First Generation iPhone

The First In Line: Greg Packer And The Purchase Of The World’s First iPhone

Every iconic product has an origin story. For Apple’s pioneering iPhone, the tale is as much about the device as it is about the man who first bought it, Greg Packer, a journalist from New York.

This post explores the captivating story of Packer and his journey to becoming the world’s first iPhone owner.

The iPhone: A Revolutionary Device

When Apple Inc. announced the first iPhone on January 9, 2007, the world was agog with anticipation. Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and then-CEO, presented it as a revolutionary product that was set to change the world of mobile technology. The iPhone was the first device to combine the functionalities of a mobile phone, an iPod, and a web browser into a single device, redefining what a smartphone meant.

Steve Jobs launching first iPhone
Steve Jobs launching first iPhone

Pricing was set at $499 for the 8GB model and $599 for the 16GB variant, a price point that, while high, has now been dwarfed by current smartphone costs. Despite this significant investment, thousands around the world eagerly awaited its release. One of those individuals was Greg Packer, who had a unique ambition of his own: to be the first person in the world to own an iPhone.

Who Is Greg Packer?

Greg Packer is a man with a history of being “first.” He hails from Huntington, New York, and his past is sprinkled with instances of him being first in line for high-profile public events. From being the first to sign the condolence book after Princess Diana’s death in 1997 to meeting President Bush after his first inauguration in 2001, Packer has always been ahead of the crowd.

His penchant for being first is not just limited to the sphere of politics. He was also the first in line to view Ground Zero at the opening of the World Trade Center site. Packer’s dedication to being at the forefront of events has seen him rub shoulders with celebrities like Mariah Carey and Ringo Starr.

His fascination doesn’t stop there. Packer has a well-documented history of offering his perspective as a “man on the street” to major news agencies. His inputs have graced the pages of publications like The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, and he’s even been featured on major television networks such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

Packer’s First iPhone Purchase

Given Packer’s penchant for being first, it came as no surprise when he set his sights on the iPhone. He was determined to be the first person in the world to own this revolutionary device. His determination saw him camping in front of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store four days before the iPhone’s launch date.

He was quickly noticed by Apple bloggers, with photos of him holding a handwritten sign asking for donations toward his cause circulating the internet.

On June 29, 2007, his tenacity paid off. Greg Packer became the first person to purchase an iPhone at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan, New York. His purchase was not driven by an overwhelming love for Apple or even a particular need for a smartphone. It was about his continuous drive to be the first, to be a part of history.

Greg Packer - First person to purchase an iPhone
Greg Packer – First person to purchase an iPhone with his iPhone

Life After The Purchase

Greg Packer did not simply purchase the iPhone and retire into obscurity. Quite the contrary, he plunged headfirst into utilizing the device. From checking emails, browsing the web, playing music, and even taking photos of the Apple Store and its employees, Packer explored the functionalities of his new device. He became one of the first people to use the App Store, sampling the variety of applications available for download.

The first iPhone was also treated with a collector’s reverence. Packer carefully preserved it in its original condition, retaining the packaging and the box, transforming it into a collector’s item. To this day, it is one of the most coveted collector’s items, with historians, tech enthusiasts, and Apple aficionados showing a keen interest in the first iPhone.

Packer’s celebrity status was further amplified after his first iPhone purchase. He was interviewed by leading publications and appeared on television shows and documentaries. He remains a massive Apple fan, having purchased every model since the first iPhone and avidly using all Apple products. He even maintains a blog, where he chronicles his experiences with Apple products and provides insights on the latest releases.


Greg Packer’s story is one of enthusiasm, tenacity, and a love for being first. His journey to becoming the first iPhone owner in the world offers a glimpse into the fervor that surrounded the iPhone’s launch and the transformational impact of the device on mobile technology.

Packer’s journey and the story of the first iPhone serve as a reminder of how products and people can become intertwined, crafting a narrative that stands the test of time.

Today, the iPhone has moved on to its latest iteration, but the spirit of innovation and revolution that marked its first launch lives on. And so does the tale of the man who bought the first iPhone – a tale that shows us how individual stories can become part of a larger cultural narrative.


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