that Borchers describes as “automatic,” meaning that the iPhone works subtly in the user’s life, just as Apple headphones can switch seamlessly from iPhone to Mac seamlessly, and the Apple Watch can unlock a Mac.
Of course, iPhone growth has also had a negative impact. Antitrust concerns over the Apple App Store and mobile payments, debates over screen time, Apple’s controversial deal with the FBI, criticism that all services are locking people into the Apple ecosystem, and more recently privacy concerns around AirTags, are all growing along with the iPhone’s success. Some question whether Apple can launch another product line that is only half as successful as the iPhone. Some industry insiders point out that products like the Apple Watch and AirPod headphones are profitable in large part because they are firmly tied to the iPhone.
Over the past 15 years, the iPhone has become ubiquitous, helping Apple become a company with a market cap of nearly $3 trillion. The next-generation iPhone, expected to be released this September, will run on iOS 16, feature the latest version of Apple’s A-series processor, and continue to support the Apple Experience. In the long run, the most important thing about the future iPhone will be how it works with everything around it.