Apple’s iPhone Hits 10 Years: Share Your First Memories Here

Ten years ago today, Apple launched sales of the iPhone, with massive line ups at Apple Stores and carrier partner AT&T in the USA. It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years of iPhone, which CEO Tim Cook gave a shout out to this morning:

For Canadians who wanted an iPhone, it took work to acquire it. You had to go to the U.S. and buy it yourself from an Apple Store (or get a friend to do it). But the problem is the phone needed to be unlocked in Canada, which was not easy.

Screenshot 2017 06 29 10 04 40

We purchased our 8GB iPhone from the Apple Store at Alderwood Mall down in Lynnwood, Washington (about 2.5 hours south of Vancouver). When I first experienced the iPhone inside the Apple Store, I knew I had to buy it.

But it wasn’t until a return trip down to Alderwood Mall did I make the plunge and fork out nearly $500 CAD at the time. It just so happened the top story on Digg (!) was about a new successful iPhone unlock for firmware version 1.1.1 (a jailbreak already existed). That sealed the deal.

Happy 10th birthday, iPhone. #originalgangsta #stillworks

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Using an unlocked iPhone in Canada at the time was an incredible feeling. Strangers who knew about the iPhone would randomly come up and ask to see the device, and were pretty much in awe most of the time.

During this time, Blackberry ruled the smartphone world and ‘crackberry’ users quickly dismissed the iPhone. I can’t blame them since it was so limited in what it could do. No apps, a touchscreen keyboard (which they feared) and a limited (but elegant) email app. But what really changed the game was how scary accurate multi-touch (pinch to zoom and ‘rubber banding’ was mind blowing) was and how we were able to have a full web browser with Safari. Not this ‘baby Internet’ (as Steve Jobs called it) that was on smartphones at the time.

It wasn’t until April of 2008 did Rogers announce it would be launching the iPhone in Canada on its GSM network. Ted Rogers said at the time “We’re thrilled to announce that we have a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to Canada later this year,” adding “We can’t tell you any more about it right now, but stay tuned.”

The Canadian iPhone 3G launch on July 11, 2008, overwhelmed Rogers stores and their activation servers. It was not a good day and despite waiting in line at 5:45AM, we left the Rogers store on West Broadway in Vancouver, empty handed. We later ended up buying our iPhone 3G in Victoria at a dealer store inside Tillicum Mall. Many of you shared your launch day horror stories as well on our site.

Fast forward to today, the iPhone is pretty much everywhere. It’s the computer in our pockets and it also is our camera capturing family memories. Kids who are using iPhones today #canteven imagine the hoops original iPhone owners had to jump through, to get one operating in Canada.

Here’s to another 10 years, iPhone. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

When was your first experience with an iPhone?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Dave L

    Picked up a iPhone 3GS when Bell (and Telus) launched their HSPA network back in late 2009. It was the best thing I’ve owned and it rendered my iPod Touch useless, where could you find a device that was an iPod, GPS, Phone, and Email and web browser device, there wasn’t much out there for competition.

  • Oh man…This takes me back! An OG here too. I remember back when the first iPhone was out in the US and not in Canada yet, and I was on my way in the Seattle area on my way back to Vancouver. I went to the closest Apple store around the University of Washington area to check it out and see if I liked it, cuz then I would definitely get the next one that was coming to Canada (iPhone 3G). I loved it, I was sold. I remember when this page started and around the same time or before it, the petition started to get Rogers to allow more data on their plans because it was ridiculous what they wanted to offer to start. I signed the petition and wrote in to Rogers and tried to help the cause. It seemed to work! Cuz I remember they added a 6GB plan to the mix for $30/mo and I jumped on that! On iPhone 3G launch day in Canada I went to Hillside mall in Victoria right when it opened in the morning and was 16th in line (there were a few die hards that day). I thought I could grab one on my way to the office that day, and be in the office around 10AM. Boy was I wrong! Oh yes, the Rogers server activation crash! I remember it taking 2 hrs for the 1st two guys to get their phones! Just nuts! The Rogers store manager that day was nice enough to buy us all – at this point sitting on the mall hallway floor just outside the store – some McDonald’s breakfast as a gesture for the long wait. Finally about 6 hrs later, I got my iPhone 3G (16GB I think). It was so worth it in the end though. And I was able to do some work from the Rogers store internet connection while sitting on the mall floor (this was before the days of free wifi everywhere). Ah good times!

  • Nice, the 3GS was a minor but nice speed bump of an upgrade of the 3G.

  • Awesome story, thanks for sharing. Free McDonald’s, what a bonus, haha. Those were the days, being one of the first official iPhone owners in the country.

  • Gerry Lee

    I still have the iPhone 3G kept away in my closet.

  • Olley

    bought one on eBay and bricked it right out of box when I tried to jailbreak it. good thing is that Lynwood mall is about 2 hours away so I spent a morning driving down to have it replaced. I showed the bricked phone to a genius and since the phone couldn’t be turned on at all, they made a decision to replace it with a new one. phewww

  • Kirk

    Never got the original but I did get the iPhone 3G and have it in my home all boxed up in pretty good condition

  • Hosaka

    I remember the original iPhone came out. While I was impressed, I was disappointed it only supported 2G and the hassle to get it working on Canadian soil. I waited until iPhone officially made it here in Canada and kept rocking the Motorola Q9h.

    iPhone 3G was announced in Canada, supported by Rogers and Fido (my provider). Happy as hell, I find out Fido was sold out so I turned to eBay and bought a 8GB for a little more than I would’ve paid from Fido without an agreement. I also jumped on the 6GB/$30 promo plan in 2009, replacing that awful Blackberry data plan I’ve had since the Nokia E62.

    I did buy the iPhone 3GS when that was released. The little speed improvement and getting a bigger storage space (16GB) was enough reasons to make the upgrade back then. Now, I’ve upgraded every other iPhone starting with the iPhone 4. Currently on the iPhone 6 and waiting for this year’s iPhone (8/X)