Telecommunications

The Phone That Changed Everything

The Original iPhoneJune 29, 2007

Nearly 6 months after it was introduced, Apple’s highly-anticipated iPhone goes on sale. Generally downplayed by Old Word Technology pundits after its introduction, the iPhone was greeted by long lines of buyers around the country on that first day. Quickly becoming an overnight phenomenon, one million iPhones were sold in only 74 days. Since those early days, the ensuing iPhone models have continued to set sales records and have completely changed not only the smartphone and technology industries, but the world as well.

First Commercial Communications Satellite Activates

Intelsat IJune 28, 1965

Intelsat I, the first commercial communications satellite, is activated for service. It was nicknamed “Early Bird” after the famous proverb, and became famous for carrying the first commercial telephone call between America and Europe, as well as helping provide TV coverage of the Gemini 6 splashdown.

Laying of First Transatlantic Telephone Cable

HMTS MonarchJune 28, 1955

The HMTS Monarch, the largest cable laying ship in the world at the time, launches from Clarenville, Newfoundland to begin laying TAT-1, the first Transatlantic telephone cable. TAT-1 would be inaugurated 15 months later on September 25, 1956. TAT-1 may be best known for carrying the famous “hot line” between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

iPhone 4 Goes on Sale

iPhone 4 White & BlackJune 24, 2010

After a wild lead-up involving a prototype being lost at a bar, Apple’s iPhone 4 officially went on sale. Later the iPhone 4 would then become the subject of the Antennagate controversy. With so much attention given to the phone, it was no wonder it went on to set sales records.

Crossing the Atlantic With Cable

Transatlantic Cable ShipsJune 10, 1858

Two ships head out to begin work on what will become the first operational Transatlantic cable. Previous attempts at laying a Transatlantic cable had failed. Designed for telegraph operation, the cable run is completed on August 5th and the first test message is sent on August 12th. However, the cable fails on September 18th and repair was not possible at the time.

Really Geeky Modem Technology Patented

Hayes Smartmodem 300June 7, 1983

Michael Eaton is granted a patent for the AT Command Set for Modems, which had created a standard language for interacting with modems. Two years earlier, the rights for this command set were purchased by the Hayes Corporation and incorporated into the Hayes Smartmodem 300 as the “Hayes Command Set.” The protocol will become an industry standard used for years to come.

In the early 90’s, needing to use modems so that I could connect to pre-Internet bulletin board systems, I learned the AT command set. I then used and supported modems extensively for about 15 years, and occasionally still do. Because I worked with modems so much, I used to be able to speak the AT command set in my sleep. I know, it impresses the ladies.

Palm Pre Released

Palm PreJune 6, 2009

Palm, Inc. releases the Palm Pre smartphone through Sprint in an attempt to regain marketshare, after their Treo line of smartphones is dwarfed by Apple’s iPhone. Featuring the Linux-based Palm webOS operating system, the Pre receives some praise from technical reviewers, but due to poor marketing and the rapid pace in which Apple dominates the New World of smartphones, Palm’s series of phones and the webOS never really have a chance to gain a foothold. Within the course of one year, Palm is purchased by HP for $1.2 billion. One year later, after just 2 months of abysmal sales of their TouchPad tablets, HP halts production of all webOS-based devices. HP has announced they will release the source code for webOS under an open-source license, but the future of this once-promising mobile operating system looks bleak.

First Telegraph Service Launched

 

The First TelegraphMay 24, 1844

Samuel Morse sends the first telegraphic message over a line from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. The message, “What hath God wrought!” was transmitted to his partner, Alfred Vail, who retransmitted the same message back to Morse. This formally opened America’s first telegraph line, launching America’s first form of instant communication in history. The biblical text was selected by Annie Ellsworth, the teenage daughter of the U.S. Commissioner of Patents.

The Old World Gets Connected

Paris Rome TelephoneMay 23, 1903

Paris, France and Rome, Italy are connected by telephone for first time. Feel free to congratulate me for finding this picture at any time.

The First Cell Phone Call

Martin Cooper cell phoneApril 3, 1973

Martin Cooper, considered the “father of the cellular phone”, makes the first cell phone call on a New York City street.