iPhone Introduced – 2007 AD

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Steve Jobs (1955–2011)

“Rarely do consumers line up two days before the release of a product—armed with sleeping bags and changes of clothes—to make sure they can buy it. But that is exactly what preceded the launch of the Apple iPhone on June 29, 2007.

The iPhone’s design and functionality changed the entire smartphone concept by bundling together capabilities that had never been married before: telephony, messaging, internet access, music, a vibrant color screen, and an intuitive, touch-based interface. Without the physical buttons that were common on other smartphones at the time, the entire surface was available for presenting information. The keyboard appeared only when needed—and it was much easier to type accurately, thanks to behind-the-scenes AI that invisibly adjusted the sensitive area around each key in response to what letters the user was forecast to press next.

The following year, Apple introduced its next big thing: specialized programs called apps, downloadable over the air. The original iPhone shipped with a few built-in apps and a web browser. Apple CEO Steve Jobs had envisioned that only third-party developers would be able to write web apps. Early adopters, however, started overcoming Apple’s security mechanisms by “jailbreaking” their phones and installing their own native apps. Jobs realized that if users were that determined to run native apps, Apple might as well supply the content and make a profit.

The Apple iTunes App Store opened in 2008 with 500 apps. Suddenly that piece of electronics in your pocket was more than a phone to make calls or check email—it became a super gadget, able to play games, manipulate photographs, track your workout, and much more. In October 2013, Apple announced that there were a million apps available for the iPhone, many of them realizing new location-based services, such as ride-sharing, dating, and localized restaurant reviews, to name a few.

While the iPhone has largely been celebrated, it has also been accused of ushering in the era of “smartphone addiction,” with the average person, according to a 2016 study, now checking his or her smartphone 2,617 times a day. Since the original release in 2007, more than 1 billion iPhones have been sold worldwide, and it still holds the record for taking only three months to get to 1 million units sold.”

SEE ALSO Touchscreen (1965), Augmented Reality Goes Mainstream (2016)

More than 1 billion iPhones have been sold worldwide since the product’s release in 2007.

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2007, iPhone

9to5 Staff. “Jobs’ Original Vision for the iPhone: No Third-Party Native Apps.” 9To5 Mac (website), October 21, 2011.

History Software Engineering

Apple Swift Programming Language Invented – 2014 AD

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Created by Apple and released on June 2, 2014, the Swift programming language helps create programs and apps for iOSmacOS, the Apple Watch, and AppleTV.

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History Networking

First Cell Phone Call – 1973 AD

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First Cell Phone Call

Martin Cooper (b. 1928)

On April 3, 1973, Motorola employee Martin Cooper did something no one else had ever done before: he made a phone call while he walked down the street. It was the first time a call had been made on a handheld cellular telephone, and its key developer decided not to call his mom but — whom else? — his chief rival at Bell Labs to rub it in. With a journalist and photographer in tow to publicize the event, and pedestrians watching slack-jawed, those first words were: “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cell phone, a real, handheld, portable cell phone.”

The call was made on Sixth Avenue in New York City between Fifty-Third and Fifty-Fourth Streets. Cooper’s only concern was whether the phone would work when he turned it on.

It took Cooper’s team just five months to build the prototype using existing technology from their research labs. Without the advent of large-scale integrated circuits, Motorola engineers had to jam thousands of inductors, resistors, capacitors, and ceramic filters in a device that would be lightweight enough to carry. The prototype weighed 2.5 pounds, stood 11 inches tall, and cost $1 million in today’s dollars to produce.

Up until then, the industry (with AT&T in the lead) had focused on placing mobile technology in the car, not in people’s hands. Cooper and his team believed that AT&T’s vision was too limited. As Cooper explained to the BBC years later in a retrospective interview, he wanted to create “something that would represent an individual, so you could assign a number not to a place, not to a desk, not to a home, but to a person.”

It would take 10 years for the prototype to be released as a commercial product, due in large part to the lack of existing towers and infrastructure that had to be built. Called the DynaTAC 8000x, it took 10 hours to charge for 30 minutes of talk time. This is the same phone Michael Douglas famously used in the movie Wall Street to talk to his desk-bound protégé while he watched the sunrise from the beach. It cost $3,995, which, adjusted for inflation, would be around $9,000 today.”

SEE ALSO: Star Trek Premieres (1966), iPhone (2007)

Martin Cooper with the first portable handset. Cooper made the world’s first mobile phone call on April 3, 1973, to his rival Joel Engel at Bell Labs.

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