The original iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and it was released on June 29, 2007. It was priced at $499 for the 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model.
iPhone History: From the Original iPhone to iPhone 15Written by Mark Coulstring
The iPhone, introduced by Apple in 2007, stands as one of the most groundbreaking and transformative technological innovations of the 21st century. Its impact on the way we live, communicate, work, and play cannot be overstated.
Life Before the iPhone
Before the iPhone's inception, the mobile phone landscape was vastly different. These devices were primarily tools for voice communication, simple text messaging, and, at best, basic web browsing. The notion of a handheld device that could seamlessly combine a phone, music player, camera, and computer was a futuristic dream.
In the pre-iPhone era, mobile devices were often clunky and offered limited functionality. People carried a multitude of gadgets to meet their various needs: flip phones for calls, digital cameras for photography, MP3 players for music, and personal digital assistants (PDAs) for basic productivity. The iPhone was a game-changer, bringing all these functions into a single, sleek device.
It seamlessly integrates phone calls, text messaging, email, web browsing, and an ever-expanding array of applications within a beautifully designed package. This convergence of technologies not only simplified our lives but also opened the door to countless new possibilities, culminating thus far in the iPhone 15 Pro.
When Steve Jobs made iPhone's introduction, it marked a turning point in human interaction with technology. It redefined the way we access information, communicate with one another, and engage with the digital world.
The App Store, introduced in 2008, gave birth to a thriving ecosystem of third-party applications that catered to nearly every aspect of our lives. From entertainment and productivity to healthcare and education, the iPhone became a versatile tool that empowered individuals and industries alike.
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The Apple iPhones' sleek design and user-friendly interface set the standard for modern smartphones, while the constant innovation in hardware and software continued to shape our evolving digital landscape. In this article, we will explore the evolution of the iPhone, from its inception to its most recent iterations, and the profound impact it has had on our daily lives.
Let's take a look at some iPhone history and the advancements that were made in each model.
Begin the trip down memory lane:
iPhones By Release
As we embark on this journey through the iPhone's evolution, we're transported through time from the original iPhone to the iPhone 15 models, witnessing the transformative power of innovation. The iPhone's history reads like a technological epic, where each chapter brings a new wave of possibilities and reshapes the way we connect and engage with the world.
It all began with the original iPhone, released in 2007, which introduced us to the world of touchscreens and revolutionary mobile phone apps.
From there, each of the subsequent iPhone models brought forth their own set of groundbreaking features, leaving an indelible mark on our digital lives.
In this section, we'll embark on a chronological exploration of the iPhones by release, shedding light on the pioneering advancements and game-changing innovations that have defined each iteration. So, let's rewind from today's iPhone 15 Pro to where it all began, with the first iPhone.
On the day Steve Jobs presented the very first iPhone to the world, he said, “Apple is going to reinvent the phone”. Well, they sure did! Apple's first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and it was released on June 29, 2007. Priced at $499 for the 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model, it was a revolutionary device.
The original iPhone featured a 3.5-inch display, a 2-megapixel camera, and a multi-touch interface. It ran on a custom version of iOS, then called iPhone OS, and it combined an iPod, phone, and internet communicator in a single device.
The original iPhone was definitely the talk of the town, but the second generation, the iPhone 3G, featured 3G connectivity, GPS, and the App Store, which allowed users to download third-party apps. It retained the same design as the original iPhone but with updated internals.
The iPhone 3G was introduced on June 9, 2008, and it was available on July 11, 2008. It came in two models: 8GB and 16GB, priced at $199 and $299, respectively. Around this time, people began to see the iPhone's long-term potential.
The iPhone 3GS launched in 2009. It came in two storage capacities, 16GB and 32GB, priced at $199 and $299, respectively. It was faster, featured a 3-megapixel camera with video recording, and introduced voice control. This is when adding the S to the end of a name became an Apple tradition. In this scenario, the S seemingly stood for speed.
The iPhone 4 was a game changer. Unveiled on June 7, 2010, it became available on June 24, 2010. The iPhone 4 came in two models, 16GB and 32GB, priced at $199 and $299, respectively. It was a complete redesign with a sleek glass body and pixel-perfect retina display.
With the addition of a front-facing camera, Facetime also came into existence. This newly defined iPhone introduced a new era of multitasking as you could interact with multiple apps at once.
This iPhone was released in 2011 and only had minor updates. It came in three storage options: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, priced at $199, $299, and $399, respectively. The iPhone 4s retained the same design as the iPhone 4 and was powered by the dual-core A5 chip.
Additionally, The camera got upgraded to 8 megapixels and the S didn't stand for speed. It stood for “Siri”, the brand new voice assistant that now plays such a big role on the iPhone.
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With the the new iPhone 5, iPhone history took another big step. iPhone 5 was unveiled on September 12, 2012, and it became available on September 21, 2012. It came in three storage capacities: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, priced at $199, $299, and $399, respectively. The screen also included an additional row of icons. Did you realize that?
The iPhone 5 featured a taller 4-inch display and the A6 chip. It also replaced the charging port for a Lightning connector, added LTE support for new 4G networks, and the phone's casing was now made of lightweight aluminum.
Apple announced the iPhone 5s on September 10, 2013, and it was released on September 20, 2013. The iPhone 5s came in three storage options: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, priced at $199, $299, and $399, respectively. It was powered by the A7 chip with a 64-bit architecture and featured improved camera capabilities.
The iPhone 5s had minimal design upgrades, but the incredible Touch ID feature was introduced. Say goodbye to passwords! Now you can access your phone with the ease of a fingerprint. This iPhone also had a new M7 motion processor that enabled users to track their steps throughout the day. The idea of health and fitness tracking was on the horizon.
The fun and affordable option. Simultaneously with the iPhone 5s, Apple introduced the iPhone 5c on September 10, 2013. The iPhone 5c started at $99 for the 16GB model and $199 for the 32GB model. It featured a plastic, colorful shell and shared many internals with the iPhone 5.
With a few cosmetic changes, users now had a wide variety of options to choose from. This model did not have as much storage and the Touch ID feature was stripped off. At the time of the phone's release, Apple launched iOS 7 which brought a whole new level of multitasking for apps, and the Control Center was introduced for quick access to the iPhone's settings.
IPHONE 6 AND 6 PLUS
The iPhone 6 Plus was the first attempt at a large-screened smartphone with a display size of 5.5 inches from corner to corner. Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on September 9, 2014, and they were released on September 19, 2014. The iPhone 6 came in three storage capacities: 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB, priced at $199, $299, and $399, respectively.
The larger iPhone 6 Plus had the same storage capacities but was priced slightly higher. Both models featured a redesigned, thinner profile, larger displays, and the A8 chip. For some, the plus size was way too big to carry around in our pockets, but there were certainly Plus enthusiasts. These two models were the first to support Apple Pay and the camera became more advanced, giving better photo and video results.
IPHONE 6S AND IPHONE 6S PLUS
In 2015, some more iPhone history was made. Apple announced the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on September 9, 2015, with a release date of September 25, 2015. They were available in three storage options: 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB, priced at $199, $299, and $399 for the iPhone 6s, and slightly higher for the 6s Plus.
Although the outside of the phone didn't change much, the inside changed everything. These models introduced the A9 chip, and improved camera technology. Additionally, These phones supported LTE-Advanced networks and had completely new 3D Touch Displays, which was a new way of touching our phones. Apple also made it possible to take Live Photos.
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Since not everyone wants to have a smartphone with a big screen, Apple brought back the smaller 4-inch screen. The iPhone SE was introduced on March 21, 2016, and it was available on March 31, 2016. It was offered in two storage capacities, 16GB and 64GB, priced at $399 and $499, respectively.
This phone offered the majority of flagship features, just with a smaller screen. The iPhone SE combined the design of the iPhone 5s with the internals of the iPhone 6s, featuring the A9 chip, a 12-megapixel camera, and Touch ID. It catered to users who preferred a smaller, more affordable iPhone.
IPHONE 7 AND 7 PLUS
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus was the first time Apple didn't change the iPhone body after two years. Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on September 7, 2016, with a release date of September 16, 2016. These models came in three storage capacities: 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB, priced at $649, $749, and $849 for the iPhone 7, and higher for the 7 Plus.
The phones featured the A10 Fusion chip and an advanced dual-camera system, allowing users to take the perfect “Portrait” photos. The biggest change was the removal of the headphone jack, which led to controversial debates. Apple also decided to make the phone water-resistant and included the most advanced processors yet.
The iPhone 8 introduces an entirely new glass design and many more amazing features. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were announced on September 12, 2017, and they were released on September 22, 2017. They were offered in three storage options: 64GB, 256GB, and 64GB, priced at $699, $849, and $849 for the iPhone 8, and higher for the 8 Plus.
These models featured the most powerful and smartest chip ever, the A11 Bionic. The Retina HD display in combination with the new 12-megapixel camera makes your photos and videos look more colorful than ever. The A11 Bionic provides an amazing amount of power to create extraordinary augmented reality apps and games. Additionally, the phone can be charged wirelessly…say goodbye to annoying chargers.
This is an iPhone that is all display. On the same day as the iPhone 8 announcement, Apple unveiled the new iPhone X (pronounced as "iPhone Ten"). It was released on November 3, 2017, and it came in two storage capacities: 64GB and 256GB, priced at $999 and $1,149, respectively.
The seamless boundary between the device and the screen creates an immersive experience. Apple also eliminated the home button and created a navigation that is strictly gesture-based. Oh, and the cameras got a whole lot better too. The innovative TrueDepth camera system allows users to unlock their phone with just a glance, better known as Face ID. And the most exciting part, you can make your emojis talk!
Apple unveiled the iPhone XR on September 12, 2018. It was positioned as a more affordable alternative to the premium iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XR started at $749 for the base model.
It featured the A12 Bionic chip, a single-lens camera, and a colorful design. The LCD Liquid Retina display and Face ID were also included. It was a popular choice for those who wanted the core iPhone experience with a slightly lower price point.
The iPhone XS was also released on September 12, 2018, alongside the iPhone XR. The base model of the iPhone XS started at $999. It featured the A12 Bionic chip, a dual-lens camera system, and a stainless steel frame. The Super Retina OLED display and Face ID were highlights of the XS. It offered improvements in performance and camera capabilities over its predecessor, the iPhone X.
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IPHONE XS MAX
The iPhone XS Max was unveiled on September 12, 2018, alongside the iPhone XR. Priced starting at $1,099 for the base model, the XS Max featured the powerful A12 Bionic chip, a sophisticated dual-lens camera system, and a sleek stainless steel frame. The device boasted a Super Retina OLED display that delivered stunning visuals, and the introduction of Face ID further enhanced its security features.
Compared to its predecessor, the iPhone X, the XS Max offered significant improvements in both performance and camera capabilities, making it a compelling choice for Apple enthusiasts and smartphone users seeking cutting-edge technology.
IPHONE 11, IPHONE 11 PRO, AND IPHONE 11 PRO MAX
Apple introduced the iPhone 11 on September 10, 2019. It came in three models: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 was priced at $699 for the base model, while the Pro and the 11 Pro Max versions started at $999 and $1,099, respectively.
The iPhone 11 featured Apple's A13 Bionic chip, improved dual-camera system, and a longer battery life. It was praised for its value proposition and the quality of its cameras, making it an attractive choice for many consumers.
IPHONE 12, IPHONE 12 MINI, PRO, AND IPHONE 12 PRO MAX
On October 13, 2020, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 12 series, consisting of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 started at $799, while the Pro models began at $999 and $1,099, respectively.
The iPhone 12 series introduced 5G capabilities, a new MagSafe feature for improved accessories, and a sleek flat-edge design reminiscent of older iPhones. It featured the A14 Bionic chip, which was faster and more power-efficient, along with improved camera capabilities, making it a significant upgrade for iPhone users.
IPHONE 13, IPHONE 13 MINI, IPHONE 13 PRO, AND IPHONE 13 PRO MAX
Apple announced the iPhone 13 series on September 14, 2021. This lineup included the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Pricing for the base iPhone 13 started at $699, while the Pro models were priced at $999 and $1,099.
The iPhone 13 series continued to build on the A15 Bionic chip for enhanced performance and battery life. It featured camera improvements, including Cinematic Mode, and a smaller notch on the display. These new features, along with the reliability of the iPhone brand, continued to make the iPhone a popular choice among consumers.
IPHONE 14, IPHONE 14 PLUS, IPHONE 14 PRO, AND IPHONE 14 PRO MAX
Apple unveiled the iPhone 14 series, comprising the standard iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, on September 7, 2022. The iPhone 14 base, Pro, and Pro Max models were released on September 16, 2022, while the iPhone 14 Plus was released on October 7, 2022. Each model offered a range of storage options, with prices starting at $799 for the 128GB base model, while the Plus, Pro, and Pro Max models started at $899, $999, and $1099, respectively.
The iPhone 14 Series was powered by the A15 Bionic chip and boasted improved displays and faster RAM for enhanced performance. Notably, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models featured 1 terabyte storage options starting at $1499 and $1599, respectively. These higher-tier models touted Apple's latest chip advancement, the A16 Bionic Hexacore chip, enhancing their performance even further.
IPHONE 15, IPHONE 15 PLUS, IPHONE 15 PRO, AND IPHONE 15 PRO MAX
Apple introduced the iPhone 15 series on September 12, 2023, and it was released on September 22, 2023. This series consisted of four models: iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Prices start at $799 for the 128GB base model, with the Plus, Pro, and Pro Max models starting at $899, $999, and $1199, respectively.
The iPhone 15 Series brought numerous sweeping changes to the iPhone models up to this point. The iPhone 15 featured USB-C charging, camera quality improvements, and notably discontinued the iPhone Pro Max models with 128GB storage. The iPhone 15 base and iPhone 15 Plus models run on the A16 Binoic Hexacore chip, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Pro models run on Apple's latest chip innovation, the A17 Pro.
Competing with Giants: iPhone's Rivals from 2007 to 2021
The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 marked the birth of a new era in the mobile phone industry. With its innovative design and revolutionary touch interface, Apple disrupted the market and quickly gained a strong foothold.
However, innovative models like the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max didn't exist in isolation. Over the years, it faced fierce competition from several other tech giants, each with its own unique approach to smartphone technology.
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One of the most significant competitors to the iPhone has been the Android ecosystem. Led by Google, Android is an open-source operating system that's used by numerous smartphone manufacturers. Companies like Samsung, Huawei, and Google itself produced Android-powered devices that offered a wide range of features and price points, giving consumers more choices and diversity in the smartphone market.
Samsung Galaxy Series
Samsung's Galaxy series emerged as one of the most prominent challengers to the iPhone. With a variety of models, including the Galaxy S and Note series, Samsung offered larger screens, innovative features, and a reputation for powerful hardware. The Samsung Galaxy S and Note lines, in particular, garnered a loyal following and contributed to the Android ecosystem's growth.
Google entered the smartphone arena with its Pixel series, emphasizing a clean, stock Android experience and an exceptional camera system. The Google Pixel phones targeted users who preferred a pure Android experience and prompt software updates, setting them apart in the Android landscape.
Huawei and Xiaomi
Huawei and Xiaomi, based in China, became formidable competitors in the global smartphone market. Huawei's devices featured impressive camera technology and innovative hardware, while Xiaomi's focus on affordability and value for money made it a popular choice for budget-conscious consumers.
OnePlus, a subsidiary of OnePlus Technology, aimed to offer premium features and performance at a competitive price. Known for its "flagship killer" devices, OnePlus gained popularity among users seeking high-quality smartphones on par with the iPhone 15, without the hefty price tag.
LG, Sony, and HTC
Companies like LG, Sony, and HTC were once major players in the smartphone industry. LG's G series, Sony's Xperia line, and HTC's HTC One series offered unique features and designs, contributing to the diversity of options available to consumers.
Apple's Ongoing Dominance
Despite strong competition, Apple maintained Steve Jobs' legacy and its position as a leader in the smartphone industry. The iPhone 15's seamless integration with the iOS ecosystem, consistently impressive camera technology, and a focus on privacy and security continued to attract a dedicated user base.
The smartphone market has seen a dynamic interplay between Apple's iPhone and its competitors over the years. Each competitor brought its unique strengths and innovations, driving constant evolution in the industry, and even Apple's own internal design philosophies, as seen with USB-C charging on the iPhone 15 Series. By 2023, the smartphone landscape had become more diversified, offering a wide range of options and features to cater to various consumer preferences.
The iPhone has not only revolutionized the way we live but has also proven to be an immense financial success for Apple. Since its launch in 2007, iPhone has consistently been a cash cow, generating staggering revenues and profits for the company.
Apple's innovative approach to product design, marketing, and its loyal customer base have all contributed to this unprecedented success. The iPhone 15's appeal extends far beyond its hardware and software; it embodies a brand that resonates with millions of people worldwide.
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In September 2021, Apple had sold over 2.2 billion iPhones, and it's estimated that at the end of 2020, the iPhone had generated over $1.4 trillion in sales. These numbers are not only a testament to the device's popularity but also to its lasting impact on the consumer electronics industry. The iPhone's success has allowed Apple to diversify its product lineup and invest in other areas, such as services, wearables, and software.
Looking to the future, the iPhone's history will continue to shape the tech industry and how we interact with technology. The innovations introduced with each new iPhone model have set the bar for what consumers expect from their devices.
The emphasis on design, user experience, and ecosystem integration has influenced other manufacturers and led to a more competitive and innovative marketplace. Additionally, the App Store's model has transformed the way software is distributed, and it has inspired new business models and opportunities for developers.
The iPhone 15 and prior models serve as a blueprint for the importance of user-centric design, seamless integration, and continuous improvement. It also highlights the significance of a strong ecosystem and the potential for technology to be a catalyst for societal change.
As the iPhone's journey continues, iterations like the iPhone 15 will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of technological progress, shaping our lives and the future of the digital world for years to come.
The rapid advancements of Apple and devices like the iPhone 15 have truly transformed the way we live our everyday lives. Apple managed to accomplish all of this within 15 short years…we look forward to what's next.
Smartphones in 2024 and Beyond
As the iPhone's journey continues, with iterations like the iPhone 15 at the forefront of technological progress, it has undeniably transformed the way we live our everyday lives. Within just 15 years, Apple has achieved unprecedented success, reshaping the consumer electronics industry and influencing an ecosystem of innovation.
But what lies ahead for mobile phones in 2024 and beyond? Notably, the landscape is evolving, with new trends and technological advancements taking center stage. Foldable phones, exemplified by the OnePlus Open, are ushering in an era of high-quality internals and camera hardware, packaged within customizable, book-style folding displays.
Moreover, 2024 promises to bring a wave of exciting developments in phone camera technology. For instance, the Google Pixel 8 Series is rumored to feature substantial upgrades to both primary and ultrawide cameras, including improved sensors for enhanced performance in challenging low-light situations.
With Apple's rich legacy of innovation and the ongoing evolution of smartphones, it's clear that the world of mobile technology is poised for remarkable and transformative changes. As we look forward to what's next, the future of smartphones holds the promise of continued advancements, shaping the way we connect, capture moments, and experience the digital world in the years to come.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ'S)
Before the iPhone, mobile phones were primarily tools for voice communication, simple text messaging, and basic web browsing. The iPhone was revolutionary in seamlessly combining a phone, music player, camera, and computer into one device, changing how we interacted with technology.
The App Store introduced in 2008 gave birth to a thriving ecosystem of third-party applications that catered to nearly every aspect of our lives. It transformed the iPhone into a versatile tool that empowered individuals and industries with apps for entertainment, productivity, healthcare, and education.
The iPhone's sleek design and user-friendly interface set a standard for modern smartphones, emphasizing the importance of user-centric design and seamless integration of hardware and software. This approach influenced the entire smartphone industry.
Here's an overview of the major features and changes in each iPhone model from the original iPhone to the iPhone 15:
Original iPhone: Introduced touchscreens and revolutionary mobile phone apps.
iPhone 3G: Brought 3G connectivity, GPS, and the App Store.
iPhone 3GS: Faster performance, 3-megapixel camera, and voice control.
iPhone 4: Featured a sleek glass body, retina display, and FaceTime.
iPhone 4S: Introduced Siri, improved camera, and a dual-core A5 chip.
iPhone 5: Taller 4-inch display, Lightning connector, and lightweight aluminum casing.
iPhone 5S: A7 chip, Touch ID, M7 motion processor, and 64-bit architecture.
iPhone 5C: Affordable option with colorful plastic shell and iOS 7's multitasking features.
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Larger displays, A8 chip, and support for Apple Pay.
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus: A9 chip, 3D Touch Displays, and Live Photos.
iPhone SE: Smaller 4-inch screen, A9 chip, and 12-megapixel camera.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: A10 Fusion chip, dual-camera system, and water resistance.
iPhone 8: Glass design, A11 Bionic chip, and wireless charging.
iPhone X: All-display design, Face ID, and improved cameras.
iPhone XR: Affordable alternative with A12 Bionic chip and Face ID.
iPhone XS: A12 Bionic chip, stainless steel frame, and dual-lens camera.
iPhone 11 Series: A13 Bionic chip, improved dual-camera system, and longer battery life.
iPhone 12 Series: 5G capabilities, MagSafe feature, and flat-edge design.
iPhone 13 Series: A15 Bionic chip, camera improvements, and smaller notch.
iPhone 14 Series: A16 Bionic chip, improved displays, and storage options.
iPhone 15 Series: USB-C charging, camera quality improvements, and A17 Pro chip.
The iPhone faced competition from several major players in the smartphone market over the years, including the Android ecosystem, Samsung, Google Pixel, Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus, LG, Sony, and HTC.
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