Apple’s iPhone turns 10, bumpy start forgotten

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Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhone turns 10 this week, evoking memories of a rocky start for the device that ended up doing most to start the smartphone revolution and stirring interest in where it will go from here.

Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since June 29, 2007, but the first iPhone, which launched without an App Store and was restricted to the AT&T Inc network (T.N), was limited compared to today’s version.

After sluggish initial sales, Apple slashed the price to spur holiday sales that year.

“The business model for year one of the iPhone was a disaster,” Tony Fadell, one of the Apple developers of the device, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. “We pivoted and figured it out in year two.”

The very concept of the iPhone came as a surprise to some of Apple’s suppliers a decade ago, even though Apple, led by CEO Steve Jobs, had already expanded beyond computers with the iPod.

A decade after launching into a market largely occupied by BlackBerry and Microsoft devices, the iPhone now competes chiefly with phones running Google’s Android software, which is distributed to Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and other manufacturers around the world.

Even though most of the world’s smartphones now run on Android, Apple still garners most of the profit in the industry with its generally higher-priced devices.

More than 2 billion people now have smartphones, according to data from eMarketer, and Fadell, who has worked for both Apple and Alphabet, sees that as the hallmark of success.

“Being able to democratize computing and communication across the entire world is absolutely astounding to me,” Fadell said. “It warms my heart because that’s something Steve tried to do with the Apple II and the Mac, which was the computer for the rest of us. It’s finally here, 30 years later.”