The History of the iPhone: From 2007 to Present

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In January 2007, Steve Jobs, the then CEO of Apple, announced a revolutionary product that would change the way people interacted with their phones forever. The product was the iPhone, and it was released on June 29, 2007. Since then, the iPhone has gone through numerous iterations and has become a ubiquitous part of modern life. In this article, we will trace the history of the iPhone from its launch in 2007 to the present day.

The First iPhone (2007)

The first iPhone was a game-changer in many ways. It had a large, high-resolution touch screen, a built-in camera, and a unique and intuitive user interface. It was also the first phone to feature the Safari web browser, which allowed users to browse the internet just like they would on a computer.

The iPhone ran on iOS, which was a new operating system designed specifically for the iPhone. It also had a range of other features, including a music player, email client, and messaging app. At the time, the iPhone was only available on AT&T’s network in the United States.

iPhone 3G (2008)

The iPhone 3G was released in July 2008 and featured 3G connectivity, which made browsing the internet and downloading apps much faster. It also introduced the App Store, which allowed developers to create and distribute their own apps to iPhone users.

The iPhone 3G also came with built-in GPS, which enabled turn-by-turn navigation and location-based services. It was also available in more countries and on more carriers, making it more accessible to people around the world.

iPhone 3GS (2009)

The iPhone 3GS was released in June 2009 and was a significant upgrade over the iPhone 3G. It featured a faster processor, more storage, and improved camera, and it introduced video recording to the iPhone for the first time.

It also introduced a new feature called Voice Control, which allowed users to control their iPhone using voice commands. This was a precursor to Siri, which would be introduced in later versions of the iPhone.

iPhone 4 (2010)

The iPhone 4 was released in June 2010 and was a major redesign of the iPhone. It featured a new, more angular design with a glass front and back and a stainless steel frame. It also had a high-resolution Retina display, which made images and text look sharper and clearer.

The iPhone 4 also introduced FaceTime, which allowed users to make video calls to other iPhone users. It also featured a new front-facing camera, which made taking selfies and making video calls much easier.

iPhone 4S (2011)

The iPhone 4S was released in October 2011 and was an incremental upgrade over the iPhone 4. It featured a faster processor, better camera, and improved Siri integration. Siri was a virtual assistant that could perform a range of tasks, including making phone calls, sending text messages, and setting reminders.

The iPhone 4S also introduced iCloud, which allowed users to store their photos, music, and other files in the cloud and access them from any device.

iPhone 5 (2012)

The iPhone 5 was released in September 2012 and was another significant redesign of the iPhone. It featured a larger, 4-inch display, a thinner and lighter design, and 4G LTE connectivity. It also introduced a new Lightning connector, which replaced the 30-pin connector that had been used in previous iPhones.

The iPhone 5 also introduced a new, faster processor and improved camera, as well as a new version of iOS that included a range of new features and improvements.

iPhone 5C and 5S (2013)

In September 2013, Apple released two new iPhones: the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5C featured a colorful plastic body and was designed to be a more affordable option for consumers. The iPhone 5S, on the other hand, featured a more premium design and introduced a new feature called Touch ID, which allowed users to unlock their phone and make purchases using their fingerprint.

The iPhone 5S also featured an improved camera and a faster processor, as well as a new version of iOS that introduced a range of new features and improvements.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (2014)

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were released in September 2014 and marked another major redesign of the iPhone. The iPhone 6 featured a larger, 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6 Plus featured an even larger 5.5-inch display. Both phones featured a new, rounded design with a metal body, and they were the first iPhones to support NFC, which enabled Apple Pay, a mobile payment system.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also introduced a new, faster processor and improved camera, as well as a new version of iOS that included a range of new features and improvements.

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus (2015)

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were released in September 2015 and were similar in design to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. However, they introduced a range of new features, including 3D Touch, which allowed the screen to detect different levels of pressure and enabled new interactions with apps and the user interface.

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus also featured an improved camera, a faster processor, and a new version of iOS that introduced a range of new features and improvements.

iPhone SE (2016)

The iPhone SE was released in March 2016 and was designed to be a more affordable option for consumers. It featured a design that was similar to the iPhone 5S, but it had updated hardware, including a faster processor and an improved camera.

The iPhone SE also introduced a new version of iOS that included a range of new features and improvements.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (2016)

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were released in September 2016 and marked another significant redesign of the iPhone. The iPhone 7 featured a new, water-resistant design with a metal body, and it was the first iPhone to remove the headphone jack, relying on wireless and Lightning-connected headphones instead.

The iPhone 7 Plus introduced a dual-camera system, which allowed for optical zoom and a range of new camera features. Both phones featured a faster processor and a new version of iOS that included a range of new features and improvements.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (2017)

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were released in September 2017 and featured a similar design to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. However, they introduced a range of new features, including wireless charging, an improved camera, and a new processor.

The iPhone 8 Plus also featured a new Portrait Lighting mode, which allowed for more advanced lighting effects in portrait photos. Both phones came with a new version of iOS that included a range of new features and improvements.

iPhone X (2017)

The iPhone X was released in November 2017 and marked a significant departure from previous iPhone designs. It featured a new, all-screen design with a notch at the top for the front-facing camera and Face ID, a new facial recognition system that replaced Touch ID.

The iPhone X also introduced a range of new features, including Animoji, which allowed users to create animated emojis using facial expressions, and a new, more advanced camera system with optical image stabilization and improved low-light performance. It also came with a new version of iOS that included a range of new features and improvements, including a redesigned control center and improved notifications.

iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR (2018)

An iPhone Xs in front of an iPhone Xs Max.  

In September 2018, Apple released three new iPhones: the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. The iPhone XS and XS Max featured an updated design that was similar to the iPhone X, while the iPhone XR featured a design that was similar to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, but with an all-screen display.

iPhone XR in white finish.  

All three phones featured a new, more powerful processor, improved cameras, and a new version of iOS that introduced a range of new features and improvements, including Memoji, which allowed users to create personalized emojis that looked like them.

iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max (2019)

A stack of iPhone 11 in six finishes.  

In September 2019, Apple released three new iPhones: the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 featured a design that was similar to the iPhone XR, while the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max featured a new, triple-camera system and a design that was similar to the iPhone XS and XS Max.

All three phones featured a new, more powerful processor and a new version of iOS that introduced a range of new features and improvements, including Dark Mode, which allowed users to switch to a darker color scheme for the user interface.

iPhone SE (2020)

The Second Generation iPhone SE in black, white and (PRODUCT)RED.  

In April 2020, Apple released a new version of the iPhone SE. The new iPhone SE featured a design that was similar to the iPhone 8, but with updated hardware, including a faster processor and improved camera.

The iPhone SE also came with a new version of iOS that introduced a range of new features and improvements, including improved Siri functionality and the ability to customize the appearance of the home screen.

iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 Mini (2020)

iPhone 12 in blue, red, white, green, and black aluminium finishes.

In October 2020, Apple released four new iPhones: the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max. All four phones featured a new, more angular design with an all-screen display and support for 5G connectivity.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Mini featured a dual-camera system, while the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max featured a triple-camera system with improved low-light performance and a LiDAR scanner for improved augmented reality experiences.

All four phones featured a new, more powerful processor and a new version of iOS that introduced a range of new features and improvements, including widgets on the home screen and improved privacy controls.

iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, and 13 Mini (2021)

iPhone 13 lineup in (PRODUCT)RED, starlight, midnight, blue, and pink.

In September 2021, Apple announced the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. They featured a design that looked virtually identical to the iPhone 12 models (save for some new colors), though the notch was significantly smaller.

Powered by the A15 Bionic chipset, all the iPhone 13 models brought a significant boost to battery life – a feature that had previously been one of the iPhone’s greatest shortcomings. They also introduced a new Cinematic Mode in video, recording footage with a depth effect that automatically changed the focus depending on the scene. The iPhone 13 Pro models were the first iPhones to ship with a 120Hz display, but this feature wasn’t available on the cheaper iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini.

iPhone SE 3 (2022)

Angled shot showing the display of the third generation iPhone SE in (PRODUCT)RED, midnight, and starlight.  

On March 8, 2022, Apple introduced the iPhone SE 3. Launched just two years after the iPhone SE 2, the iPhone SE 3 didn’t bring any major upgrades to the design, continuing to offer a small 4.7-inch display, thick bezels and a Home button with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The smartphone packed new features such as 5G, an A15 Bionic chip, and improved battery life. Apart from that, there wasn’t much difference from the older model.

iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max (2022)

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are shown in space black.

Announced at Apple’s ‘Far Out’ event on Sept. 7, 2022, the iPhone 14 series comprise the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone 14 Plus is a new model in the lineup, replacing the iPhone mini that Apple axed after just two years owing to poor performance. While the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus carry forward most features of the iPhone 13 series, including the A15 Bionic chip, the iPhone 14 Pro models brought all the upgrades.

The biggest change is the new Dynamic Island – an oval-shaped cutout that replaces the wide notch. Additionally, the Pro models feature a new 48MP primary camera, the biggest resolution upgrade on an iPhone in years. They are powered by the A16 Bionic chip, which brings only minor upgrades over the A15. Another new feature is the Always-On Display – the first on an iPhone.

All the iPhones in the iPhone 14 series feature the new Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via Satellite features, offering users access to emergency services when they may be immobile after a car crash or have no cell service or Wi-Fi access. The new iPhones also get rid of the physical SIM tray in the U.S., leaving users with only eSIM as a connectivity option. The new iPhone 14 Pro models are Apple’s most powerful iPhones yet, but the iPhone 15 series is expected to bring even more upgrades, most notably, the inclusion of a USB-C port instead of Lightning.

Conclusion

The iPhone has come a long way since its initial release in 2007. With each new iteration, Apple has introduced new features and improved performance, design, and functionality. The iPhone has become more than just a phone; it is now a central part of many people’s lives, providing a range of features and functions that were once unimaginable. As we look to the future, it will be exciting to see what new innovations Apple has in store for the iPhone.

GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
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