iPhone hits 10 years: A look back at its launch in Philly, and Mayor Street's infamous purchase

Mayor Street became the third person in Philadelphia to purchase the new iPhone, at the AT&T store on South 16th Street, in 2007.

The most infamous iPhone purchase in Philadelphia likely came on the device’s very first day.

Then-Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street waits to be third in line to purchase an iPhone on June 29, 2007.

When the now-ubiquitous smartphone made its debut, 10 years ago today, among the Philadelphians who waited in line for the highly anticipated device was then-Mayor John F. Street.

Unlike the iPhone itself, the mayor’s purchase didn’t exactly earn rave reviews.

“With all due respect, what the hell are you doing?” a WYSP radio host asked Street on-air. “Seriously. You’re the mayor of Philadelphia. You’re standing in line for a toy, basically.”

“Unfortunately, somewhere today, some person may get killed or five people will probably get shot,” Street’s successor, then-City Councilman Michael Nutter said that day. “So I think there are a few things that are critically important to being mayor of the city Philadelphia vs. getting a phone.”

(When a new version of the device went on sale a year later, after Nutter took office, the new mayor wasn’t among those lining up for a phone.)

Street, however, defended his time in line and the purchase. He said the wait was worth it, and he got work done while in line. He said he used his Blackberry to write emails and make phone calls.

“For those people who say, ‘Why isn’t the mayor at work?’, they fundamentally don’t know how work is done in the 21st century, with all these communication devices,” Street told the Inquirer as he waited in line.

The next version of the popular device will be the iPhone 8.