The Most Memorable iPhone Moments of 2009

iPhone 2009

A lot happened with the world’s most revolutionary mobile device in 2009. Here is my attempt to sum it all up.

A timeline of the most notable iPhone events of the year:

January 2009

  • Steve Jobs

    January 14: Following a year of unprecedented success for iPhone and Apple, CEO Steve Jobs announces he will take a six-month leave of absence from Apple to focus on his health. Much speculation ensues over Jobs’ health and how his absence will affect the future of the company.

  • Hudson Plane crash on iPhone

    January 15: A plane crashes on the Hudson River. The first photo of the incident is captured not by the mainstream media, but by a citizen with an iPhone who posts the picture on Twitter.

February 2009

  • Windows Marketplace

    February 16: Six months after the launch of the iPhone App Store, Microsoft announces a new strategy that includes launching a Windows Marketplace for Windows Mobile phones. Once the dominant player in the PC and mobile spaces, Microsoft is now lagging behind Apple in the race for smartphone marketshare.

  • February 27: iPhone reaches 1 million sales in the UK.

March 2009

  • March 1: A report by web metrics firm Net Applications reveals that Apple dominates mobile search, with a “commanding lead” over other mobile devices.
  • iPhone 3.0

    March 17: Apple announces iPhone 3.0, a much-awaited software update that finally adds copy and paste, push notifications, Spotlight Search and other features to the iPhone.

April 2009

  • iPhone App Store

    April 10: Apple celebrates 1 billion downloads in the iPhone App Store.

  • April 20: AT&T doubles the downlink capacity of its 3G network in the US, in response to complaints of sluggish speeds on the network. The iPhone’s heavy data diet is to blame.
  • April 23: Bolstered by a wildly successful iPhone, Apple reports a 15 percent profit surge despite a weak economy.

May 2009

  • Nine Inch Nails

    May 7: Nine Inch Nails has its app rejected from the App Store because of obscenities in a podcast linked to in the app. The incident marks the beginning of a series of high-profile App Store rejections by Apple.

June 2009

  • iPorn

    June 8: Girls from the adult site iPorn crash Apple’s WWDC conference, determined to convince Apple execs to end the moratorium on adult iPhone apps in the App Store.

  • iPhone 3GS

    June 19: Apple starts selling the iPhone 3GS, the fastest, most powerful iPhone to date.

  • June 29: Steve Jobs returns to work at Apple two years after the launch of the first iPhone.

July 2009

  • UF iPhone

    July 3: The University of Florida announces it will require its pharmacy students to purchase iPhones or iPod Touches for use in the curriculum. The new policy highlights iPhone’s growing ubiquity in the United States.

  • iPhone death: Sun Danyong

    July 22: Foxconn worker Sun Danyong in China commits suicide after a secret iPhone prototype goes missing. One blogger said the story illustrates “how Apple’s secretive ways send extreme pressure all the way down the company’s international supply chain.”

  • Google Voice for iPhone

    July 28: Google Voice is rejected from the App Store. The move sparks an uproar about Apple’s App Store approval process.

August 2009

  • iPhone on Flickr

    August 18: iPhone becomes the most popular camera on Flickr. Apple’s device has surpassed the Canon Digital Rebel XTI on the photo sharing site, which is home to a range of iPhone photos (some quite stunning).

September 2009

  • September 9: Apple releases the iPhone 3.1 update, which adds a Genius-like recommendation system for iPhone apps.
  • iPhone MMS

    September 25: AT&T finally enables the much-awaited multimedia messaging service (MMS) for iPhone, a feature available on even the most rudimentary phones which lets users send photos and/or videos via text message.

October 2009

  • Augmented Reality on iPhone

    October 3: Augmented reality iPhone apps begin trickling into the App Store after the feature, which allows applications to impose a virtual data layer over a camera view of the real world, was enabled in iPhone 3.1. The technology promises to unveil a plethora of new possibilities for iPhone apps.

  • October 19: Apple reports soaring iPhone sales, 7.4 million in the previous quarter.
  • Nokia Apple Suit

    October 23: Nokia sues Apple, claiming the iPhone maker has infringed on no fewer than 10 Nokia patents “relating to GSM, UMTS and WLAN technologies.”

November 2009

  • November 4: Apple announces 100,000 apps, 2 billion downloads in the App Store.
  • Droid

    November 6: Verizon launches the Droid phone, which is powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system. The phone enjoys strong sales. Droid, along with other Android phones (some yet to arrive), contributes to the “Android Army” phenomenon that promises to steal marketshare from iPhone.

  • Rick Astley

    November 8: The first ever iPhone worm begins to spread across iPhones. Although not malicious, the virus “rickrolls” iPhones that have undergone a Jailbreak by plastering a photo of 80s pop singer Rick Astley on iPhone wallpapers. The virus raises questions about the security of Jailbreak, an unauthorized hack that enables a slew of custom iPhone modifications.

  • Joe Hewitt

    November 12: Facebook iPhone app developer Joe Hewitt quits the iPhone project, citing his concerns over an overly-stringent App Store approval process.

December 2009

  • December 1: A reference to the next-gen iPhone is spotted in usage logs by an iPhone app developer, suggesting that a new iPhone prototype is already in use by the folks at Apple.
  • December 11: Following Nokia’s suit against Apple in October, Apple files a countersuit against Nokia, alleging the company infringed on 13 of its iPhone patents.
  • Google Nexus One

    December 12: Google sources say the search giant is working on a mobile phone of its own, dubbed the Nexus One, which will run on the Android operating system and be sold online. Time will tell whether the official Google phone will emerge as a strong competitor to the iPhone.

  • Fake Steve Jobs

    December 14: To promote an anti-AT&T action dubbed “Operation Chokehold,” Newsweek blogger Dan Lyons (aka Fake Steve Jobs) circulates a memo encouraging US iPhone owners to simultaneously run data-heavy apps for one hour in order to cripple AT&T’s network and draw attention to much-needed infrastructure improvements. AT&T responds, calling the move “irresponsible.”

  • Ford App Store

    December 18: No doubt influenced by the success of the iPhone App Store, Ford announces it will launch an automotive app store for its vehicles.

It has been a busy year for Apple’s iPhone team, and for the mobile sphere in general. While iPhone held the spotlight in 2008, Android emerged in ’09 as a serious competitor. Nevertheless, the iPhone App Store remains firmly in the lead.

In two and a half years, the iPhone has changed how we organize our lives, how we communicate, and literally — with augmented reality — how we view the world. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

What do you think?

Which were the most memorable iPhone moments of 2009? Have I left any out? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Apple to Get a Cut of Cingular iPhone Profits

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs doesn’t play nice. Back in 2005, when asked about an iPod mobile phone, Jobs said Apple would have to get through many “orifices [i.e. cell phone service providers] to get to the end users.”

Well it seems Jobs has made it through these orifices, because not only did Apple establish a deal with Cingular (now AT&T) for the iPhone service, it managed to get around Cingular’s usual demands to control most of “every detail from processing power to the various features that come with the phone,” said the Wall Street Journal.

With the iPhone, Apple convinced Cingular that it knows Web surfing and multimedia better than they do. Apparently, this was important enough to Cingular that they agreed to give Apple a cut of the revenue generated from subscribers, even though AT&T won’t get a penny from iPhone sales. Is that a price worth paying to be the exclusive carrier of the Apple iPhone?

Why Steve Jobs Should Buy YouTube


I just dug up this article from August 2006 where Robert Young suggests Steve Jobs should buy YouTube because “the online video phenom can be to the video iPod what iTunes was to the audio iPod.”

Young said YouTube could also be a platform for a “highly-coveted stream of online ad revenues, particularly within the fast-growth, high-CPM video ad segment.”

Young’s article was written before Google bought YouTube, so a buy-out isn’t looking too good for Apple now. But it’s interesting to think about what YouTube could have meant for Apple now with the coming iPhone in addition to the iPod.

Apple could build a feature into iPhone to allow users to share YouTube videos via their phones. They could also somehow integrate Visual Voicemail into YouTube, perhaps by letting users insert video clips into their phone messages. I imagine this would make the iPhone that much more appealing to younger consumers.

Steve Jobs Turns Against DRM; iPhone Ploy?

Steve Jobs

“A world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats � is clearly the best alternative for consumers,” Steve Jobs said earlier this week in an open letter he posted on the Apple website titled “Thoughts on Music.”

Jobs said he wants to get rid of FairPlay, the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that prevents songs downloaded on iTunes from being loaded onto MP3 players other than Apple’s iPod.

While it may be that Apple is simply adapting to consumer demand for DRM-free music, it’s also possible (not unlikely, I think) that Steve Jobs’ new stance on DRM is intended to sway software companies and other online music and video vendors into selling DRM-free music so that it may be uploaded onto Apple’s upcoming iPhone.

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