History of iPhone

The Evolution of Smartphones: History of iPhone


iPhones, today, are the most popular and recognized smartphones on the market. They can be compared to the Rolex of smartphones. Spawning a new trend in phone design, innovative features, and durability, iPhones have helped shape the way consumers view smartphones. So, what’s the story behind the rise of iPhones? What did the first iPhone look like? Here’s a little history and evolution of Apple’s historic iPhone models.

📱 The First iPhone

Released on 29th June 2007.

Apple’s first iPhone laid the foundation for an era where smartphones became pocket-sized computers. Starting with a sale price of $499 for the 4GB model, and $599 for the 8GB model, the first iPhone offered a 2MP camera and a 3.5-inch screen with multi-touch features. Although market gurus heavily criticized the phone, they were soon proved wrong. People were impressed with Steve Jobs’s idea of “a phone, an iPod, and an internet communicator.”

Even though there wasn’t an App Store available for the first iPhone, the real catch was internet access. Unlike the other phones of the time, the first iPhone offered complete internet access on a phone screen. This was the giant leap that changed the technology world forever.

iPhone 3G

Released on 11th July 2008

There wasn’t much difference between the specifications and features of the first iPhone and the iPhone 3G. But this iPhone was sold like hotcakes, with approximately one million units sold in the first weekend. The feature that made a big difference was the addition of Apple’s very own App Store and 3G internet connectivity.

The first iPhone did have internet connectivity, but it only supported 2G. iPhone 3G, as the name implies, supports 3G internet, allowing people to surf and connect much faster.

iPhone 3GS

Released on 19th June 2009

With the arrival of the 3G internet and App store, the 8GB or 16GB storage was certainly not enough to handle the Apps, music, and photos. So, Apple sent iPhone 3GS to the rescue with a 32 GB storage option. Besides, the camera jumped from 2MP to 3MP with a video recording feature. Also, the iPhone 3GS was the first model to get a voice control feature. Few years before the birth of Siri.

iPhone 4

Released on 24th June 2010

iPhone 4 came into the market with a tagline, “This changes everything. Again.” For the first time in iPhone history, Apple introduced the front camera and a Retina display. However, the eye-catching feature of this phone was its design. With 1.7 million units sold within the first week, this design was appreciated so much that Apple chose to keep it for its upcoming model.

Apart from the design, this iPhone got a camera upgrade to 5MP and a memory upgrade to 512 MB. However, the 32GB phone storage remained the same.

iPhone 4s

Released on 14th October 2011

2011 was Apple’s most difficult and depressing year. The man who founded Apple, Steve Jobs, died on October 5, 2011, only one day after the iPhone 4s was unveiled. Tim Cook, formerly in charge of logistics at Apple, succeeded Jobs as CEO and presided over the iPhone 4s launch.

The intelligent voice assistant Siri was the iPhone 4s’ main selling point. However, the phone still had a 3.5-inch screen, making it smaller than the Android rivals that were gaining popularity with users who preferred larger handsets.

Besides Siri, the phone was equipped with two internal antennas, which resolved the terrible “antenna-gate” issues of the iPhone 4. Moreover, a few other significant features introduced were an 8MP camera, Apple A5 processor, iCloud, and 64 GB storage.

iPhone 5

Released on 21st September 2012

The iPhone 5 debuted as the first taller iPhone – it increased from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. It added a 16:9 aspect ratio that was more useful for watching movies and shooting videos. However, this was not the huge change that many fans expected.

This phone also represented a significant turning point for Apple because it was the first to use a chip that was self-manufactured by Apple. The Apple A5 laid the substantial groundwork with its improved design and speed. Now, Apple could better tailor the performance of its phone to the processor it had developed. The new iPhone 5 was lighter and thinner than the previous models.

Finally, it was the first phone in iPhone history to support 4G LTE. Hello, faster internet! The color balance for the sRGB standard, which is used throughout the web for photos and video, was also improved.

iPhone 5s and 5c

Released on 20th September 2013

In late 2013, Apple was in the spotlight because rivals had already made larger-screen phones the norm. Although everyone anticipated a larger phone, the corporation was not yet prepared to reveal it.

The same year, Apple announced the iPhone 5s, which had the same design and size as the iPhone 5. However, two features led this iPhone ahead of all other competitors – the 64-bit A7 Cyclone chip and Touch-ID. At the time, no other phones in the market had these features. This worked in favor of Apple, and the company sold 9 million units in the first week.

iPhone 5c, on the other hand, was solely introduced for users who couldn’t afford to buy the flagship phone. It was almost half the price of the iPhone 5s and didn’t include new features that the iPhone 5s had.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Released on 19th September 2014

After years of waiting, in 2014, Apple finally stepped into the big-screen world by launching iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The former had a 4.7-inch screen, while the latter had a 5.5-inch screen. These phones were elegantly designed with a slim and durable metal body.

The pair quickly dominated the market because the design was far better than the typical plastic bodies offered by other competitors. It wouldn’t be wrong to claim that iPhone 6 set the norm of metal bodies as the standard for other flagships in the market.

Apart from the design, these models were equipped with an improved camera with a continuous auto-focus feature for making videos.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

Released on 19th September 2015

After being on a quest for thicker smartphones, Apple raised the thickness of its new iPhones for the first time in 2015. The idea behind the thicker phone was to introduce a revolutionary display technology. Apple named the technology ‘3D Touch’ and included it in several of its own apps. Everything functioned somewhat as a right click, a convenient shortcut for many apps to save time.

The first iPhones with 4K video recording capabilities were the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Android phones have supported 4K video for years, but they have all had bothersome restrictions like a 5-minute clip time cap and no built-in 4K editing tools.

Although the iPhone 6s was released later than expected, it did everything right: video was captured at high frame rates, came out incredibly clear, and Apple updated the superb iMovie to allow up to two 4K video channels. Many laptops couldn’t edit 4K footage at the time, yet a phone could.

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iPhone SE (First Generation)

Released on 31st March 2016

To the delight of fans of smaller phones, the first-gen iPhone SE revived the previously famous 4-inch body size from the recent past.

However, the most amazing thing about this iPhone was its price – $400 for the 16GB model. After so many years, Apple launched a cheap phone loaded with features.

The first-gen SE had a superb main camera that performed very similarly to its flagship 6s siblings, along with the same powerful chip. The only drawback of this phone was the battery life which was lower than the previous bigger models.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Released on 16th September 2016

With the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launch, Apple finally said goodbye to 16 GB storage. The new models started at 32 GB and went up to 256 GB storage option. Another big feature introduced in this pair was waterproofing. But Apple took another bold move and eliminated the 3.5mm headphone jack. Although the audience went furious, it didn’t affect the sales. In fact, these models broke all the previous sales records.

The main reason behind the popularity of these models was the dual camera which enabled an enhanced zoom function and Portrait mode. The new software update introduced ‘Depth of Field’, allowing users to take stunning pictures.

As an alternative to a 3.5mm jack, the new iPhones came with EarPods and an adapter that could be plugged into the lightning port. In the same event, it made its headphone jack-removal announcement, and Apple also unveiled its wireless AirPods.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Released on 22nd September 2017

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus brought in wireless charging, thanks to the glass back of the device. The camera was fantastic and included new features to filter and edit the pictures. The newly introduced true-tone feature automatically reduced blue-light exposure, further enhancing the user experience. A 256 GB storage option was also made available for the first time in iPhone history.

By then, memories of the old headphone jack began to fade, and most iPhone users started getting used to wireless AirPods.

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iPhone X

Released on 3rd November 2017

The iPhone X was introduced ten years after the first iPhone. People were skeptical about why Apple skipped iPhone 9, but the reason is still unknown.

Anyways, the iPhone X came with an additional front cam that allowed selfies in portrait mode. The earlier models would only capture normal photos with the front camera, but the inclusion of portrait mode in selfies smitten the audience from the get-go.

iPhone X laid the road to the future. It was the first Apple device in iPhone history with a bezel-free, edge-to-edge screen with an OLED display. Not to forget the first-ever notch. Apple also brought in the face recognition system and eliminated the fingerprint Touch-ID.

iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

Released on 21st September 2018

In 2018 and the years that followed, Apple adopted the tradition of launching three phones simultaneously.

Like iPhone X, the iPhone X and XS Max also had a $1000+ price range. Both the new models were equipped with an AMOLED screen and dual camera with an additional telephoto lens.

iPhone XR, with a starting price of $750, was the most affordable in the line. But still, it wasn’t as cheap as other flagships in the market. This iPhone had slightly larger bezels on the front screen and a low-resolution LCD instead of the AMOLED screen. However, other features like the camera and the processor were the same as iPhone XS.

iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max

Released in September 2019

Following the previous trend, in 2019, Apple launched three new iPhones – 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. These models offered almost the same features of the previously launched iPhones with a new update in the camera.

All three new iPhones came with an ultra-wide camera, allowing users to take stunning pictures even within limited spaces.

These models were given the “Pro” tag, which Apple seems to connect with their premium AMOLED panels once more. This year, for the first time in iPhone history, Apple finally gave what the users had been asking for years: thicker phone bodies with significantly larger batteries that made the Pro and the Pro Max the top contenders for battery life.

The new iPhones also received a Night Mode feature, that would intelligently combine a long exposure shot with several other shots in an automated, simple procedure that would capture good images in extremely low light.

Yet again, iPhone 11 was the most widely used model in the line. The wise move by Apple to reduce the starting price of the iPhone 11 to $700 helped the device become more popular.

iPhone SE (Second Generation)

Released on 24th April 2020

Early in 2020, when the coronavirus epidemic spread and dealt serious damage to the economy, Apple brought back the SE moniker, and the phone was an immediate hit.

The second-gen SE was priced at $400 and used the most recent Apple A13 processor available at the time, making it significantly more powerful than any Android smartphone in that price category.

However, the new iPhone SE wasn’t nearly as small as the previous SE (first gen). Instead, it was of the same size as iPhone 8, offering a 4.7-inch screen. While the previous iPhones in this price range also featured an ultra-wide camera and a telephoto lens, the new SE Levelled the competition even with a single lens. The single camera on the rear could shoot 4K videos with superb resolution.

iPhone 12 Mini, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max

Released in October 2020

In late October 2020, Apple revealed four iPhones – The iPhone 12 series. This series received a complete revamp in looks and style after keeping with similar designs for years. The standard 12 Series models had thin bodies and iPhone 5-styled flat sides. The 12 Mini, however, had a compact body.

iPhone 12 series was also equipped with 5G, which Apple had not included in any of previous iPhones. Not only did Apple introduce 5G, but also managed it smartly with mmWave technology. If the phone wouldn’t find enough 5G signals, it would automatically switch to LTE to ensure a longer battery life.

While the previous models had LCD, the new 12 series featured an OLED screen with vivid, beautiful colours along with deep blacks.

iPhone 13 Mini, 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max

Released in September 2021

After the pandemic, the tech industry saw a global shortage of chipsets. Nevertheless, Apple chose not to stay behind and launched four new iPhones – the iPhone 13 series. Nothing was different in this series other than the battery.

All four iPhones in the 13 series come with bigger and improved batteries than the previous models. The mini’s battery capacity increased by 10% and the Pro Max’s battery capacity increased by around 20%. This has led to a considerable increase in battery life, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max holding the record for the best iPhone ever in terms of battery life.

The camera in the 13 series unveiled “Photographic Style,” which allowed the managing of color and contrast for the images. Unlike filters, Photographic Styles allowed users to design a unique appearance for each photo taken, and the system would apply it automatically.

Along with the Photographic styles, the camera also has a cinematic mode to record videos at 1080 pixels. The cinematic mode had the cool feature of blurring the background automatically to exhibit a more realistic cinematic effect. Although the photographers’ community criticized the cinematic feature as “low quality,” Apple fans loved it.

Additionally, the iPhone 13 series included brighter screens for better usage outdoors and a 20% reduction in the size of the screen notch. The models also got thicker in size since the batteries had gone bigger.

iPhone SE 2022 (Third Generation)

Released on 8th March 2022

In 2022 Apple launched the third member of the SE family. This phone, however, didn’t amuse the audience like its predecessors.

Apple copied the same old iPhone 6 design, that too with an LCD – a nearly obsolete concept in today’s flagships.

On the other hand, Apple gave the new SE an A15 processor. In 2022, this was not just the fastest processor available in a low-cost iPhone, but it was also the fastest processor available in any modern smartphone. There was a 10% increase in battery capacity, which was surprising given the unchanged size and thickness of the phone.

Notably, this was the first cheap iPhone with 5G. The phone possessed the much more crucial C band frequencies for widespread coverage even though it did not support mmWave.

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iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Plus

Released on 16th September and 7th October 2022

With the release of the iPhone 14, Apple took a turn in its design strategy and brought in the larger display, which was previously the insignia of the Pro and Pro Max series. Apart from the display, the iPhone 14 is equipped with exciting safety features. The Crash Detection features automatically detect if your car has a strong impact and informs security services. The satellite-powered emergency SOS sends an alert to emergency services if you’re lost and out of cellular range. We haven’t seen this emergency SOS feature in any other smartphone until now, other than those giant satellite phones.

Another impressive feature of the iPhone 14 series is the new dual-camera system. The camera has especially taken low-light photography to an advanced level.

iPhone 14 Pro & iPhone 14 Pro Max

The 6.1” iPhone 14 Pro has the same safety features as iPhone 14, but the new A16 Bionic chip is an added advantage. Apple introduced a surprising update to the A16 chip called “Dynamic Island.” This feature allows the screen notch to adapt to whatever the user is doing and display the notifications accordingly.

Another major upgrade came with the camera, which jumped to a whopping 48 MP. This is a huge upgrade since iPhone 13 had a 12 MP camera. Along with the 48 MP resolution, the camera has added options for cropping and framing and enhanced low-light photography.

Coming to the iPhone 14 Pro Max this phone has the same features as the 14 and 14 Pro, with an increase in size. The 6.7-inch 14 Pro Max is termed a battery giant for its 29 hours of battery life on video playback. This phone also has the clearest and brightest display colors of any iPhone to date.




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