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.)
October 7, 2011: Two days after the death of Steve Jobs, Apple opens preorders for its next-gen iPhone 4s.
The last iPhone that Jobs worked on directly, the 4s boasts a speedier A5 chip, improved 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording, and — most significantly — Apple’s new AI virtual assistant, Siri.
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. In fact, 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 says in a press release. “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.
Even the high-profile demo goes wrong, and 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.
August 18, 2007: A video goes viral on YouTube when 23-year-old internet personality Justine Ezarik, aka iJustine, posts a 300-page iPhone bill mailed to her in a box by AT&T.
The bill — which lists every single action that consumed cellular data on Ezarik’s brand-new iPhone — is quickly viewed by 3 million people and receives extensive media coverage. (You can watch it below.)
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 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.