'BlackBerry Is My Life': Remembering How Celebs Reacted to the First iPhone

This month marks the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone's debut—but back then, stars like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton didn't want to give up their BlackBerrys.

|
Jun 27 2017, 2:17pm

From left to right: Photo by Koichi Kamoshida, Mark Sullivan / Getty Images

This Week in 2007 is a weekly column looking back on Lindsay Lohan, the first iPhone, George W. Bush, and everything else we loved about the year 2007.

Ten years ago this summer at Los Angeles's Beverly Wilshire Hotel, A-listers posed on a white carpet. Paris Hilton and her sister Nicky's pale cocktail dresses matched the glorified rug, and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria made sure to show up in white spaghetti straps. They had gathered to celebrate the launch of a new white phone—the BlackBerry Curve, a tiny BlackBerry that resembled a huge lighter with a keypad.

"I'm a picture freak," Eva explained to Access Hollywood. "I'm a huge texter… I'm really fast [texter]. I'm known for text walking!" American Idol season five runner-up Katharine McPhee bragged, "BlackBerry is my life."

June 2007 may mark the ten-year anniversary of Steve Jobs launching the iPhone, but in Southern California a decade ago, celebrities were touting BlackBerrys. Few expected the iPhone to reach ubiquity in the Hollywood Hills. Far from Silicon Valley, many celebrities uttered silly technology predictions about BlackBerrys' dominance over their lives. A Getty Images search for "2007 phone celebrity" produces an array of actors clutching BlackBerrys as they enter meetings—but few Apple products. In regards to the iPhone, stars were at best ambivalent and at worst disdainful.

Six months after the iPhone's debut, Forbes magazine ran a story declaring BlackBerry the winner in the race to become celebrities' favorite bulky accessory. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were using BlackBerrys during the height of their fame. Britney Spears, perhaps the only person more notorious than Brangelina in 2007, touted a BlackBerry 8700c and BlackBerry 8310 (she also experimented with a LG enV, Sidekick LX, and Samsung u740), while noted traditionalist and "candy girl" Christina Aguilera stuck to her two-year-old BlackBerry 8700.

Read more: An Ode to the Love Story of Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz

BlackBerrys became so associated with celebrities that blogger Jacky Chui created a website called Celebrity BlackBerry Sightings. He told Forbes, "Being photographed with a BlackBerry shows people, 'I'm serious; I'm a mini-mogul.'" He also claimed celebrities gave BlackBerry an initiative to give them free products: "People want to live the life of the rich and famous."

Forbes notes that Lindsay Lohan briefly used an iPhone, only to ditch it for her old BlackBerry. Heather Dale, a blogger from Geek Sugar, remarked, "The iPhone just kind of faded away."

The publication also claims that Apple refused to pay celebrities to endorse iPhones, but points out that other companies would pay out. The Juicy Couture of relic phones, Sidekick ads featured Paris Hilton in 2005. Kim Kardashian rocked Sidekicks well throughout the Obama administration. In 2009, she tweeted, "Using my new sidekick lx right now!" Paris and Kim both seemed to show genuine love for the device; they were seen at social events texting on its bulky keyboard and staring at the screen.

The two have also remained ambivalent about iPhones. Paris relied on her BlackBerrys till 2011 when she settled for her first iPhone; when Broadly profiled the socialite in 2015, she showed up with three cell phones. (She said she depends on iPhones today, but still occasionally pulls out an old Blackberry.)

Kim continues to prefer BlackBerrys and has even developed a reputation for bidding on old BlackBerrys on eBay, although she owns an iPhone today. "I do have an iPhone, and I use it for photos. But if you write an email and you need to type fast—I like having the board," she explained at ReCode's 2014 Code/Mobile conference. "They don't even have them in stores anymore. I buy them on eBay. It's a BlackBerry Bold. And I like to have three in my room that I line up in case they break."

Like celebrities, trends morph over time. Today, you won't see young celebrities like Hailee Steinfeld clutching a BlackBerry. Last year, BlackBerry announced they had ceased designing their own phones. Americans shifted away from BlackBerry, and iPhones took over as the dominating, oversized phone of American life. Fashion has changed, but in dated Getty Images, BlackBerrys will remain frozen as stars.