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Where we were when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, 7 years ago today


Seven years ago today, Steve Jobs delivered the performance of a lifetime. Brimming with confidence, charisma and a touch of humor, Jobs on January 9, 2007, introduced to the world, for the first time, the iPhone.

Since then, Apple has cumulatively sold hundreds of millions of iPhones to users across the globe. It's no understatement to proclaim that the iPhone fundamentally changed the way we use and interact with technology, ushering in a new era of exciting technological innovation in the process.

In light of the iPhone anniversary, I asked some of the kind folks here at TUAW a few questions about where they were when Jobs graced the stage at Macworld and said bon voyage to the mobile QWERTY keyboard.

1. Where were you and what were you doing when Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone?

2. What were your first impressions of the device?

3. How many iPhones have you owned?

Here are their answers. And oh yes, please feel free to add in your own experience/thoughts/memories of the iPhone unveiling in the comments below.

Steven Sande

1) I was in the audience at the keynote that day, and let me tell you that the Reality Distortion Field was turned on high that day.

2) After seeing the iPhone close up (there was one in a rotating glass column that crowds were packed around), my first impression was that it seemed so "clean". No keyboard on it, it just looked like a little black slab. At the time, I was using a Palm Treo 650 (it's now in my museum of ancient technology) and it immediately looked like an archeological relic compared to the iPhone. I knew it was going to be special; I had no idea that it was going to revolutionize the smartphone world and spawn a huge industry of app and accessory developers.

3) I've owned eight iPhones. iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, two iPhone 3GS (I lost one of them!), iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s

Michael Rose

1) Although it was my first Macworld Expo as a member of team TUAW, I could not attend in person. I was looped in via phone with Laurie Duncan, who was standing at the edge of a keynote overflow room and excitedly feeding me details. "They're calling it the iPhone," she said, but it was hard to hear her over the roar of the audience.

2) I was skeptical of the soft keyboard. But as a successor to the world-beating iPod? I knew it would have legs. It wasn't until the debut of the App Store months later that I actually got a sense for how deep the iPhone ecosystem's impact might be.

3) I've carried an original, a 3G, a 4S and now a 5 (all business/company owned). My wife has a 4, and there's an original iPod touch somewhere in the house.

Dave Caolo

I was glued to my computer, watching and writing for TUAW. All I knew was that I wanted one. It was the first mobile phone I ever owned.

Chris Rawson

1. I honestly don't remember what I was doing that day. I remember what I was doing the day it became available, but not announcement day. Probably freezing various body parts off at Kent State.

2. The device Apple announced that day was everything I had always wanted out of a mobile phone. Everything. I refused to ever own anything lesser than what the iPhone promised. I knew I was moving to New Zealand in a year, though, so signing a contract with AT&T (barf) was out of the question. The price tag (once they announced it) put me off anyway; at the time, even with a contract it was more expensive than a PlayStation 3, a device I was certain I'd get more use out of it for my money. (Seven years later, my iPhone is essentially an extension of my brain, and my PS3 has been dead and boxed up in a closet for a year).

3. The iPhone 3G was my first, followed by the iPhone 4, 4S, and my current iPhone 5.

Victor Agreda Jr

1. Hunkered down at the Marriott next to Moscone in SF, coordinating our coverage :) (we sent David Chartier to stand in line at 4am IIRC)

2. Having recently started using a fairly nice at the time BlackBerry, I knew this was going to be huge. Even the keyboard! Although my biggest concern was Flash on Safari.

3. I bought my little brother's iPhone (original) from him but had already jumped in with the 3GS. Then a 4, 4S, now a 5 (and I'll be waiting for the 6 now).

Kelly Hodgkins

1. In 2007, I had five children under the age of six. Needless to say I was not at Macworld for the unveiling, nor was I watching it from afar. In fact, chances are good that I was changing a diaper and scrubbing crayon off the wall.

2. I only was mildly interested in the iPhone, mainly because AT&T/Cingular did not have coverage in my area. Why get all excited for a phone when you can't even have it? I definitely didn't see then how it would reinvent mobile browsing, kickstart mobile shopping and create the mobile app industry.

3. I have purchased every iPhone since it launched, but the first one I owned was the iPhone 4. I make the distinction because though I purchased the early iPhone models to see what everyone was talking about, I couldn't keep them -- not having coverage is a major hindrance to using them. It was a wonderful day when the iPhone 4 finally landed on Verizon. I've owned every Verizon iPhone model since then. I now have an iPhone 5s.

Erica Sadun

1. I was typing. A LOT. Very, very fast. In raw html. I may also have been *squeeing*.

2. I wanted one. Wasn't sure I was going to buy one at that point, but I knew I wanted one. This wasn't my first trip to the cell phone rodeo, and I had a much more affordable plan with Qwest at the time.

3. I have owned a *lot* of iPhones and other iOS devices. Mostly for development and tech writing.

Mel Martin

1. Following breathlessly on the web

2. Pretty excited. I had a Windows Phone at the time, which was just awful. (Can you say 'crash'?) The iPhone was a breath of fresh air but seemed pretty limited in a lot of areas. Even my crummy Windows phone had real apps. 2G seemed another mis-step, but everything else was so revolutionary I jumped and holding my nose moved back to AT&T from Verizon.

Ilene Hoffman

1. This is the year that Apple Computer, Inc. became Apple, Inc. I was at the keynote under the auspices of another Mac site for which I wrote. Of the keynote, I wrote in a blog post, "The Apple, Inc. Keynote at Macworld Expo left a number of users less than thrilled. While many users salivated at the thought of an Apple phone, it seems that the two-product focused Keynote speech left many users wanting. Snippets of discussions overheard included comments that devout Mac users wanted to see some new Macintosh product announcements."

2. I thought it was a sleek looking device, but was more excited to see Kevin Smith at Macworld.

3. My first and only iPhone is the iPhone 4. It's still in pristine condition and going strong.

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