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Network World - June 29, 2007, the day the original iPhone went on sale, was a big day for Web developer Honey Berk. She got the Apple smartphone and a fiancé.
Today, she still has both, though the latter gets more use than the former. She's still an iPhone user, with an iPhone 4S, along with a new iPad to replace her original iPad (which she just sold on Craigslist for an astonishing $350). And five years later, the phone has become a constant and indispensable part of her personal life and professional work.
5 YEARS LATER: Do Apple's first iPhone ads ring a bell?
GAME CHANGER: iPhone then and now
She's now a senior project coordinator for the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at CUNY's Baruch College, and still does freelance Web projects. Berk, now 49, is a native of New York City and has never lived anywhere else.
Five years ago, her long-time boyfriend, Roy Harp, set out at 2 a.m. on Thursday June 28 to join the lengthening line outside Apple's SoHo neighborhood retail store at 103 Prince St. in lower Manhattan. People there and across the U.S. were lining up in hopes of buying the first iPhone, which had been unveiled by Apple CEO Steve Jobs barely six months earlier. He told her he wanted to buy the iPhone as a present for her upcoming birthday in July. She spent a few hours with him in line that night, and rejoined him the next day to enter the store when it opened.
It was a hot day in downtown New York, and the street and store were jammed, and the excitement of enthusiastic tech lovers was infectious, she recalls. Jubilant first buyers danced out waving the boxed iPhone to applause and cheers from those still in line and from Apple employees.
"I had followed the iPhone and was looking forward to it," Berk says. "But I didn't think I'd be able to get one for a long time. I didn't think there would be enough."
After the sale rang up, Harp slipped the Apple shopping bag with the new phone over her ring finger, dropped to his knees and asked her to marry him. Berk said yes. The moment was captured on a poor-quality video of the moment.) The video went somewhat viral, a metaphor for...well, for something: the romance of technology or the technology of romance. They're still together but haven't yet tied the knot.
As a freelance Web developer, Berk was one of those early buyers with some extensive technical background. She had been online even before there was a Web. She still has an AIM account with her original AOL username, and was active on Compuserv and Prodigy before that. She had owned several iPods by then, and gone through several cell phones, including models from Nokia and a clamshell Motorola StarTAC.
But the announcement of the iPhone, at Macworld in January 2007, riveted her attention. "It seemed like such a revolutionary way to communicate," she recalls. "It was visual and touch. It was completely different."
Yet her most vivid recollection of the next few days was the all-night wait for the phone to be activated, and how little she could actually do with it once it was. During the wait, she managed to load her email contacts through Microsoft Outlook. "You could put some music on it but there was nothing you could really do with it," she says.