Long before Apple announced the iPhone at Macworld in 2007 in San Francisco, the rumor mill was chockablock with reports that Apple working on a device.
But even in the face of hype and expectation, the debut was a smash success.
CNET's Declan McCullagh, who was on hand for the launch on January 9, 2007, wrote that "the slender device runs Mac OS X -- "a software breakthrough," adding that the use of the full-fledged operating system, was "five years ahead of what's on any other phone."
Consumers got a chance to make up their own minds a month later when the device when it went on sale June 29, 2007.
Steve Jobs spoke to developers about the iPhone's capabilities at the World Wide Developers' Conference in San Francisco on June 11, 2007, just a couple of weeks before the hotly anticipated phone went on sale. Google's Eric Schmidt was in attendance, seen on the left looking deep in thought. Was he already planning Android?
Steve Jobs touted Apple's iPhone success at Macworld 2009, saying 17 million units had been sold through the end of 2008. For comparison's sake, consider that in the second fiscal quarter of 2012 alone, Apple sold more than 35 million iPhones.
The iPhone ushered in a new era of marketing hype for Apple, with retail stores around the country holding lavish customer appreciation events, marked by employees welcoming customers with energetic applause as Apple's newest version of its flagship phone went on sale for the first time.
CNET's commentary from the iPhone launch in 2007 describes the phone as "...also a music device that shows album art. "It's a video iPod and a regular iPod, plus a phone. And it's widescreen when you hold it in landscape mode, on its side," Jobs said."
Despite all the accolades, Apple did encounter trouble after announcing the iPhone 4. Some users reported problems with signal strength, complaining of dropped calls when they held the lower left edge of the iPhone. After dragging its feet, the subsequent uproar forced Apple to hold a special session for the media to discuss antenna issues with the iPhone 4, an episode that would become known as "antennagate." Steve Jobs, who hosted the press conference, announced that Apple would offer free bumpers to all iPhone 4 owners.
At the unveiling of the iPhone 3G in San Francisco, a demo of Major League Baseball's At-Bat on the device showed real-time video highlights from a Yankees-Royals game. Many applications are expected to be free through Apple's App Store, although some games are expected to cost around $9.99.
So many developers were interested in the iPhone as a potential platform for their applications that Apple sold out its June Worldwide Developers Conference for the first time in its history.