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Happy 5th birthday, iPhone

June 29, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • Five years ago, Nathan Alford walked out of the Apple Store at the Westfield Century City with the two iPhones he bought for his boss.
Five years ago, Nathan Alford walked out of the Apple Store at the Westfield… (Lori Shepler / Los Angeles…)

Today is the day for "iPhone 5" -- well, iPhone's 5th, actually.

It was five years ago today that the very first iPhone owners felt the addictive iGot-it rush of the hottest gadget on the planet at that time, Apple's revolutionary device. 

More than just an iPod that makes calls, the iPhone's debut and success shifted the already co-dependent relationship between people and their phones to more of a symbiotic synergy, encouraging and ushering in what has becoming a radical shift in digital lifestyle.

The iPhone: 5 years running

Though, when it was announced in early 2007, not everyone was sold. The folks at Research in Motion, which was having much better days back then, didn't believe what Apple was showing in the iPhone was even possible, according to reports.

Others just didn't believe it would resonate. Among them, David Platt wrote on his Suckbusters blog: "The forthcoming (June 29) release of the Apple iPhone is going to be a bigger marketing flop than Ishtar and Waterworld (dating myself again, aren't I) combined." 

Bloomberg News columnist Matthew Lynn made a pronouncement declaring the iPhone "nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks." "Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won't make a long-term mark on the industry," he wrote in 2007.

Well, the iPhone has more than made its mark, reaching beyond gadget freaks to resonate with the generational bookends from tiny tots to grandparents.

Five years, five iterations and many millions of iPhone units later, the mere mention of speculative details for the next iPhone -- however wildly improbable or ridiculous -- still whips the Web into a frenzy, a reaction that hasn't really found its equal among competitors.

Rumor roundup: The new iPhone

And from it has sprung an ecosystem that spawned its own micro-economy and continues to define the potential and success of every other competitor.

"The iPhone ushered in a whole new era where people were carrying a device that was truly personal," Calvin Carter, chief executive of Bottle Rocket Apps, told The Times in an interview. 

Carter launched March 7, 2008 -- the day after Steve Jobs announced the advent of the App Store, that the iPhone would be opened to third-party apps -- as a one-man band by driving down to the Office Depot to buy graph paper and start learning how to build apps.

From one man to a team of 90, his company has grown to produce a stable of 65 apps for 42 clients, including NPR, ESPN, Starwood, Scholastic, AARP and Donna Karan International. As for downloads, they stopped counting a year and a half ago at 20 million.

Indeed, the iPhone sparked a revolution that continues to evolve today.

Happy birthday, iPhone.

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