As Apple announces a new beginning, today marks the first iPhone’s retirement

Steve Jobs iPhone 2007

This week the iconic original iPhone will become a vintage and obsolete Apple product. But unlike a vintage wine or a car, it’s not one hundred years old, it’s just six. Compare it to today’s top of the range hardware, and the obsolete sticker seems appropriate, but simply letting it fade into the background is to do it a disservice, as we’re talking about one of, if not the most influential piece of consumer technology ever released. It’s fitting, then, to give it a decent send off.

In some circles the iPhone was referred to as the Jesus Phone, and if this sounds a bit odd, you need to watch footage from the launch event, which took place at Macworld (remember that?) on January 9, 2007. The reverence with which the late Steve Jobs talked about the iPhone, even by his standards, is truly astonishing. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for two-and-a-half years,” he began, as he slowly paced the stage, “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along … that changes everything,” he continued; and wow, was he on the money.

If you’re interested in the modern history of technology, then watch the presentation. The enthusiasm of Jobs and the whooping and hollering crowd is contagious, even on video. Leave any fanboy credentials at the door, and marvel at not only the skills of a master, but the birth of the device which ushered in a new age of the smartphone. Yes, we know all about the Windows Mobile phones, the BlackBerry, and the Palm handsets, but Jobs was right, they were awkward, ugly, and mostly aimed at business people. The iPhone, on the other hand, was aimed at everyone.

2007The phone

The original iPhone was very different from the iPhone we’re used to today. The most obvious difference, apart from the design, was the 2G connectivity. Although 3G had been available for several years, Apple chose not to exploit it with the first iPhone, a decision which would shape iPhones of the future, as a 4G LTE iPhone wasn’t introduced until it was an established option on multiple networks.

Made from both aluminum and plastic, the 2G iPhone weighed 135 grams and measured 11.6mm thick, dimensions which hardly changed until the introduction of the iPhone 4 in June 2010. This wasn’t the only thing to stay the same either, as the 3.5-inch screen used on the phone remained in service until last year, as Apple concentrated on increasing the pixel density instead of the size.

Then there was the software. The very first version didn’t even have a name, but did become known as iPhone OS before being changed to iOS in 2010. It also had little functionality beyond a mobile version of Safari, the iPod music player, a YouTube app, and email. Poor by today’s standards, pretty ordinary for the day. There was no App Store either, so you couldn’t add anything to the home screen, giving it a weird, unfinished look. And of course, it wasn’t finished, as the introduction of the iTunes App Store with iPhone OS 2.0 and the iPhone 3G proved.

It took Apple 74 days to sell a million iPhone devices, although it was only ever sold in a handful of countries, and despite attracting mixed reviews. While many complained about the rubbish camera, behind-the-times software features, and the slow data connection, most agreed it was the start of something big. Time Magazine was so convinced by its potential it named the iPhone its 2007 Invention of the Year. Looking back at Time’s reasons for choosing the iPhone is interesting, as two of the five are that, “It will make other phones better,” and that “It’s not a phone, it’s a platform.” Correct on both counts.

Lovers and haters

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said in an interview it took him about two weeks to love the iPhone, saying that despite it being slow to respond, it was always a fun experience, even when doing something as mundane as calling a friend. Actor, author, and all round brilliant bloke Stephen Fry, a confirmed Apple fan, likened the original iPhone to an early 60s sports car, saying it’s, “Not as practical, reliable, economical, sensible or roomy as a family saloon, but oh, the joy… What it does, it does supremely well, that what it does not do seems laughably irrelevant.”

The release of the iPhone saw the birth of what has become a staple of Apple launches: long queues of rabid fans waiting for a chance to purchase the latest device, many of whom may have waited outside their chosen store for days. Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, June 30, 2007, one proud new iPhone owner said she had been there since the previous Tuesday, and is quoted as saying the phone, “Feels great, overwhelming. I never thought this day would come – and now it finally has, it’s mind blowing.” Yes, she’s talking about a phone, and not her first-born.

This degree of cringe-inducing fandom was only the beginning, and while the iPhone had many fans, it also attracted considerable hatred and derision. Jon Stewart, hosting the 2008 Oscars, poked fun at watching films on a such small screen, while Bloomberg published a 2007 column entitled, “Apple iPhone will fail in a late, defensive move.” The second sentence reads, “To its many fans, Apple is more of a religious cult than a company. An iToaster that downloads music while toasting bread would probably get the same kind of worldwide attention [as the iPhone].” As we all know, his views are hardly unique.

Can I still buy one?

So, you want some old school retro cool in your pocket? Original iPhones can still be found for sale in several places, and a search of eBay reveals the following gems:

A jailbroken, original AT&T iPhone 2G with 8GB of storage, in apparently good condition and full working order, which at the time of writing, is a mere $10 with five days to run on the auction. If you don’t mind spending a little more, then this auction for a near-mint 4GB iPhone 2G with a box, and all the accessories has a Buy It Now price of $785. Finally, for an eye-watering $20,000, you can purchase a sealed 8GB iPhone 2G phone, which comes with a second iPhone for display purposes. Or you could buy a car.

If I do buy one, what does it mean if it breaks?

Apple classifies vintage products as those which were discontinued, “more than five and less than seven years ago,” and unless you live in California, the company will no longer service or repair it. Products become obsolete after they have been discontinued for more than seven years, and no support is offered at all. If you don’t live in the U.S., Apple makes no distinction between vintage and obsolete, and as soon as a product is considered vintage in America, it’s automatically classed as obsolete internationally.

This means if the phone has a problem, you’ll either have to find the parts yourself – eBay is a good source – and do the repair, or find a willing service center; however, not all registered centers support out-of-warranty products.

A new beginning, and a fitting end

The first generation iPhone is a design classic, not just when compared to its peers – where it’s influence is only challenged by the Motorola Razr – but also when put alongside other cool pieces of consumer electronics hardware. But, time marches on and this week, Apple introduced iOS 7 which head designer Jony Ive called, “An important new direction,” for Apple, while CEO Tim Cook said its redesign is the, “biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.” Apple clearly views iOS 7 as the beginning of a new era, and as important as the 2G iPhone is to its existence, this seems like the perfect moment to announce retirement.

Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Trash

How to save yourself money by buying a refurbished iPhone

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new iPhone, and it can be very expensive. Save yourself some heartache and some money with our guide on how to buy a refurbished iPhone.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for April 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for April 2019.
Gaming

Have an issue with your 3DS? We can help you fix it with these common solutions

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Deals

Apple iPads and iPad Pros get price cuts up to $150 on Amazon

In the market for a new iPad? Now might be the time to buy -- Amazon has discounted a range of iPad models, including the 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, plus the standard iPad.
Deals

The excellent Moto G6 is just $99 from Google Fi for a limited time

Getting a cheap smartphone can be a great way to squeeze value out of your dollars. Motorola's Moto G-range has always been good value, but never better than this: Get the Moto G6 for just $99 from Google Fi.
Mobile

Keep your huge phone beautiful with the best iPhone XS Max cases

Apple's iPhone XS Max might be the best large phone the company has ever released. But a bigger OLED display and body means there's more glass to crack. Keep your massive phone safe with the best iPhone XS Max cases.
Deals

Ultra Wideband is here, and you can use it with the 5G Moto Mod (and save $150)

5G is rolling out in the U.S., and Motorola’s Moto Z3 is one of the few phones that can use it. Select people can take advantage of Verizon’s 5G service and enjoy a $150 discount with the purchase of a Moto Z3 and 5G Moto Mod bundle.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Mobile

The 15 most stylish iPhone docks and charging stands for your device

The right iPhone dock does more than just hold your phone. If you’re looking for the perfect dock for your bedroom, or one to sit discretely on your office desk, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.
Mobile

BlackBerry Messenger to shut down in May, be replaced by enterprise version

BlackBerry Messenger for consumers will shut down at the end of May, nearly six years after it was launched. The app is going back to its roots, in a way, as it is being replaced by the much simpler BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise.