Timeline: A short history of the Apple iPhone

Apple iPhone

Today could herald a revamped iPhone from Apple, at its Worldwide Developer's Conference. In the two years since the phone's launch, it has changed the world of mobile, bringing about a new age of smartphones with touchscreens, proper mobile browsing, decent music players and third-party applications.

There isn't a mobile manufacturer out there that hasn't been forced to acknowledge the Apple iPhone touchscreens are now ubiquitous while everyone from Microsoft to Nokia have launched application stores.

For Apple, its iconic phone has helped boost profits even in the face of a recession.

Ahead of the possible launch of the third-generation iPhone, we look back at the short history of the gadget.

The rumours

Ahead of the arrival of the first generation iPhone, rumours abounded about how successful the device would be and what it would be called. The iPod Phone just doesn't have the same ring to it

Hard as it may be to believe these days, back in 2006 people couldn't wrap their minds around the wonder that would be the iPhone. A survey by Entertainment Media Research showed how wrong predictions could be, suggesting the British public wouldn't want such a device, but would prefer to keep their phones, iPods and browsing separate.

The first generation

The first ever iPhone was unveiled in January 2007. At the time, Steve Jobs described it as "a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years' ahead of any other mobile phone."

Cisco wasn't so amazed by the name as that firm had already registered it as a trademark. The usual legal fireworks ensued, but they have obviously since been sorted. The iPhone hit the US in June, while the UK had to wait until November.

Lucky O2 won exclusivity for the shiny new phone, and on 9 November 2007 it went on sale in O2 shops, in addition to the Apple Store and in Carphone Warehouse.

Despite the phone's widespread availability, people queued through the night to be the first to get their hands on one.

Click here for our review of the first-generation iPhone.

The second generation: 3G

Ahead of the launch of the next iPhone, Apple unveiled its third-party application plans which eventually evolved into the major success that is the App Store.

A year-and-half after the first iPhone, Apple added 3G and refreshed the hardware.

Before the iPhone 3G even hit stores in July, it was selling out online.

The handset had a few problems, with its charger and security, but overall, it managed to follow its older sibling's success.

Click here for our review of the 3G iPhone.

The next generation: iPhone 3.0?

In March this year, Apple announced it would upgrade its firmware finally adding the ability to cut and paste.

And today, many expect Apple to unveil a 32GB version although we'll have to wait until tonight to see exactly what Apple plans for its next iPhone.

Click here for our three-way mobile OS battle is Android, Windows or the iPhone's Safari best?