And now a trip down memory lane... Apple launched the iPhone seven years ago on 9 January 2007!

Apple CEO Steve Jobs confirmed industry whispers today, launching the long-anticipated iPhone.

The iPhone is perhaps the most advanced handheld communication/entertainment system ever created. It combines iPod and phone functions with a slew of powerful handheld applications. And it runs Mac OS X.

"Apple is going to reinvent the phone," Jobs said during his keynote speech. "After today, nobody is going to look at these other mobile phones the same way again."

The small, lightweight, 11mm thick iPhone combines three products: a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, searching and maps.

It introduces a new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering new software — users control iPhone with just their fingers.

It was possible to adjust images using your fingers, and set them to be your background wallpaper on the original iPhone

“iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We are all born with the ultimate pointing device — our fingers — and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”

iPhone allows users to make calls by simply pointing at a name or number. It syncs all your contacts from your PC, Mac or internet service such as Yahoo!, so that you always have your full list of up-to-date contacts with you. You can also create a favourites list for your most frequently made calls, and easily merge calls together to create conference calls.

The device also introduces Visual Voicemail, which lets users look at a listing of their voicemails, decide which messages to listen to, then go directly to those messages without listening to the prior messages. Like email, this feature lets users access those messages that interest them most.

This was a first: users of the original iPhone didn't have to listen to voice mail to know who had left it

iPhone also includes an SMS application with a full QWERTY soft keyboard to send and receive SMS messages in multiple sessions. When users need to type, iPhone presents them with an elegant touch keyboard which is predictive to prevent and correct mistakes, making it much easier and more efficient to use than the small plastic keyboards on many smartphones. iPhone also includes a calendar application that allows calendars to be automatically synced with your PC or Mac.

iPhone features a 2 megapixel camera and a photo management application. Users can browse their photo library, which can be easily synced from their PC or Mac, with a flick of a finger and can choose a photo for their wallpaper or to include in an email.

The handset is a quad-band GSM phone which also features EDGE and WiFi wireless technologies for data networking. Apple has chosen Cingular, the best and most popular carrier in the US with over 58 million subscribers, to be Apple’s exclusive US carrier partner.

The device is also effectively a widescreen iPod with touch controls — you can choose what song you want just by pointing at it, scrolling throgh lists of songs, artists, albums and playlists with just a flick of a finger. Album artwork is stunningly presented on iPhone’s large and vibrant display — it also supports CoverFlow.

iPhone offers a 3.5in widescreen display which lets users watch TV shows and movies, with touch controls for play-pause, chapter forward-backward and volume. Naturally the device is capable of playing movies purchased from the iTunes Store.

iPhone also offers a rich HTML email client which fetches your email in the background from most POP3 or IMAP mail services and displays photos and graphics right along with the text. The device is capable of multi-tasking — you can read a web page in the iPhone's built-in Safari web browser while you download email in the background.

Yahoo! Mail, the world’s largest email service with over 250 million users, is offering a new free “push” IMAP email service to all iPhone users that automatically pushes new email to a user’s iPhone, and can be set up by simply entering your Yahoo! name and password. iPhone will also work with most industry standard IMAP and POP based email services, such as Microsoft Exchange, Apple .Mac Mail, AOL Mail, Google Gmail and most ISP mail services.

Users can surf the web from just about anywhere over Wi-Fi or EDGE, and can automatically sync their bookmarks from their PC or Mac. iPhone’s Safari web browser also includes built-in Google Search and Yahoo! Search.

iPhone also includes Google Maps. Users can view maps, satellite images, traffic information and get directions, all from iPhone’s remarkable and easy-to-use touch interface.

The device employs advanced built-in sensors — an accelerometer, a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor — that automatically enhance the user experience and extend battery life. iPhone’s built-in accelerometer detects when the user has rotated the device from portrait to landscape, then automatically changes the contents of the display accordingly, with users immediately seeing the entire width of a web page, or a photo in its proper landscape aspect ratio.

You could turn your original iPhone on its side to view a photo in landscape

iPhone’s built-in proximity sensor detects when you lift iPhone to your ear and immediately turns off the display to save power and prevent inadvertent touches until iPhone is moved away. iPhone’s built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the display’s brightness to the appropriate level for the current light.

iPhone will be available in the US in June 2007, Europe in late 2007, and Asia in 2008, in a 4GB model for $499 and an 8GB model for $599. It works with both Macs and PCs and will be sold in the US through Apple’s retail and online stores, and through Cingular’s retail and online stores. Several iPhone accessories will also be available in June, including Apple’s new remarkably compact Bluetooth headset.

iPhone includes support for quad-band GSM, EDGE, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR wireless technologies.

iPhone requires a Mac with a USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X v10.4.8 or later and iTunes 7; or a Windows PC with a USB 2.0 port and Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4), Windows XP Home or Professional (Service Pack 2).

Apple and Cingular will announce service plans for iPhone before it begins shipping in June.