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How the iPhone rewired Apple -- and the world -- in 10 years

The iPhone revolution

The iPhone not only changed how consumers communicate and get information, but it transformed Apple into one of the world's most valuable companies. 

When Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, he told the audience, "We're going to make some history today." That might have sounded like hyperbole at the time, but in retrospect his pronouncement appears prescient. 

Before the iPhone was introduced, Apple relied on iPods and Mac computers for the bulk of its revenue, which stood at about $19 billion in its fiscal year 2006. A decade later, the company's revenue surged more than tenfold, reaching $216 billion, largely thanks to sales from iPhones, which accounted for almost two-thirds of fiscal 2016 sales. 

To mark the 10th anniversary of the device, on Tuesday Apple is expected to introduce three new models instead of its typical two. 

"The iPhone has been, and continues to be absolutely everything for Apple," said Clement Thibault, senior analyst at "It is not far-fetched to think that there would be no Apple as we know it if it weren't for the iPhone."

A look back on a decade of the iPhone

He added, "In fact, it is an absolute certainty that Apple would not be worth in excess of $830 billion, and neither would it be the largest American company by market cap" without the iPhone. 

You can follow a live blog of the Apple event on CNET, beginning with "pre-show" coverage at noon Eastern, 9 a.m. Pacific.

The iPhone not only generated billions in value for Apple and its shareholders, but it's also credited with eroding the market share of its competitors. Blackberry (BBRY) was an early leader with its keyboard-enabled smartphones, leading some well-addicted fans to nickname them "crackberries." But as consumers migrated toward the iPhone and away from Blackberry's devices, the company never again matched its one-time domination. 

The iPhone has also changed the way consumers behave and consume media. Americans now spend about five hours a day on mobile devices, according to Flurry Analytics. Much of that time is spent on social media, with Facebook (FB) grabbing about 20 percent of consumers' smartphone time. 

Americans are also spending more hours texting and messaging, listening to music and playing games, although only a sliver of time is spent on productivity apps, the survey found. 

The iPhone's popularity has boosted the likes of Facebook, Twitter (TWTR) and Snapchat (SNAP), while also spawning countless app developers that create games and services for iPhone owners. 

iPhone 8 vs. Galaxy Note 8: What to expect from the new phones

Apple has hit bumps along the road, nevertheless. In 2010, a glitch meant some iPhone 4s were dropping signals even though the phones showed strong signal bars. Apple blamed a software bug. And in 2012, consumers were angered when Apple said its new operating system would ditch Google Maps, replacing it with Apple Maps, which was buggy and patchy. 

Now, analysts and investors wonder what's next for Apple and the new generation of iPhones.

Some consumers might experience sticker shock for the premium version of the iPhone 8, as consumers and pundits have taken to calling it, which may carry a price tag that tops $1,000. 

That would represent a price increase of about 30 percent from the $769 iPhone 7 Plus, currently Apple's most expensive phone. 

"Our economy as a whole relies on consumption, and Apple is no different. It needs to keep pushing out new phones not only because consumers expect it to, but because the upgrading cycle is of utmost importance for Apple's business," Thibault said. 

One of Apple's its biggest risks will be whether consumers will pony up for the premium phone, he noted. "Business wise, [Apple's challenge] will be its ability to convince consumers that the device is worth the price Apple is asking for," he said, "especially if the price hits higher than a thousand dollars."

Widespread adoption of a smartphone that pricey would likely again "make some history."