Today Marks 16 Years Since Steve Jobs Unveiled the First iPhone

Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new iPhone that was introduced at Macworld on January 9, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The new iPhone will combine a mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls and a internet communications device with the ability to use email, web browsing, maps and searching. The iPhone will start shipping in the US in June 2007.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new iPhone that was introduced at Macworld on January 9, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The new iPhone will combine a mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls and a internet communications device with the ability to use email, web browsing, maps and searching. The iPhone will start shipping in the US in June 2007.

David Paul Morris/Getty

Happy anniversary, iPhone.

Monday marks 16 years since late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the small touchscreen gadget to the public for the first time.

The reveal occurred during a presentation at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, with Jobs teasing a "revolutionary product" that would change "everything."

"Today we're introducing three revolutionary products," Jobs told the crowd on Jan. 9, 2007. "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."

"So, three things. A widescreen iPod with touch controls. A revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device. An iPod. A phone. An internet communicator. An iPod, a phone... are you getting it?" he continued while drawing laughs from the audience.

"These are not three separate devices," he finally revealed. "This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone."

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Before showing its design, Jobs threw his ire at the physical keyboards that were popular in most mobile phones of the time.

"[Keyboards] are there whether you need them or not to be there," Jobs said.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveils a new mobile phone that can also be used as a digital music player and a camera, a long-anticipated device dubbed an "iPhone." at the Macworld Conference 09 January, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The iPhone will be ultra-slim -- less than half-an-inch (1.3 centimeters) thick -- boasting a phone, Internet capability and an MP3 player as well as featuring a two megapixel digital camera, Jobs said.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveils a new mobile phone that can also be used as a digital music player and a camera, a long-anticipated device dubbed an "iPhone." at the Macworld Conference 09 January, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The iPhone will be ultra-slim -- less than half-an-inch (1.3 centimeters) thick -- boasting a phone, Internet capability and an MP3 player as well as featuring a two megapixel digital camera, Jobs said.

TONY AVELAR/AFP via Getty

"What we're going to do is get rid of all these buttons, and just make a giant screen," he continued, before showing the iPhone's design to the cheering audience.

The presentation can be watched here.

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Since then, the iPhone has proven to be one of the most influential devices since personal computers began making their way into homes during the late 1970s and 1980s.

More than a million first-generation iPhones were sold by September 2007, just three months after its release. The original iPhone sold more than 6 million units before its successor, the iPhone 3G, was released a year later in 2008, per Ars Technica.

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The iPhone's touchscreen design became the foundation for many rival phones that followed, and phone-makers that marketed themselves for their keyboard functionality — namely, Blackberry — have gone the way of Blockbuster.

The device has also become a mainstay in popular culture and has turned into a status symbol of sorts, which is a long way since Carrie Bradshaw gave back an iPhone in an episode of Sex and the City when she couldn't figure out how to use it.

(However, Carrie uses a 2016 iPhone 7 and a 2018 BlackBerry Key2 in the 2021 Sex and the City follow-up, And Just Like That.)

iPhones have remained so popular since their inception that a factory-sealed edition of the original was auctioned off for $39,000 in October 2022, per CNBC.

Jobs' vision of having one "giant screen" was finally realized with 2017's iPhone X, which removed the bottom home button that had been present in every iPhone since the original.

In September, Apple released its latest version, the iPhone 14.

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In the 16 years since the debut of the original iPhone, Apple brought similar technology to other devices, such as its iPad and Apple Watch lines.

Jobs — who co-founded Apple with friend Steve Wozniak on April 1, 1976 — died of pancreatic cancer on Oct. 5, 2011, at age 56.

He resigned as Apple's chief executive in August of 2011, handing the reins to Tim Cook, who is now 62.