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The iPhone turns 15 today, but what else was new in 2007's world of tech?
The original iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007, 15 years ago today. Although many still fawn over Apple’s first smartphone as the dawn of a new technological era, plenty of other exciting things were happening in 2007’s world of technology — many of which made an equally big contribution to the high-tech gadgets and services that we all enjoy today.
Let’s look back at the world as it was in 2007 and all the exciting tech news that occurred that year.
Read more about the latest iPhone: Apple iPhone 13 review
A world of weird and wonderful phones
Apple’s iPhone may have been the most talked-about phone of 2007, but it certainly wasn’t the only notable release that year. In fact, it wasn’t even the first touchscreen phone. That accolade belongs to the lovely LG Prada (pictured above).
The original iPhone was far from the best-selling smartphone of 2007, too, shipping “just” 6 million units on debut. By comparison, the Nokia N95, announced in 2006 with its 5MP Carl Zeiss optics camera and 2.6-inch display, sold 10 million units that year. However, both were eclipsed by the inexpensive Nokia 1200’s colossal 150 million sales in 2007. Mind you, it cost just £30 ($40), while Apple sold its first iPhone for $499.
Along with Nokia, LG, and others, BlackBerry was still very much a big player back then. Its stock price hit a near all-time high of $124 per share in October 2007, compared to just $8.78 at the time of writing. 2007’s BlackBerry Pearl and Curve, complete with QWERTY keyboards, reviewed exceptionally well but were the high watermark before the smartphone revolution left BlackBerry in the dust.
There weren’t any Android phones back in 2007. However, Google was secretly working on its mobile OS well before the iPhone launched. The public beta of Android version 1.0 launched for developers on November 5, 2007. The first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1 or HTC Dream, would follow a year later.
Amazon launches the Kindle, Netflix starts streaming
Amazon is huge today, but it was also pretty big back in 2007 having already launched Amazon Prime and kickstarted its S3 server business. 2007 was a big year for the company, though. The original Amazon Kindle arrived on November 19 and clearly turned out to be a winner. Amazon Music also launched on September 25, offering MP3s for download before the days of subscription services. Spotify had been founded by then but didn’t roll out its invite-only launch until 2008.
Before leaving the subject of Amazon, Jeff Bezos’ net worth was a pitiful $8.7 billion back in 2007 compared to his estimated $195 billion net worth at the end of 2021. That’s more than a 22x increase in the last decade and a half.
Having brought up streaming, did you know Netflix also launched its on-demand internet video service all the way back in January 2007? It only had around 1,000 films for streaming back then, compared to 70,000 titles available from its original DVD rental business. Since then, Netflix memberships have ballooned from 7.3 to 203.7 million at the last count in 2020.
Social media becomes a major thing
Facebook was already reasonably well established come 2007, with over 20 million users on the platform that year. That was nothing compared to Myspace, the dominant social platform of the day. Myspace claimed over 200 million accounts in September 2007, with over 10 million in the UK alone. Although, these fortunes would soon reverse.
Twitter, on the other hand, was brand new to the game. It only spun off into its own company in April 2007 and still had a tiny user base. That started to change during 2007’s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference. Twitter usage tripled from 20,000 to 60,000 tweets per day. Still not huge, but Twitter hasn’t looked back since. As of May 2020, users send over 500 million tweets per day — that’s over 350,000 per minute.
I never used it, but the FriendFeed social network aggregator popped up in 2007 to help keep track of feeds from the above, Blogger, Flickr, Reddit, Tumblr, and more. Gosh, there were a lot of sites back then. Although Instagram and TikTok didn’t exist, I can’t say we were any less vain. Facebook bought FriendFeed in 2009 before it shut down in 2015.
Other major tech news and trends in 2007
A load more important tech stuff happened in 2007, so let’s rattle through a few of the other key ones on the list.
- Over one billion phones were sold worldwide for the first time in 2007. Over 1.5 billion smartphones are estimated to have been sold in 2021.
- Microsoft launched Windows Vista — the most disliked version of Windows ever released.
- The Nintendo Wii outsold the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 around the world, proving that gameplay tops graphics.
- Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, Call of Duty 4, Crysis, Mass Effect, Super Mario Galaxy, The Witcher, Uncharted, and Valve’s Orange Box collection were all released in 2007. What an amazing year for gamers.
- HD DVD was gradually losing the HD format war with Blu-ray.
- The average US internet speed was just 1.9Mbps compared with 99.3Mbps in 2021. That’s over 52x faster today!
- Google was already the most popular search engine (56%), but 22% of users still used Yahoo, 8% searched with MSN, and 5% with AOL. Today, Google commands around 92% of all global search traffic.
Of course, the arrival of the Apple iPhone was a huge deal in 2007. But looking back, plenty of other equally exciting and important developments arrived that year too. Many of which continue to shape the tech landscape today.
Did we miss anything off our list? Do you have any fond tech memories from 15 years ago? Let us know in the comments below.