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Development of what was to become the iPhone began in 2004, when Apple started to gather a team of 1000 employees to work on the highly confidential "Project Purple", including Sir Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iPhone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs steered the original focus away from a tablet, like the iPad, and towards a phone. Apple created the device during a secretive collaboration with AT&T Mobility—Cingular Wireless at the time—at an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months.
Apple rejected the "design by committee" approach that had yielded the Motorola ROKR E1, a largely unsuccessful collaboration with Motorola. Instead, Cingular gave Apple the liberty to develop the iPhone's hardware and software in-house and even paid Apple a fraction of its monthly service revenue (until the iPhone 3G), in exchange for four years of exclusive US sales, until 2011.
Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007, at the Macworld 2007 convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The two initial models, a 4 GB model priced at US$ 499 and a 8 GB model at US$ 599, went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007, at 6:00 pm local time, while hundreds of customers lined up outside the stores nationwide. The passionate reaction to the launch of the iPhone resulted in sections of the media dubbing it the 'Jesus phone'. The 1st generation iPhone was made available in the UK, France, and Germany in November 2007, and Ireland and Austria in the spring of 2008.
Before the release of the iPhone, handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola were enjoying record sales of cell phones based more on fashion and brand rather than technological innovation.The iPhone however fundamentally changed the industry, with Steve Jobs proclaiming in 2007 that "the phone was not just a communication tool but a way of life". The dominant mobile operating systems at the time such as Symbian, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Mobile were not designed to handle additional tasks beyond communication and basic functions, iPhone OS (renamed iOS in 2010) was designed as a robust OS with capabilities such as multitasking and graphics in order to meet future consumer demands. These operating systems never focused on applications and developers, and due to infighting among manufacturers as well as the complex bureaucracy and bloatness of the OS, they never developed a thriving ecosystem like Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play. Rival manufacturers have been forced to spend more on software and development costs in order to catch up to the iPhone. The iPhone's success has led to a demise in high-end fashion phones and business-oriented smartphones such as Vertu and BlackBerry, respectively.
Worldwide iPhone availability:
iPhone was available since its original release
iPhone was available since the release of iPhone 3G
On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six. Apple released the iPhone 3G in upwards of eighty countries and territories. Apple announced the iPhone 3GS on June 8, 2009, along with plans to release it later in June, July, and August, starting with the US, Canada and major European countries on June 19. Many would-be users objected to the iPhone's cost, and 40% of users have household incomes over US$100,000.
Three generations of iPhone, shown from behind. Left to right: 1st gen, white 3GS, black 4.
The back of the original 1st generation iPhone was made of aluminum with a black plastic accent. The iPhone 3G and 3GS feature a full plastic back to increase the strength of the GSM signal. The iPhone 3G was available in an 8 GB black model, or a black or white option for the 16 GB model. The iPhone 3GS was available in both colors, regardless of storage capacity.
The iPhone 4 has an aluminosilicate glass front and back with a stainless steel edge that serves as the antennas. It was at first available in black; the white version was announced, but not released until April 2011, 10 months later.
The iPhone has garnered positive reviews from such critics as David Pogue and Walt Mossberg. The iPhone attracts users of all ages, and besides consumer use, the iPhone has also been adopted for business purposes.
Users of the iPhone 4 reported dropped/disconnected telephone calls when holding their phones in a certain way. This became known as antennagate.
On January 11, 2011, Verizon announced during a media event that it had reached an agreement with Apple and would begin selling a CDMA2000 iPhone 4. Verizon said it would be available for pre-order on February 3, with a release set for February 10. In February 2011, the Verizon iPhone accounted for 4.5% of all iPhone ad impressions[vague] in the US on Millennial Media's mobile ad network.
From 2007 to 2011, Apple spent $647 million on advertising for the iPhone in the US.
On Tuesday, September 27, Apple sent invitations for a press event to be held October 4, 2011, at 10:00 am at the Cupertino Headquarters to announce details of the next generation iPhone, which turned out to be iPhone 4S. Over 1 million 4S models were sold in the first 24 hours after its release in October 2011.Due to large volumes of the iPhone being manufactured and its high selling price, Apple became the largest mobile handset vendor in the world by revenue, in 2011, surpassing long-time leader Nokia. American carrier C Spire Wireless announced that it would be carrying the iPhone 4S on October 19, 2011.
In January 2012, Apple reported its best quarterly earnings ever, with 53% of its revenue coming from the sale of 37 million iPhones, at an average selling price of nearly $660. The average selling price has remained fairly constant for most of the phones lifespan, hovering between $622 and $660. The production price of the iPhone 4S was estimated by IHS iSuppli, in October 2011, to be $188, $207 and $245, for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, respectively. Labor costs are estimated at between $12.5 and $30 per unit, with workers on the iPhone assembly line making $1.78 an hour.
In February 2012, ComScore reported that 12.4% of US mobile subscribers use an iPhone.Approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the US alone.
On September 12, 2012, Apple announced the iPhone 5. It has a 4-inch display, up from its predecessors' 3.5-inch screen. The device comes with the same 326 pixels per inch found in the iPhone 4 and 4S. The iPhone 5 has the soc A6 processor, the chip is 22% smaller than the iPhone 4S' A5 and is twice as fast, doubling the graphics performance of its predecessor. The device is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S, measuring 7.6mm, and is 20% lighter at 112 grams.