January 9 - today, marks the anniversary of what the company calls the ‘gold standard’ for smartphones - iPhone.
It was at Macworld 2007 in San Francisco, Steve Jobs introduced the world to iPhone as three products in one — “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device.” Since then, the company has sold over one billion units.
Watch Steve Jobs introduce the first iPhone
“iPhone is an essential part of our customers’ lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday. “iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.”
Apple has released several iPhone models till date with the latest being iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus -- a first that supports dual cameras and has no 3.5-mm headphone jack. Earlier models include iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 4S, iPhone 3 and more. The company has also made public statements that iPhones had been their growth driver for years.
“It is amazing that from the very first iPhone through to today’s newest iPhone 7 Plus, it has remained the gold standard by which all other smartphones are judged. For many of us, iPhone has become the most essential device in our lives and we love it,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
“iPhone is how we make voice and FaceTime calls, how we shoot and share Live Photos and 4K videos, how we listen to streaming music, how we use social media, how we play games, how we get directions and find new places, how we pay for things, how we surf the web, do email, manage our contacts and calendars, how we listen to podcasts, watch TV, movies and sports, and how we manage our fitness and health. iPhone has become all of these things and more. And I believe we are just getting started.”
However, it has not been a smooth ride for the Cupertino, California-based Apple.
Last year, Apple’s annual profits fell for first time in 15 years as iPhone sales declined. Apple even penalised Cook for the iPhone maker’s first sales slump in 15 years with a 15% pay cut. The company cited a downturn in its revenue and operating profit as the main reason it cut the pay of Cook and its other top executives.
The company recently faced challenges from its ever-growing Chinese competition, and its attempt to grab buyers in emerging markets with the relatively lower-cost iPhone SE has failed. Throw in the rising competition from Chinese handset makers, Cook is struggling to keep the momentum going.
Apple wants to boost iPhone sales in India, where it has only a roughly 2% market share, as sales in the United States and China slow. Cook met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last May to talk about its plans to enter the Indian manufacturing and retail space.
Through his multiple visits – in one of which he offered prayers at Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple – Cook has tried to convince authorities to dole out special tax benefits for manufacturing in India. However, the authorities aren’t convinced, as they believe that it would “discriminate” one handset maker over other.
The Nikkei financial daily reported in December last year that Apple will trim production of iPhones by about 10% in the January-March quarter of 2017, citing calculations based on data from suppliers. The company had slashed output by 30% in January-March this year due to accumulated inventory, the paper said.
Whatever the scenario is, Apple loyalists are waiting for the company to launch the next iPhone that is expected to be released later this year. Some have speculated that the device may have all glass design, wireless charging, OLED curved display, zero bezel and no home button.