Happy birthday: Original iPhone turns 4!

The iPhone 4 cake

Happy birthday original iPhone! You hit the world 4 years ago today in all your 2G, no App Store, aluminum-backed glory. And what a world it was, dominated by front-facing QWERTY in the Palm Treo and BlackBerry lines, and the beasts that were Windows Mobile. Palm didn't think Apple could walk into the phone market, BlackBerry didn't think anyone would want to type on glass, and Microsoft said they'd get no marketshare. Now, four years later, iPhone is one of the most dominant devices in the world, and the best selling smartphone on the market. And every one of their rivals (including Google who's Android looked like a BlackBerry before the iPhone hit) have retooled or rebooted since.

Sigh. Our little baby is all grown up. Sniffle.

Do you remember what you owned before the iPhone? Did you get an original iPhone? Did you wait in line, or get crazy angry after Apple dropped the initial, exorbitant price? Did you upgrade it to iOS 2 and marvel at the App Store? Do you still have one?

While we cut the cake and hand out the party hats let us know your memories of the original iPhone, and the smartphone market before and since.

[Hat tip to iPhoneDownloadBlog and 52 Tiger, get your own iPhone cake]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Happy birthday: Original iPhone turns 4!


I had the T-Mobile Sidekick 3 b4 I bought the original iPhone. And managed to somehow own every iPhone since!

I had a Sony walkman phone. Before that a moto razor. I thought the Sony phone was the coolest thing in the world until I held a iPhone. I had the first iPhone and I have refreshed every year since. I am now sporting. Ip4 and it is a year old and still the best phone on the market. This may be the first time I won't refresh. I'll be waiting for the LTE iPhone. Happy Birthday to the OG iPhone.

I had a Samsung Rugby...now iPhone4...no only the best phone I've ever owned, but one of the best electronic devices I've owned.

Agree... back then I'd only spend a few minutes of my day with my treo 650, it's now hours with my ip4

I owned the motorola slvr best thing about it I had iTunes on it. Then got the iPhone 3G now the iPhone 4....

Had a Treo 650 before my first iPhone. Stood in line on opening day.... My old iPhone would probably still be working, but my daughter dropped it and cracked the screen big time. Everyone in the family has an iPhone now, and I can't wait for iOS 5!

I had the BlackJack and loved that phone! I still have the 3 and it's getting slower and slower. Can't wait til the 5 comes out

from the moment i saw that a phone had touchscreen, and that touch screen was multitouch, i knew i'd have one. that how i met apple, no ive got 3gs, ip4, a 5k macbook pro 15 inch, ipod iwatch <3

I had a BlackBerry Pearl when it came out but was in college and to poor to buy an iPhone. Fortunately, I graduated and purchased a 3GS. Now, I'm losing sleep over waiting for the iPhone 5.
I'll have to say though the BlackBerry Pearl was a good phone. Typing on those was a mess but everything else on it was pretty good.

Ahh yes. I remember getting my iPhone on the very first day after a brief wait in line....then jumping on a plane headed for Amsterdam for a two trip that included running with the bulls. The next day in Amsterdam, I made the mistake of pulling out the iPhone in the Apple store. I became an instant celebrity. They shut they store down to look at it for a half hour and asked me all kinds of questions for a phone that had been seen in public for 24 hours. This scene was repeated in Paris, Pamplona, and Barcelona for the next two weeks. I was an unpaid Apple iPhone Ambassador--- but it was a heck of a lot fun!

I had an unlocked Motorola SLVR on Tmobile. I then bought the Dash, which was a pretty cool phone. But one fateful day, I had my 7 month pregnant wife stand in line for the iPhone 3G. I have been converted to many things Mac since then. I really like Apples theory: it just works. Despite what the haters say, none of their phones have ever been acclaimed as a phone 5 years ahead of it's time. They think a clock widget with a sun on the top of the screen makes their phones better. But if you would like to see the future of the comm. industry, just look at the ideas Apple has given birth to. Happy Birthday iPhone.

I got the iPhone 3G. I waited in line at an AT&T store, for about 2 hours. Got the black 16GB model. Prior to that had the Treo 680.

I had the treo 650 and the keyboard wasn't bad, the phone was buggy as hell and i never saw an update, it's so different now... it feels like decades

I've got technologic ADD. I swap gadgets all the time. I have, however, learned that my primary device needs to be an iPhone. I need a device that works without headache.
Prior to the iPhone, I was using a Moto Q9c on US Cellular. We had moved, and USCC became terrible. AT&T had good service, and so we tried it out by getting my wife a Palm Centro. Terrible phone(she LOVED it), and so a few month later, I was getting the 3G.
Before the Q9c, I was on an original Q, and prior to that, my absolue favorite dumb phone, my V3m Razr. Say what you want, that phone took a beating!
I've also tried out the Android and BB line, and have to say, iOS has me. I'm rocking an ip4 and haven't had device lust in months.

I still have my OG iPhone.... Sitting in a drawer, in the original box.....
Hopefully, I'll sell it as a trophy in a 10 years :)

I actually do not yet own an iPhone, but thought I'd share anyway. 4 years ago, I had the Palm Treo 700p and my techie eye caught the iPhone and the envy began. I'd venture to the Apple Store and play with it and be amazed at the device. But as a carrier first Verizon user, it was always a pipe dream.
I moved to the Blackberry Storm in the hope that would temper the iPhone envy...we all know how that turned out. Last summer, I broke and could wait no longer for the then merely rumored Verizon iPhone and replaced the Storm with the Droid X on a one year contract to cover myself should the Verizon dream become reality.
Now that it has, I'm now another month away from my contract expiring, but at this point am riding it out until iPhone 5. Can't wait to join the party...just hope it comes sooner than later!

I was using the HTC Touch, and HTC Excaliber. Then I got my first iPhone 2G, the day the software unlock came out. Which was September 10, 2007. Great memories, I've owned everyone since on lunch day.

I waited in line all day in 110 degree Arizona weather. I bought 2 for $699.99 each...I sold one of the two on ebay for $1700 which more than paid for my 8gb top of the line model :)

I had a UTStarcom Slice on Virgin Mobile (my first cell phone), then a Motorola TracFone, then a basic Nokia phone that I still have as a backup. When the original iPhone came out, I really liked it and wanted to get it, but it lacked a lot of crucial functionality I wanted (e.g. cut/copy & paste, landscape keyboard), plus it was way too ridiculously expensive for me to justify blowing the money on at that time. So in the meantime I got a BlackBerry 8320 on T-Mobile and waited til the iPhone 4 came out before I finally got one.

I got my black 8GB iPhone 3G in August 2008. I had it for a year and a half, then I sold it for an iPhone 2G. Yes, I kinda downgraded from 3G to 2G! :) I like it so much, more than the 3G. It's so well built if compared to the 3G. Recently I got myself a brand new white 16GB iPhone 4 but I'm still keeping the original iPhone for my second SIM. I must admit that I had an HTC Desire HD based on Android for the last six months but I decided to sell it and buy the iPhone 4. Once you go iPhone, you fall in love with it. Android OS was good but not as good as iOS (despite its flaws). Now I'm a proud owner of an iPhone 2G and of a white iPhone 4! :) Cheers from Croatia! Marko

Oh... before having an iPhone, my cellphone was an HTC Magician (aka MDA Compact, Qtek S100, I-mate Jam etc) which was based on Windows Pocket Edition 2003. Such a great looking phone with a full aluminum body. Great design for that period IMHO. Such a shame it had such a poor OS. I still have it somewhere but it won't turn on anymore... :/

I had a Samsung SCH i70. I hated windows mobile, and was so happy when I broke down and got the 3g. Havent looked back since!

I bought the original iPhone from a co-worker when the iPhone 3G was released. Ever since then I've had a 3GS and iP4. Prior to the iPhone I had a UTStarcom PPC-6700 and then a Samsung BlackJack (that scroll wheel destroyed my thumb)

I had a razor b4 iPhone. I didn't see any use for the 1st iPhone, but i really didn't look into it that much. I had never even had an ipod b4' but always wanted one. Then the iPhone 3g came out with the app store. Since then I've had an iPhone 3gs, an iPhone 4, iPad, and as of last saturday a 15" MacBook Pro. With these devices I cant wait for iCloud and iOS 5.

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