iPhone is a line of smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. They run Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. The first generation iPhone was released on June 28th 2007 and there have been multiple new hardware iterations since.

The original iPhone was described as “revolutionary” and a “game-changer” for the mobile phone industry. Newer iterations have also garnered praise, and the iPhone’s success has been credited with helping to make Apple one of the world’s most valuable publicly traded companies.

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Development of what was to become the iPhone began in 2004, when Apple started to gather a team of 1,000 employees to work on the highly confidential “Project Purple”, including Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iMac and iPod.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs steered the original focus away from a tablet (which Apple eventually revisited in the form of the iPad) and towards a phone. Apple created the device during a secretive collaboration with Cingular Wireless (now AT&T Mobility) at the time—at an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months.

Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007, at the Macworld 2007 convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The two initial models, a 4 GB model priced at US$499 and an 8 GB model at US$599 (both requiring a 2-year contract), went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007, at 6:00 pm local time, while hundreds of customers lined up outside the stores nationwide. The passionate reaction to the launch of the iPhone resulted in sections of the media dubbing it the ‘Jesus phone’.

Following this successful release in the US, the first generation iPhone was made available in the UK, France, and Germany in November 2007, and Ireland and Austria in the spring of 2008.

On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six. Apple released the iPhone 3G in upwards of eighty countries and territories. Apple announced the iPhone 3GS on June 8, 2009, along with plans to release it later in June, July, and August, starting with the US, Canada and major European countries on June 19. Many would-be users objected to the iPhone’s cost, and 40% of users had household incomes over US$100,000.

The back of the original first generation iPhone was made of aluminum with a black plastic accent. The iPhone 3G and 3GS feature a full plastic back to increase the strength of the GSM signal.The iPhone 3G was available in an 8 GB black model, or a black or white option for the 16 GB model. The iPhone 3GS was available in both colors, regardless of storage capacity.

The iPhone 4 has an aluminosilicate glass front and back with a stainless steel edge that serves as the antennas. It was at first available in black; the white version was announced, but not released until April 2011, 10 months later.