October 4, 2011: With the unveiling of the iPhone 4s, Apple introduces the world to Siri.
A groundbreaking example of artificial intelligence in action, Siri’s debut fulfills a long-term dream at Apple. The company first predicted such a feature in the 1980s — with the Siri launch coming at almost the exact month Apple envisioned.
September 22, 2014: Apple notches a new sales record with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, selling an astonishing 10 million units in the first weekend the handsets go on sale.
The eagerly anticipated smartphones bring a redesigned form factor that will persist for years. The most obvious change? Larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays built to lure phablet fans. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also boast an A8 chip, improved iSight and FaceTime cameras, and — significantly — Apple Pay.
“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time. “We would like to thank all of our customers for making this our best launch ever, shattering all previous sell-through records by a large margin.”
September 7, 2005: Apple and Motorola launch the Rokr E1, the first Cupertino-sanctioned cellphone to run iTunes.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is very unhappy with the results. The compromised device shows what an error it is to let an outside designer create a phone under the Apple banner. The company won’t make the same mistake twice.
July 28, 2012: Apple buys biometrics company AuthenTec, acquiring the technology that will power future authentication and secure payments initiatives.
With a price tag of $356 million, the deal gives Apple the right to use AuthenTec hardware, software and patents. In the short term, Apple engineers start working to build Touch ID sensors into the iPhone 5s. Longer-term, AuthenTec’s mobile wallet tech paves the way for Apple Pay.
March 29, 2012: Apple settles its “Antennagate” controversy by giving affected iPhone 4 owners the chance to claim a whopping $15 payout.
The settlement covers customers who experienced problems with the phone dropping calls due to its cutting-edge design, but were not able to return their handsets (or didn’t want a free bumper from Apple to mitigate against the problem).
While it’s arguable whether a $15 payout was worth filing all the paperwork necessary to claim the cash, the Antennagate story and the subsequent class-action lawsuit generated big headlines at the time.
March 10, 2004: Apple sends out a survey to select Apple customers, claiming that it is considering relaunching the Newton MessagePad.
“We need to determine why the Apple Newton was not a commercial success and whether there is an interest in re-launching a new version of the Newton,” Apple’s survey says. “Your comments will help understand why the Newton failed and if there is interest in re-launching a new, improved Newton.”
In hindsight, it seems pretty clear that this apparent “interest” in launching another personal data assistant was a way of doing some undercover market research for the still-in-development iPhone.
January 26, 2016: After nine years of spectacular growth, iPhone sales flatline for the first time.
Numbers posted by Apple show that during the final three months of 2015, iPhone sales grew by only 0.4%. The crucial holiday season sales compare quite unfavorably with the 46% jump recorded during the same period a year earlier.
November 1, 2007: Six months after Steve Jobs showed it off, the original iPhone becomes Time magazine’s “best invention of the year.”
The iPhone stands out from the rest of 2007’s gadget pack, which includes the Nikon Coolpix S51c digital camera, the Netgear SPH200W Wi-Fi Phone and the Samsung P2 music player. Remember those? (Yeah, we thought not.)