What 8 of the world's most popular tech gadgets looked like when they were first released

Steve Jobs launching the original iPhone in 2007. (Source: Apple)
  • It seems like every other year, the latest iPhone kicks its predecessor to the curb, effectively making it obsolete.
  • But as technology encompasses more of our lives, we often forget the original gadgets that helped kick off the digital age.
  • Nintendo’s GameBoy, which debuted in 1989, revolutionised hand-held gaming. Apple’s Macintosh, the company’s first personal computer, debuted to a sceptical public, but quickly made its way into homes across the world.
  • Take a look at some of today’s popular tech gadget when they were first released.

In an age of technological overload, tech gadgets released two years ago can seem just as dated today as those that came out in the 1980s.

As a society, we have abandoned clunky, plastic cell phones with antennas for sleek iPhones made of glass; wired controllers for wireless virtual reality headsets.

Take, for example, Microsoft’s Xbox: Released in 2001, the gaming console was big, bulky, and slow. And it didn’t yet feature its most popular trait, Xbox Live.

Today, the console’s design is much sleeker. It’s moving further away from cords, wires, and even disc drives – in fact, it’s rumoured the console may soon abandon CDs completely.

Here’s how eight other tech gadgets have evolved from then to now:

Released in 2007, the iPhone revolutionised the way we use technology.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The iPhone effectively gave consumers access to their futuristic dream of having a computer in their pockets. When introducing the device, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, “We want to make it so easy to use that everyone can use it.”

Considered peak innovation at the time, the iPhone has improved significantly in the last 12 years, both in style and substance.

Source: The New York Times

Apple unveiled the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR in 2018, three new iterations of its popular smartphone.

GettyThe iPhone XS, left, and iPhone XS Max.

The present-day devices are bigger, no doubt, and more difficult to fit in your back pocket. Yet, the features on the iPhone XS and iPhone XR (pronounced “ten ex” and “ten are”) are ones none of us would have dreamed of in 2007.

You can now go anywhere without your wallet, thanks to Apple Pay; dual cameras help capture images with the quality of a seasoned pro; and to top it off, the Health app helps track everything from your sleep schedule, to nutrition, activity, and mindfulness.

Source: Business Insider

Amazon’s Kindle was released in 2007. It came only in white and had an E-Ink display that made reading easy on the eyes.

The first Kindle wasn’t a touchscreen, but instead had a full keyboard and manual scroll wheel. The device offered access to 90,000 books at launch and started at $US399. It sold out within 5.5. hours of being released.

Source: Amazon, Gizmodo

Today, Amazon’s Kindle starts at $US80 and comes in varying styles and sizes.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Amazon currently offers three styles: Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kindle Oasis.

The current versions come with features like waterproofing, built-in Audible – Amazon’s spoken entertainment programming – and WiFi and cellular connectivity.

Source: Amazon

Microsoft jumped into the gaming console market in 2001 with Xbox.

Microsoft/Getty Images

A year after the console debuted, Microsoft launched Xbox Live, where users can game online with others.

Source: The New York Times

Fast-forward nearly two decades, and Microsoft has sold more than 30 million Xbox One units.

MicrosoftMicrosoft currently offers two versions of its console, the Xbox One X, left, and the Xbox One S.

Microsoft stopped releasing sales figures for its consoles, but less than two years ago, Variety reported that Microsoft had sold about 30 million consoles by the end of 2017. Microsoft disputed that figure, but didn’t clarify how many consoles were sold.

While the console started off with cords and CD drives, its remotes are all wireless now, and there may be no disc drives at all in coming models – Microsoft is reportedly working on a new, strictly digital console that will launch this spring.

Source: Business Insider,Variety

The Apple Macintosh made its debut in 1984 as the first mass-market personal computer.

Mark Madeo/Future Publishing via Getty Images

A project spearheaded by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the Macintosh set out to revolutionise personal computing.

Rather simplistic (and clunky) in nature, the Macintosh included a graphical user interface, built-in screen, and mouse.

Source: The New York Times

Today, Apple offers an array of personal computers and laptops, like the iMac and the MacBook.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

While the 1984 Macintosh was limited in its scope by today’s standards, Apple’s latest line of personal computers have infinite capabilities: high-definition displays, 10 hours of battery life for laptops, and up to 4 terabytes of storage.

Source: Apple

Korean tech giant Samsung started making televisions in the 1970s. By the late ’90s, it created the world’s first mass-produced digital TV.

Wan Kam-yan/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesIn this 2002 photo, Steven Yu Kam-hon, former Hong Kong General Manager of Samsung Electronics, shows off the company’s LCD TV.

In the early 2000s, Samsung began making HD TVs, and expanded to Blu-Ray players and home theatre equipment as well.

Source: Business Insider

In 2019, Samsung is offering a line of televisions with smart capabilities — and even a monster, 219-inch TV called “The Wall.”


Like most newer models of nearly all tech products, Samsung’s current lineup of TVs is a lot sleeker, faster, and more vibrant – not to mention bigger.

Samsung’s current range of TVs also offer smart capabilities, like built-in streaming apps, but TVs like the Wall can also be used to to display a picture, painting, or piece of framed art when the device is turned off.

Source: Business Insider

Sony’s PlayStation was released nearly 25 years ago.

The new 2018 Sony Playstation Classic (L) is displayed next to the 1994 Sony Playstation Classic.

PlayStation was Sony’s first game console. Since then, the company has released a renewed version for those wanting to relive their childhood memories.

Source: Business Insider

Sony has taken its game console a long way since 1994.


The newest PlayStation console, the PS4 Pro, ditches the classic grey console for a sleek, black design. It starts at $US400.

Source: Sony

Nintendo’s GameBoy came out in 1989 and effectively made gaming mainstream.

SSPL/Getty Images

The console did so well, in fact, that it went on to sell more than 118 million units worldwide.

Source: Statista

Nintendo Switch, the company’s latest stab at handheld gaming, was released in 2017.


Since then, there have been 32.27 million units sold worldwide.

Source: Business Insider

Apple released the first iPad nearly a decade ago, on April 3, 2010. At first, many people thought it would tank.

Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

The iPad had rounded edges, a touchscreen display, and came in the company’s now-famous space grey colour. It wasn’t the first-ever computer tablet, but Apple was able to sway its iPhone users by offering them the same feel with a bigger surface area.

And despite predictions by critics, more than 100 million total iPads were sold in just under two years.

Source: Business Insider

Today, Apple’s iPad Pro is pricey, starting at $US799 for an 11-inch display.

The current iPad is slimmer and lighter than the original version. Plus, its screen is significantly larger, its software has become much more intuitive, and it works with wireless accessories like the Apple Pencil.

Source: Business Insider

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