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January 9, 2007: iPhone introduced at Macworld Expo, five years ago


As we bid goodbye to this January 9, amidst the CES chaos, we pause to remember. It was five years ago today that Steve Jobs announced the very first iPhone, at the annual Macworld keynote, and very much changed the world.

It might seem like a long time ago, but before the (long rumored) iPhone finally came into existence, cell phones were clunky, confusing devices. Many of them did have email and Internet access -- if you could figure out how to get to it. Mobile devices in general were smaller, less useful versions of their larger counterparts, and yet most of us just went ahead and lived with things like text-only mobile web browsers, or menu interfaces that were cluttered and laggy.

Then the iPhone was announced -- and at first, it was like an artifact from another civilization. We discovered what a smartphone could really be: A touchscreen (with no stylus!) attached to a surprisingly powerful and thin package.

The first iPhone didn't have all the sophistication of the iOS devices we enjoy today (no iOS SDK or App Store, because web apps were good enough for everyone, right?) but the core principles stated by Steve Jobs at the announcement are still around. The iPhone is still extremely powerful for its time, very simple and intuitive to use, and, above all, just works.

Apple is also a very different company, and being here at CES this week would be a very different experience if not for the iPhone and that original Macworld announcement. So today we remember the very first official news of the iPhone, how much it has changed the world in the last five years, and how we all happily anticipate that it will continue to do so.

You can watch the announcement below; it's still powerful, and now bittersweet knowing that Steve would not survive to see the iPhone's fifth birthday.

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