History of the iPhone
The history of the iPhone began when Steve Jobs asked Apple Inc.’s engineers to develop a tablet computer. The result was the Newton MessagePad, a device manufactured by Apple in the mid-1990s. Like the iPhone, the Newton MessagePad was nearly all screen. Its form factor is credited to Apple’s head of design, Jonathan Ive.
In April 2003, at the “All Things Digital” conference, Steven Jobs expressed his belief that tablet PCs and traditional PDAs were not good choices as high-demand markets for Apple to enter. He did believe that cell phones were going to become important devices for portable information access. According to Jobs, cell phones needed to have excellent synchronization software.
Instead of focusing on a follow-up to their Newton PDA, Jobs had Apple put its energies into the iPod, and the iTunes software. On September 7, 2005, Apple and Motorola released the ROKR E1, the first mobile phone to use iTunes. However, Jobs was unhappy with the ROKR, feeling that having to compromise with a non-Apple designer prevented Apple from designing the phone they wanted to make. In September 2006, Apple released a version of iTunes that included references to an unknown mobile phone that could display pictures and video.
On January 9, 2007 Apple announced the iPhone at the Macworld convention. Jobs assured the world the new smartphone would be released later that year. Indeed, on June 29, 2007, the first iPhone was released.
The first iPhone supported third-party applications using the Safari engine on the device. Third parties would create the Web 2.0 applications and users would access them via the internet. Curiously enough, such applications appeared even before the release of the iPhone. The first of these applications being “OneTrip”, a program meant to keep track of the user’s shopping list. On June 29, 2007, Apple released version 7.3 of iTunes to coincide with the release of the iPhone. This release contained support for the iPhone service activation and syncing. According to The Wall Street Journal, the first iPhone was manufactured on contract in the Shenzhen factory of the Taiwanese company, Hon Hai (also known as Foxconn).
When Apple initially released the iPhone, it was sold exclusively with AT&T contracts in the United States. The tying arrangement between the Apple iPhone and a specific service provider caused some controversy, bringing the concepts of jailbreaking and bricking into the mainstream debate over the future of smartphone technology.
Finally, after a year and a half of negotiations, Steve Jobs reached an agreement with the wireless division of the telecom giant, AT&T, to be the iPhone’s carrier. In return for five years of exclusivity, roughly 10 percent of iPhone sales in AT&T stores, and a thin slice of Apple’s iTunes revenue, AT&T granted Apple roughly $10 a month from every iPhone customer’s AT&T bill. In return, consumers were unable to use any other carrier without heavily modifying their device. Apple continued to retain control over the design, manufacturing, and marketing of the iPhone.
Since some customers were trying to jailbreak their iPhone to avoid the AT&T network, the company decided to charge consumers if they were to leave the network. This caused complaints among many consumers, as they were forced to pay an additional early termination fee of $175 to end the contract, and the device would remain locked.
In October 2007, two class-action lawsuits were filed against Apple, one in federal court, and the other in state court. The lawsuits claimed that Apple’s exclusive agreement with AT&T violated the California antitrust law. A second case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in 2007.