iPhone and O2: the first ten years

Remembering the highlights

Can you believe that the world was first introduced to iPhone all the way back in 2007? We’re here to take you back to where it all began.

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The first decade of iPhone

When Steve Jobs took to the stage to unveil “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device,” you’d have been forgiven for thinking he was talking about three devices. But no – instead he revealed the iPhone, and changed the way we interact with phones forever.

As the first operator to sell iPhone in the UK, we’ve enjoyed some great times with iPhone. Here are just a few of our favourite memories – we’d love to hear yours on Facebook or Twitter.

iPhone’s recipe for success


Tech that’s new, ground-breaking and intuitive.


Stunning new features, with the iconic iPhone design.


A belief in creating phones that are simple, beautiful and magical to use.


Although Steve Jobs hit the stage in January, it wasn’t until November that customers in the UK got their hands on the new iPhone. It might seem like a long wait, but this only made our customers more excited. Some even started queuing a day early to get their hands on their first iPhone. As Matthew Key, our CEO at the time, said – “The iPhone is a breakthrough that is changing the way people use their mobiles forever, and we’re thrilled to have it exclusively for O2 customers in the UK.”


iPhone 3G came next, introducing faster data speeds. But the real game-changer was iPhone OS 2.0, which supported third-party apps for the first time via the App Store. At the time, there were around 500 apps available to download. Now, you can choose from over 2 million. Other new features included support for more email services and new app icons. The developments wowed the audience when Steve Jobs took to the stage at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Play the video to re-live the announcement – and watch out for O2’s cameo appearance.


The launch of iPhone 3GS in 2009 saw iPhone gain performance improvements and a more powerful camera. For the first time, iPhone owners could use the camera to capture video, then share it straight away from their phone. Watch the clip to see how the new features were announced at Apple’s WWDC. iPhone also continued to gain more and more fans. As one customer outside an O2 store in Oxford Street told MacWorld, “I need it… well, I don’t need it but I want it.” And we bet it wasn’t the last time those words have been spoken.


As a young bunch of lads called Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson auditioned for The X Factor, the launch of iPhone 4 drew Brits to stores around the country. Addicted to selfies? Well, you can probably blame iPhone 4 for that – it was the first iPhone to have a front-facing camera. Apple’s innovation continued to impress. In the famous words of Steve Jobs himself – “This is really hot”. Play the video to watch him announcing iPhone’s brand new design and retina display.


In 2011, it was iPhone 4s’s time to shine. Wondering what the ‘s’ stood for? Well, it referred to Siri, iPhone’s latest feature. So from weather updates to hands-free texting, Siri was there to help for the first time. Other new offerings included an 8 megapixel camera and iMessage. And as iPhone’s features continued to grow, so did the queues outside O2 stores.


iPhone 5 introduced the world to Lightning, the iconic new compact dock connector. And with the tallest screen yet bringing new height to the iPhone family, we took to the roof of The O2, the world’s most popular entertainment venue, to give the first iPhone 5 customers in the UK a unique way to buy the phone. And it’s fair to say they loved it. “Being able to get the new iPhone from the top of The O2 has been mind-blowing,” said Helen Squires, after she finished jumping up and down.


2014 brought the world iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. With bigger screens and the iconic iPhone design, they were a real hit with O2 customers. And we had some surprises up our sleeve too – like bringing a few lucky customers onto the roof of The O2 to hear Tinie Tempah perform live. He did a hell of a job and even posed for a few selfies too – not the last time he’ll have done that, we’re sure.


Next came the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, bringing the brand new 3D Touch feature to the iPhone family. And for the launch, we decided to do things a bit differently. We love to treat our customers like VIPs, so we gave them the chance to skip the queues – helped in this case by a Viking, a pantomime cow and the Chuckle Brothers. Obviously.


With an entirely new camera system, immersive stereo speakers and a water resistant finish, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus changed everything. And the removal of the headphone jack showed us that the future is wireless.

As we look back, it’s hard to remember what life was like before we could all carry multi-megapixel cameras, thousands of music tracks and entire movies on our mobiles. But thanks to iPhone and the revolution that followed, our phones can do more than ever and we’ll carry on helping you get the most from them.

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