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Eight years since its debut, Apple's iPhone has changed and conquered the smartphone market. Here are some interesting facts you might not know about the iPhone.
8 years of iPhone
Not only did the iPhone usher in the modern day smartphone era as we know it, it also helped propel Apple to un-imagined financial success. In the eight years since the iPhone first hit store shelves in 2007, we've seen an astounding level of technological innovation. Today, the number of things we can do with our smartphones is absolutely mind boggling. In light of the iPhone's recent eight-year anniversary, we've compiled a number of interesting facts about the iPhone that most people may not be aware of. From secret details regarding the iPhone's development to how many iPhones Apple has sold to-date, there should be something here of interest for everyone.
iPhone started out as an iPad project
Even though the iPad came out a few years after the iPhone, Apple was actually exploring a tablet device before the idea for an iPhone even began to take shape. As relayed by Steve Jobs himself during a 2010 All Things D interview, Jobs explained how he wanted Apple engineers to research various tablet designs with a virtual keyboard. When they came back to him with a device featuring multitouch functionality, Jobs thought that Apple could apply that technology to a phone. As Jobs told Walt Mossberg, Apple "put the tablet aside and we went to work on the phone."
Verizon turned down exclusive rights to sell the first iPhone
Before the iPhone launch, Apple needed a partner. Naturally, Apple opted to approach Verizon first, it being the largest and arguably most highly regarded carrier in the U.S. Verizon, however, balked at Apple's offer. Specifically, Verizon didn't want to cede any control to Apple. Cingular (now AT&T), meanwhile, needed a big smartphone exclusive to remain competitive, so it was more than willing to agree to Apple's typically stringent demands. As a quick example of Apple's demands, Apple insisted that the iPhone would only house its own logo, not that of a carrier.
Apple has sold over 700 million iPhones
This past March, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple has sold over 700 million iPhones. While we haven't yet heard an update to that figure, Apple's earnings reports suggest that cumulative iPhone sales may fast be approaching 800 million. If we conservatively estimate that current iPhone sales fall in the 750 million range, that means Apple has been averaging approximately 7.8 million iPhones a month for eight years running now.
iPhone is Apple's most profitable product by a mile
It's not even close. Apple's iPhone is the company's primary money maker and, in most quarters, the iconic smartphone accounts for nearly 70% of all of Apple's revenue. Today, Apple has nearly $200 billion in the bank, an astounding fact that's primarily attributable to consistently strong iPhone sales.
The default time in iPhone ads is always set to 9:41
If you pay close attention, you might have noticed that all iPhone advertisements show the device at a time set to 9:41. This is no coincidence. Former Apple executive Scott Forstall once explained, "We design the (product launch) keynotes so that the big reveal of the product happens around 40 minutes into the presentation. When the big image of the product appears on screen, we want the time shown to be close to the actual time on the audience's watches. But we know we won't hit 40 minutes exactly." As a point of interest, the default display times on iPhones used to be 9:42.
The original iPhone almost featured a curved glass display
Early in the iPhone's hardware design process, Apple experimented with a variety of prototype designs. Notably, one design that Apple was particularly bullish on involved curved glass. Apple, however, ultimately abandoned this idea because the process of cutting the glass was too cost prohibitive at the time. The photo seen here is an actual curved glass iPhone prototype that was released during Apple and Samsung's landmark 2012 trial.
Samsung makes the processors that power the iPhone
Despite a string of lawsuits between Samsung and Apple, the two companies remain important partners. Even though Apple has tried to lessen its reliance on Samsung in recent years, the bulk of the A-x processors that power Apple's beloved devices come from Samsung.
The iPhone's most expensive component is the Retina Display
While device teardowns don't provide the true cost involved in putting a device together (they don't factor in R&D, design, assembly costs, etc.), they do help up us get a grasp on how much each individual component costs. To that end, teardowns of various iPhone models over the years have shown that the display is the iPhone's most expensive component. On the iPhone 6, for instance, the display costs $45. On the larger-screened iPhone 6 Plus, the display costs $52. After the display, the most expensive components tend to be the wireless chips from Qualcomm.
The original iPhone team was elite and top secret
In creating the iPhone, Steve Jobs gave Scott Forstall free rein to assemble a team of his choosing. There was, however, just one rule — he couldn't hire anyone from outside Apple. As a result, Forstall proceeded to handpick the best engineers at Apple no matter what division they were in. Interestingly enough, when pitching the project to prospective team members, Forstall couldn't even tell them what it was about, only mentioning that it would require hard work and that they'd have to "give up nights" and work weekends for quite some time.
It was a miracle the original iPhone demo worked
When Steve Jobs famously demoed the original iPhone at Macworld 2007, the device was still very much in prototype form. Indeed, Apple engineers have subsequently said that they were pleasantly shocked that the entire demonstration went off without a hitch. From fixing Wi-Fi connectivity that would drop off randomly to a host of other usability problems, Apple engineers went into overdrive in between the iPhone's introduction and its original debut in stores about five months later.
iPhone users are more loyal than all other smartphone users
Without fail, studies on smartphone retention demonstrate that iPhone users are more likely to upgrade to another iPhone than Android users are likely to upgrade to another Android device. As a result, market share figures tend not to paint an accurate portrait of smartphone dynamics.
Apple didn't originally own the 'iPhone' trademark
Initially, Cisco owned the 'iPhone' trademark. That, though, didn't stop Apple from calling its newfangled device the iPhone. After its January 2007 unveiling, Apple and Cisco eventually settled their dispute with both companies promising to collaborate together on products in the future. The fruits of that cooperation, if it ever even took place, have never been seen.
The original iPhone prototype display was plastic
Initially, the iPhone display was going to be made out of plastic. However, after testing the device in real-world situations, Steve Jobs noticed that his keys were constantly scratching up the display. As a result, Apple opted for glass.
The meaning behind Cydia, the iPhone jailbreak software, is symbolic
As it turns out, Cydia, which is software used to jailbreak the iPhone, is named after an apple worm called cydia pomonella.