We tested the 2007 iPhone, but in 2022

We tested the 2007 iPhone, but in 2022

On June 29, 2007, Apple entered the mobile phone market. The iPhone, announced six months earlier, was about to revolutionize the way we communicate. 15 years later, we had fun replacing our iPhone 13 with an iPhone 1.

2007 was fifteen years ago. Our youngest readers may not remember the pre-iPhone era, when phones were just for making calls. The first smartphones, even if they were named after them, were not very smart devices. Forget social networks, photography, video calls, web browsing or video games… The iPhone, whether you like Apple or not, has swept the whole world into a new era. That of hyper connectivity.

On June 29, 2022, the iPhone celebrated its 15th candle. On the same day in 2007, Apple marketed its smartphone with a “large touch screen” in North America (it arrived in France in November in Europe). Since then, the Californian brand has launched a new version of its flagship smartphone every year. Innovation of the year at the time, one of the greatest successes in history today, the iPhone has grown a lot and has been enriched with (very) many functions over time, to the point of making obsolete many other devices that we used before.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the iPhone, Numerama had the idea of ​​pulling the very first iPhone out of its drawer. Fifteen years later, the one which, to our great surprise, still lights up, has taken quite a bit of time. For 24 hours we replaced our iPhone 13 Pro Max simply by an iPhone, also known as iPhone v1, iPhone 2G or iPhone EDGE. Everything is presented to you in Comebackyour new video meeting on Numerama, dedicated to the history of tech products:

The iPhone changed everything, here’s its story

On January 9, 2007, Apple held a big press conference in San Francisco. During this historic event, of which the replay on YouTube continues to attract new viewers every year, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. What was presented at the time as the merger between “a phone, an iPod touch and a revolutionary way to browse the Internet” quickly went around the world. We wondered if Apple could succeed in its bet or if its iPhone was just an untenable promise, doomed to disappoint in a market as competitive as that of mobile telephony. Many did not believe for a second in the success of the brand and imagined Apple collapsing against BlackBerry and Nokia, the giants of the time.

Six months later, the release of the iPhone caught everyone by surprise, including Apple. On June 29, there was a huge crowd in front of the Apple Store and the American AT&T stores (Apple had chosen one partner operator per country, in order to better manage the marketing of the device). The iPhone became a huge success and proved to the world that the product presented by Steve Jobs was not just a prototype. This is the beginning of a great story, which has caused many technological revolutions. In November 2007, the iPhone arrives in France (in partnership with Orange). Again, the success is there.

Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone on January 9, 2007 // Source: YouTube capture

In 2008 with the App Store, Apple created a new economy. Millions of applications have appeared and enabled many companies to emerge, including behemoths (social networks, streaming services, video game giants, etc.). Gradually, the iPhone turned into a real camera, replaced the GPS in the car, killed the iPod, became a wallet, made it possible to discover video games and turned into a formidable do-it-all machine. The smartphone has become central to our lives. It wouldn’t have been possible without the first of them, the iPhone.

Of course, Apple didn’t do it alone. The iPhone was followed by many competitors who, in turn, enabled this digital era change to take place. First by making smartphones more affordable, then by innovating on certain aspects first (Samsung had the idea of ​​large screens, Google of the notification center, etc.). In the end, the war between iOS (formerly iPhone OS) and Android makes no sense. Without competition, technology would have progressed more slowly.

iPhone 1 2G EDGE V1 messages
The first iPhone’s Messages app was only for texting, not even MMS. // Source: Numerama

15 years later, the 2007 iPhone is no longer a smartphone

Every year since 2007, Apple has announced a new generation of iPhone. There have been many major breakthroughs, such as the arrival of GPS and 3G in 2008, of FaceTime and Apple Silicon chips in 2010, of Siri and iMessage in 2011, of 4G in 2012, of the recognition of footprint in 2013, giant screens and contactless payment in 2014, waterproofing in 2016, edge-to-edge in 2017 or 5G in 2020. iPhones have gradually become digital Swiss army knives, truly capable of replacing all appliances in your home.

iPhone 1 2G EDGE V1 photo
Two problems are illustrated here: the screen lacks brightness, the camera is bad. // Source: Numerama

As a result, the 2007 iPhone looks very bland next to it all. While very charming and pleasant to handle, the very first iPhone doesn’t know how to do much, has a very poor quality screen, takes horrible photos and, above all, is almost unusable in 2022 (the fault to a non-existent 2G network and applications that have all become incompatible). The first (real) smartphone in history doesn’t have much “smart” left, at least for modern requirements. Our experience has allowed us to realize one thing: brands have not been sleeping for 15 years as one might easily think. Major innovations are very regular and have never ceased to transform our daily lives.

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