15 years ago today the device that changed the world was introduced!

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The world changed on this date 15 years ago. On January 9th, 2007, Steve Jobs told a crowd at San Francisco’s Moscone West that  Apple was going to reinvent the cellphone. Well, with all due respect to the late Apple co-founder, Jobs was wrong. For perhaps the only time in his life, Jobs undersold an Apple product as the iPhone didn’t merely represent a major disruption to the smartphone industry.

Once the iPhone was announced, it became a conversation piece even months before the product was to be shipped. Before January 9th, 2007, there were smartphones of course, and perhaps the coolest one was Nokia’s N95 which was introduced roughly four months before the iPhone. That might have been the first smartphone to set off handset envy and it did sell 10 million units its first year.

Apple shipped 6.1 million iPhone units during the device’s first year

And there were other devices like the Motorola Q, and of course, BlackBerry had its Pearl device on shelves in 2006. But Steve Jobs did a masterful job of demonstrating why these devices were dinosaurs and how features such as a touchscreen, and multi-touch, made his new phone much more versatile than current devices. And while not everyone who wanted an iPhone could afford it, or wanted to switch to AT&T (which had an exclusive in the U.S. until iPhone 4), there were enough manufacturers working on developing an “iPhone killer” for AT&T competitors such as Verizon.

Apple sold 6.1 million units in the first year, but actually spotting someone with a smartphone in public was still a rarity. Actually, the most popular phone at the time was not a smartphone but was the Motorola Razr, the clamshell flip phone which was mostly kept in one’s pocket until a call needed to be made. The pieces were in place for a major shift, but it wasn’t until 2010 when all of a sudden, everyone you saw on the street was carrying a smartphone.

In the U.S., the nation’s largest carrier, Verizon, inked a deal that allowed the company to sell the iPhone to its customers who for years were desperate to find an iPhone killer. And throughout the world, lower-priced Android phones became available sporting capabilities similar to, or just as good as what you’d find on the iPhone. So beginning in 2010, you couldn’t avoid walking on a busy city street as other pedestrians passed you by either in the middle of a conversation, checking something on the internet, or viewing streaming content on their phone.

Before 2007, the smartphone was a luxury item that was nice to have. After the introduction of the iPhone, when the public saw what a smartphone could do, it became a “must-have” tool for work, school, and play. By installing applications, a consumer could have his smartphone be whatever he needs it to be.

The World changed 15-years ago today

But without the iPhone leading the way and showing the world how using a touchscreen and an App Store makes a smartphone more versatile, the emergence of the smartphone era might never have happened. And to think that just 15 short years ago, this all started at Macworld when Steve Jobs held the iPhone aloft for all in attendance to see.

NOTE: Some of you will bring up the old LG Prada-iPhone debate. If we were trying to determine which phone was the first touchscreen handset, this might be an important topic to discuss. But we are simply pointing out the 15th “birthday” of the device that changed the world and that describes the iPhone, not the LG Prada.

So here we are, 15-years later, and the iPhone is stronger than ever. It has successfully taken on all challengers, gone through several iterations, faced haters, and has been embraced by fans. Just walk through a busy mall, restaurant, or city street and you can see that smartphones remain a must-have device that help consumers work, play, and enjoy entertainment.

And none of this happens without the introduction of the iPhone 15 years today. Happy Birthday iPhone, wishing you many more.

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