|Apple iPhone 3G (2008)
Launched ten years ago this month, the Apple iPhone 3G was Apple’s first smartphone.
“But wait,” you say “obviously it wasn’t. The original iPhone was Apple’s first smartphone!”
The original iPhone - launched in January 2007 – had plenty of potential and a lot of “wow” factor. But by modern standards, it wasn’t a smartphone at all. You couldn’t download applications to it, it didn’t have GPS or high-speed cellular data, it couldn’t record video and it only had one pretty basic camera on the back, so no selfies for YOU.
Added to that, the original iPhone was slow and very expensive and it didn’t sell in particularly big numbers. It really was a very elegant but extremely overpriced feature phone.
The iPhone 3G was a game-changer. Despite looking almost identical to the original and with a name that indicated that the main feature was 3G data support, the iPhone 3G was the first iPhone to come with the App Store through the new iPhone OS 2.0 operating system. Not only did this give the iPhone 3G a huge base of different apps to run, it also made adding those apps easy.
On top of that, the inclusion of 3G (and 3.5G) data meant that it was usable on the move. The new iPhone not only had GPS but also a mapping application and turn-by-turn navigation. It still couldn’t record video though and it only had the single basic camera, but it was faster and crucially cheaper too. It was a significant step in the right direction.
It was clearly a much better device than the original (even though that iPhone also got the App Store) and it was the iPhone 3G - not the original iPhone – that actually gave consumers what they wanted (apart from the ability to record video). The 3G was a proper smartphone in the modern sense, and it was this smartphone that drove nearly 7 million units worth of sales in the last quarter of 2008, finally giving Apple the sales breakthrough it was looking for.
Image credit: Apple, Inc