Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 3G

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iPhone 3G
The iPhone 3G was a big hit for Apple.
Photo: Apple

thursday_9 In the music industry, they talk about the “difficult second album.” Fortunately that didn’t hold true when it came to Apple releasing its highly successful second-gen iPhone, which it unveiled for the first time on June 9, 2008.

Adding GPS, 3G data and a higher-quality build than its predecessor, the iPhone 3G was arguably just as revolutionary for what it did on the software side. iOS 2 arrived at the same time, and introduced push email, turn-by-turn navigation and, most significantly of all, an App Store — something Steve Jobs had previously been adamant Apple would’t allow.

Check out the debut of the iPhone 3G below.

Unfortunately, there was a sad side to the iPhone 3G launch at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2008. For many onlookers, this was the first time they noticed the extreme weight loss that was a byproduct of Steve Jobs’ terminal cancer. One Esquire profile from the period (one of my favorite pieces of writing about Steve, by the American writer Tom Junod) referred to Jobs as a “withered” figure at the event and as “gaunt as a pirate.”

At the time, Apple claimed Jobs’ changed appearance was the result of “a common bug,” and later revised this statement to argue that his health was a “private matter.” While Steve lived for another three years (much longer than many sufferers of pancreatic cancer), it’s sad to watch the iPhone 3G keynote and to realize that this marked the beginning of his physical decline.

Even coming, as it did, at the moment the iPhone truly took off on its meteoric sales ascent.