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iPhone and O2: the story so far

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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iPhone and iPad through the years

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 Apple devices. Here are just a few of our favourite memories – we’d love to hear yours on Facebook or Twitter.

Apple’s recipe for success



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



Stunning new features, with the iconic Apple designs.



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

Steve Jobs

The beginning of iPhone

Although Steve Jobs hit the stage in January 2007, 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.”

All about apps

iPhone 3G came next, in 2008 – and it 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. The developments wowed the audience at the 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.

Steve Jobs holding the first iPad

Say hello to iPad

Apple had been experimenting behind the scenes for years, but it wasn’t until 2010 that we finally met iPad. It brought the touchscreen to a much larger display, and featured Apple’s own processor. 2010 was a big year for iPhone too. Addicted to selfies? Well, you can probably blame iPhone 4 for that – it was the first iPhone to have a front-facing camera. It was followed by iPhone 4s in 2011. Wondering what the ‘s’ stood for? It referred to Siri, iPhone’s latest feature.

People purchasing the iPhone 5 on top of the O2

Small but mighty

2012 was a year for downsizing. The iPad mini was announced – with similar specs to iPad 2, but a more compact 7.9 inch screen. And iPhone 5 introduced the world to Lightning, the iconic new compact dock connector. But it wasn’t quite that simple. iPhone 5 actually brought about the tallest screen yet – so 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.

People taking selfies on an iPhone in fancy dress

A new kind of pencil

In 2015, Apple launched a high spec tablet called iPad Pro. From scribbling notes to sketching masterpieces, it’s all possible on iPad Pro – thanks to the Apple Pencil, which was announced at the same time. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus arrived in 2015 too, 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.


Going wireless

We met iPhone 7 and 7 Plus for the first time in 2016. And with an entirely new camera system, immersive stereo speakers and a water resistant finish, they changed everything. The big news was the removal of the headphone jack – and the introduction of AirPods. With a custom-designed Apple W1 chip and high quality AAC audio, they showed us that the future is truly wireless. 

iPhone X

Goodbye, home button

The rumour mill went into overdrive in 2017, with whisperings that Apple could be revolutionising the iPhone design. And they didn’t disappoint. iPhone X was the first iPhone with an edge-to-edge screen, and no home button in sight. So what’s the X all about? Well, it stands for ten – because the launch of iPhone X marked the tenth anniversary of the iPhone series.

High quality photo taken on the XR

The latest tech

Apple brought back eye-catching colours with the iPhone XR in 2018. And they’ve continued the trend in 2019, with the iPhone 11. There’s something for everyone, with (PRODUCT)RED, Green, Purple, White, Yellow and Black on the menu. It features the A13 Bionic chip, the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone – meaning it can get through an entire day on a single charge, according to Apple. And the iPhone 11 camera shoots beautifully sharp videos. But it isn’t the only game changer. Apple have also announced the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, the most powerful and advanced smartphones they’ve ever made. They both feature the bright new Super Retina XDR display. And the iPhone 11 Pro camera takes your photography to the next level.

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 in our pockets. But thanks to iPhone and the revolution that followed, our devices can do more than ever and we’ll carry on helping you get the most from them.

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Products featured in this article

iPhone 11

The next generation of iPhone. See our iPhone 11 contracts and upgrade deals.

iPhone 11 Pro

Pro cameras. Pro display. Pro performance. Find out more about the iPhone 11 Pro price and plans.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Capture incredible detail, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera. See our iPhone 11 Pro Max phone deals.

iPhone XR

Brilliant. In every way. Take a look at our iPhone XR plans.


Make calls, listen to music and talk to Siri, without unlocking your phone. Find out more about AirPods.

Apple Pencil

Intuitive, precise and magical. Find out more about Apple Pencil.