This Day in History (9-Jan-2007) – Steve Jobs debuts the iPhone

In April 2003 at the “All Things Digital” executive conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs expressed his belief that tablet PCs and traditional PDAs were not good choices as high-demand markets for Apple to enter, despite many requests made to him that Apple create another PDA. He did believe that cell phones were going to become important devices for portable information access, and that what cell phones needed to have was excellent synchronization software. At the time, instead of focusing on a follow-up to their Newton PDA, Jobs had Apple put its energies into the iPod, and the iTunes software (which can be used to synchronize content with iPod devices). On September 7, 2005, Apple and Motorola released the ROKR E1, the first mobile phone to use iTunes. Jobs was unhappy with the ROKR, feeling that having to compromise with a non-Apple designer (Motorola) prevented Apple from designing the phone they wanted to make. In September 2006, Apple discontinued support for the ROKR and released a version of iTunes that included references to an as-yet unknown mobile phone that could display pictures and video.

On 9th Jan 2007, At the Macworld convention in San Francisco Steve Jobs offered public the first glimpse of what he introduced as three devices in one: a touchscreen iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. As he spoke, “Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone…are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” The device was launched six months later.

In November 2007—by which point more than 1.4 million iPhones had been sold—Time magazine named the sleek, 4.8-ounce device, originally available in a 4GB, $499 model and an 8GB, $599 model, its invention of the year. The iPhone went on sale in parts of Europe in late 2007, and in parts of Asia in 2008. In July 2008, Apple launched its online App Store, enabling people to download software applications that let them use their iPhones for games, social networking, travel planning and an every growing laundry list of other activities.


This Day in History (19-May-2001) – Apple Inc. Opens its First Retail Store

On Saturday, May 19, 2001, Apple Inc. opened its first retail store in the US, at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia. Steve Jobs, the then CEO had hosted a press event earlier that week at the Tysons Corner Center mall announcing the opening of 25 retail stores in 2001. The other retail store that Apple launched on the same day was at Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California. According to Jobs, the retail stores were designed to give Apple customers an amazing experience. He said “The Apple stores offer an amazing new way to buy a computer. Rather than just hear about megahertz and megabytes, customers can now learn and experience the things they can actually do with a computer, like make movies, burn custom music CDs, and publish their digital photos on a personal website.

Upon launch, the Apple retail stores carried every Apple product and over 300 third-party software titles to be bought off-the-rack. The store salespeople were demonstrated Macs powered with applications such as iTunes and iMovie. The newly launched Mac OS X operating system was available for customers to experience firsthand. All the Macs on display were connected to the Internet.

On May 19, over 500 fans lined up at about 4 am EDT to be among the first customers. By the time the store opened at 10 am, they had started to chant “Apple, Apple, Apple”. On the opening day, security guards kept a close watch over the people entering the store since local regulations limited store capacity to 80 people. In the first two days, the Apple retail stores welcomed over 7700 people and recorded the sales of over $599,000 worth of merchandise. On the opening day, Apple customers found the following message in their shopping bags, “This store is our way of personally introducing you to the Apple way of life. At Apple, we are committed to building a community where knowledge can be shared freely.”

In that age of uncertainty, many thought Apple’s dip into retail waters was an act of supreme foolishness. But as Apple is wont, they did it anyway. The choice turned out to be a wise one indeed.