As the late Apple head Steve Jobs appeared on Macworld conference stage on January 9, 2007, attendees were already expecting the premiere of an Apple smartphone. But Jobs first sought to sow a little confusion.

"Today we are introducing three revolutionary products," Jobs said. "The first one is a wide-screen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device." Was he really introducing three new devices?

Soon everyone in San Francisco's Moscone Center knew what he meant: "These are not three separate devices, this is one device. And we are calling it iPhone." Apple had reinvented the phone, Jobs said. As it turned out Apple had invented far more: a way to comfortably carry a fully functioning computer in one's pocket.

Mike Lazaridis, at the time co-head of smartphone pioneer Blackberry, watched the Jobs announcement in his fitness room and began to ponder. A smartphone that can download music, videos and maps? How could they do it without overwhelming mobile networks?

Indeed, some of the first iPhone users complained of clogged networks. A year later Apple provided the iPhone with a faster 3G wireless connection. With the iPhone 3GS in 2009, Apple started the tradition of denoting small model alterations with the letter "S."

With the iPhone 4, Apple in 2010 again took a big step forward. The radical new design impressed customers with its the high-resolution screen.

The iPhone went on to become a mega-seller and led to Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world. More than 1 billion iPhones have been sold in the product's 10-year history.

In the process Jobs reversed the power dynamic in telecommunications, forcing network providers to dance to his tune, rather than the opposite.

The iPhone's influence was challenged only by Google's Android operating system, used by Samsung and many others.

At the premiere a decade ago, Jobs referred to how the iPhone and its software were protected by patents. But these did not prove especially effective in a bitterly fought patent war.

Apple saw only small legal success against Samsung, but could not stop Android. While the Google system runs on more than 80 per cent of all smartphones, Apple still takes the dominant share of profits in the industry. In 2014, current Apple boss Tim Cook and Google co-founder Larry Page ended the patent war.

The enormous economic success of the iPhone led to environmentalists and human rights activists making Apple responsible for many of the industry's woes. Greenpeace charged in 2007 that the iPhone was made with dangerous chemicals. Also, Apple above all was blamed for poor working conditions at Chinese subcontractor Foxconn - not other customers like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Microsoft or Sony.

And every September, when Apple unveils a new model, consumer watchdogs debate if it is really necessary to purchase a new iPhone.

Jobs' successor Cook has emphasized that environmental protection principles be respected and, if possible, only conflict-free raw materials used. He also pushed for better conditions in Chinese factories.

The debate around Apple has become less about politics and more about whether the company is still capable of innovation after Jobs' death. Jobs died on October 5, 2011, a day after Cook introduced the iPhone 4S.

Cook's performance can be considered in pure economic terms. The iPhone 6 launch in 2014 was especially successful, with holiday season purchases of the larger model driving up iPhone sales 46 per cent to about 74.5 million units sold.

In the last year, iPhone sales fell for the first time since entering the market. Critics doubt if the iPhone 7, with few new features, can reverse the trend.

Nevertheless, the iPhone remains in the spotlight of public interest, and statistics from Apple competitor Google confirm this. In the Top 10 list of the most searched terms of the year, iPhone 7 ranked third behind EM 2016 and Pokeman Go. Other smartphones, like Google's Pixel, did not appear on the list.

"iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live," Cook said in a statement celebrating the anniversary.

"iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come."

Related stories

How iPhone changed our world in just 10 years

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iPhone 7

Apple's iPhone 7 loses headphone jack, gains water resistance

Google rejects EU anti-competition charges over Android system

Tenth anniversary marks iPhone's evolution

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.