In this feature, we aim to explore some of the interesting facts about iPhone, based on excerpts from several books and articles.
We first met the iPhone in January 2007, when then-Apple boss Steve Jobs took to the stage and announced a new "widescreen, touch-controlled iPod, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device". But they were not three devices, they were one: the iPhone.
Envisionated by Apple’s design guru Jony Ive and masterminded by Jobs, the iPhone was the first mobile phone to do a touchscreen really well.
While the iPhone has become a core symbol of our modern tech, there are some interesting facts about it that most likely don’t know. For example, did you know It took Apple 74 days to sell the first million iPhones?
Here are 10 interesting iPhone facts you didn’t know in 2024.
Apple first started thinking about releasing a phone about five years before it launched.
It has been seventeen years since the iPhone went on sale, but the idea behind the product had been kicking around Apple for about five years before that.
Steve Jobs first started thinking about developing a phone in 2002, in part because he knew that mobile products would get more and more features and eventually make the iPod obsolete, according to a 2008 article from Wired.
It wasn’t until 2005, however, that the company took its first big step towards putting out a phone…
Apple originally wanted to work with Motorola on the iPhone.
Jobs originally reached out to Motorola to develop a phone, based on the company’s success with the Razr. The result of that was the Motorola ROKR E1, which Jobs unveiled in September, 2005. But according to the Wired article, Jobs knew it was a bad product well before that. In February of that year, Jobs reached out to Cingular (not yet acquired by AT&T) at a top secret meeting and pitched them on a phone that Apple would build itself.
Steve Jobs considered ditching the carriers and creating its own wireless network for the iPhone.
Steve Jobs apparently thought long and hard about the possibility of releasing a phone without a major carrier. According to wireless guru John Stanton who talked with him about it, Jobs was looking for ways to "create a carrier using Wi-Fi spectrum." Jobs gave up the idea around 2007 and brokered a multi-year exclusivity contract with AT&T instead.
At one point, Apple actually thought about calling the iPhone, "iPad."
Before Apple settled on the name iPhone, the company toiled over several names for the device including one familiar choice: iPad. That’s according to Insanely Simple, a book published in 2012 by Ken Segall, who worked with Steve Jobs for years producing advertisements for the company.
Apple didn’t realize that Cisco had already trademarked the name "iPhone."
Once Apple settled on the name, there was just one problem: Cisco already owned the trademark for "iPhone."
Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 when it acquired Infogear, a small Redwood City, Calif., start-up that developed consumer devices that allowed people to access the Internet without a PC. Infogear had actually registered the iPhone trademark in March 1996.
Adam Lashinsky’s book Inside Apple details how Steve Jobs pressured Cisco and its chief development officer Charles Giancarlo to give up the rights to the name, but offered nothing in exchange. When Cisco refused, Apple released the phone under the name iPhone anyway, and Cisco sued the company the next day. A few weeks later, Jobs managed to get Cisco to back down.
From Lashinsky’s book:
"Giancarlo said Jobs called him at home at dinnertime on Valentine’s Day, as the two sides were haggling. Jobs talked for a while, Giancarlo related. "And then he said to me, ‘Can you get email at home?’ " Giancarlo was taken aback. This was 2007, after all, when broadband Internet was ubiquitous in homes in the US, let alone that of a Silicon Valley executive who had worked for years on advanced Internet technology. "And he’s asking me if I’m able to get email at home. You know he’s just trying to press my buttons–in the nicest possible way." Cisco gave up the fight shortly after that. The two sides reached a vague agreement to cooperate on areas of mutual interest.
The original iPhone almost shipped with a physical keyboard.
Tony Fadell, who oversaw Apple’s iPhone and iPod hardware development, revealed in an interview with The Verge in 2012 that Apple seriously considered putting a physical keyboard on the original iPhone. Apple didn’t end up going this route, but according to Fadell, it was a "heated topic."
The original iPhone launched without an App Store because Jobs didn’t want to deal with third party developers.
The App Store has been a huge success for Apple, but the original phone launched without it, not because Apple hadn’t thought of it, but because Jobs just didn’t like the idea.
Despite pressure from other Apple executives, Jobs "didn’t want outsiders to create applications for the iPhone that could mess it up, infect it with viruses or pollute its integrity," according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs. Once the phone was released, however, Jobs was more willing to have a discussion about how to do it right.
The original iPhone got pretty mixed reviews in the beginning.
CNET wrote that missing features from the device, most notably the lack of 3G, "leaves users wanting more." David Pogue at theInside Applewent event further and described the device as "revolutionary, but flawed," noting that the original iPhone "lacks features found on even the most basic phones."
Apple killed off the 4 GB version of the iPhone after just three months on the market and slashed the price.
Apple initially launched a 4 GB version of the original iPhone for $499 and an 8 GB version for $599, but this pricing strategy clearly wasn’t as effective as the company had hoped. Apple ended up killing the 4 GB version of the iPhone less than three months after it launched. At the same time, the company slashed the price of the 8 GB version by $200.
It took Apple 74 days to sell one million iPhones.
The iPhone didn’t take off right away. It took Apple 74 days to sell the first million iPhones and the company ended up selling a little under 1.4 million phone units in 2007 overall. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also nothing compared to the 97.7 million iPhone units Apple sold in 2023. However, the iPhone sales did start to accelerate once the company lowered the price.
Today, Apple’s iPhone business alone is the most profitable business in the world.
Apple was the most profitable company in 2023, yielding just under $100 billion of net income.