Year
2007

Steve Jobs debuts the iPhone

On this day in 2007, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone—a touchscreen mobile phone with an iPod, camera and Web-browsing capabilities, among other features—at the Macworld convention in San Francisco. Jobs, dressed in his customary jeans and black mock turtleneck, called the iPhone a “revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” When it went on sale in the United States six months later, on June 29, amidst huge hype, thousands of customers lined up at Apple stores across the country to be among the first to purchase an iPhone.

In November 2007—by which point more than 1.4 million iPhones had been sold—Time magazine named the sleek, 4.8-ounce device, originally available in a 4GB, $499 model and an 8GB, $599 model, its invention of the year. The iPhone went on sale in parts of Europe in late 2007, and in parts of Asia in 2008. In July 2008, Apple launched its online App Store, enabling people to download software applications that let them use their iPhones for games, social networking, travel planning and an every growing laundry list of other activities. Apple went on to release updated models of the iPhone, including the 4S, which debuted in October 2011 and featured Siri, a voice-activated digital assistant.

The iPhone helped turned Apple, which Jobs (1955-2011) co-founded with his friend Stephen Wozniak in California in 1976, into one of the planet’s most valuable corporations. In 2012, five years after the iPhone’s debut, more than 200 million had been sold. The iPhone joined a list of innovative Apple products, including the Macintosh (launched in 1984, it was one of the first personal computers to feature a graphical user interface, which allowed people to navigate by pointing and clicking a mouse rather than typing commands) and the iPod portable music player (launched in 2001), that became part of everyday modern life.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Queen Elizabeth destroyed by fire

In Hong Kong harbor, a fire breaks out aboard the Queen Elizabeth, and by the next morning the famous vessel lies in a wreck on the bottom of the sea floor.The RMS Queen Elizabeth, boasting a 200,000-horsepower engine and an elegant art deco style, made its public debut in 1946, ...read more

First modern circus is staged

On this day, Englishman Philip Astley stages the first modern circus in London.Trick riders, acrobats, clowns, trained animals, and other familiar components of the circus have existed throughout recorded history, but it was not until the late 18th century that the modern ...read more

Columbus mistakes manatees for mermaids

On this day in 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids”–in reality manatees–and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.” Six months earlier, Columbus (1451-1506) set off from Spain across the ...read more

Support is pledged to civilian government

Under pressure from United States officials, Gen. Nguyen Khanh and the newly formed Armed Forces Council–generals who participated in the bloodless coup on December 19, 1964–agree to support the civilian government of Premier Trran Van Huong.The coup occurred when Khanh and a ...read more

Laker winning streak comes to an end

On January 9, 1972, the 24-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the Milwaukee Bucks in a 120-104 victory over Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers, breaking the Lakers’ record 33-game winning streak, the longest of any team in American professional sports.Coached by former ...read more

Richard M. Nixon is born

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th president of the United States, is born on this day in California. The son of Quaker parents, Nixon grew up in the southern California city of Yorba Linda. Early on he proved himself to be a stellar student, attending Whittier College and graduating ...read more

Record cold and snow decimates cattle herds

On one of the worst days of the “worst winter in the West,” nearly an inch of snow falls every hour for 16 hours, impeding the ability of already starving cattle to find food.The plains ranchers had seen hard winters before, but they had survived because their cattle had been ...read more

Virginia Woolf buys a house in Bloomsbury

On this day in 1924, Virginia Woolf and her husband buy a house at 52 Tavistock Square, in the Bloomsbury district of London near the British Museum. Woolf had been associated with the district since 1902, when she took a house in the area with her three siblings after their ...read more

Stallone starts filming Rocky

The classic rags-to-riches story got a macho spin in the Oscar-winning Rocky, which was written by its star, Sylvester Stallone, and began filming on this day in 1976. Stallone had his own rags-to-riches tale: Born in the gritty Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, he ...read more

Fire breaks out on Queen Elizabeth

On this day in 1972,, the ship Seawise University (formerly the RMS Queen Elizabeth) sinks in Hong Kong Harbor despite a massive firefighting effort over two days.The Queen Elizabeth, named after the wife of King George VI, was launched on September 27, 1938; at the time, it was ...read more

The Hillside Stranglers

Angelo Buono, one of the Hillside Stranglers, is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the rape, torture, and murder of 10 young women in Los Angeles. Buono’s cousin and partner in crime, Kenneth Bianchi, testified against Buono to escape the death penalty.Buono, a ...read more

Truman warns of Cold War dangers

In his 1952 State of the Union address, President Harry S. Truman warns Americans that they are “moving through a perilous time,” and calls for vigorous action to meet the communist threat. Though Truman’s popularity had nose-dived during the previous 18 months because of ...read more

“Star of the West” is fired upon

On this day in 1861,a Union merchant ship, the Star of the West, is fired upon as it tries to deliver supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. This incident was the first time shots were exchanged between North and South, although it not trigger the Civil ...read more

Bond movie features Aston Martin

On this day in 1965, the James Bond movie “Goldfinger,” which features the suave British super-spy driving an Aston Martin Silver Birch DB5 sports car, opens in theaters across the U.S. Aston Martins would go on to appear in a number of other Bond films.Aston Martin’s roots date ...read more