Smartphone Apple history

Hard to imagine now, but the first iteration of the iPhone did not have a number of features we take for granted today, like copy and paste, 3G and definitely not 5G, or even apps. Heck, you could also only sync it via iTunes on the desktop.

Since 2007, Apple has adapted and changed the design of the iPhone a number of times, ditching the metal design for a plastic one with the Apple iPhone 3G and 3GS, before moving to glass for the Apple iPhone 4. It was back to metal with the Apple iPhone 5, before glass made its comeback for the Apple iPhone 8 models, Apple iPhone X and the latest Apple iPhone XS models.

The iPhone has not escaped criticism over the years – there’s was “bendgate”, “antennagate”, and even a claim by some that their beard got trapped in the casing, but it is still a great success story. Here’s how the iPhone has evolved over its life.

Original Apple iPhone (2007)

A 3.5-inch screen with 480 × 320 resolution for 163ppi and a 412MHz ARM processor. This was where it all started for the iPhone. In many ways it was not the first, but it was certainly the most important smartphone launch.

Apple iPhone 3G (2008)

Largely identical to the original iPhone, but with slimmer metallic outer edging and the addition of 3G connectivity. Also note the appearance of the App Store icon. The shift to centralised app stores changed the way we used our phones.

Apple iPhone 3GS (2009)

Similar to the 3G in design but with a faster 600MHz ARM A8 CPU, double the RAM at 256GB, and fingerprint-resistant screen coating. This was about refining the experience to bring speed, with the addition of things like a digital compass and video capture.

Apple iPhone 4 (2010)

This is where design and power really jumped up, with a 3.5-inch 960 x 480 resolution screen and the introduction of the Retina display. The flattened glass design is now rather iconic, and it introduced a front camera with FaceTime.

Apple iPhone 4S (2011)

Much alike to the iPhone 4, but with the addition of more speed and the introduction of Siri as the personal assistant. The iPhone 4S announced by CEO Tim Cook on 4 October 2011; Steve Jobs passed away the following day on 5 October.

Apple iPhone 5 (2012)

Another jump for Apple, with a larger 4-inch display running 1136 x 640 resolution, bringing with it a change in aspect for the iPhone. It also introduced a new connector, Lightning.

Apple iPhone 5C (2013)

Basically the same as the iPhone 5, but with a plastic body. The Apple iPhone 5C was all about colour and fun, with a range of cases to make contrasting designs.

Apple iPhone 5S (2013)

Sticking to the design of the iPhone 5, the Apple iPhone 5S dropped the home button and introduced Touch ID, providing a way to unlock the phone and authenticate purchases from the App Store.

Apple iPhone 6 (2014)

This model saw a jump in size to a 4.7-inch 1334 x 640 screen with 326ppi, with a shift to a metal body. It also introduced Apple Pay, but was blighted by “bendgate”.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus (2014)

The same as the iPhone 6 largely except for a bigger 5.5-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution for 401ppi, plus a larger 2915mAh battery to keep it running. This was Apple recognising the growing trend in big phones.

Apple iPhone 6S (2015)

No visual design change from the iPhone 6 but an upgrade to the aluminium used to make it stronger, along with changes in performance and battery life and advanced features like 3D Touch and 4K video capture. It stuck to the 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 pixel resolution and packed in the Apple A9 chip.

Apple iPhone 6S Plus (2015)

The larger version of the 6S, it too offered a stronger body to fend off bendgate, while the display sat at 5.5-inches with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, powered by the A9 chip.

Apple iPhone SE (2016)

The iPhone SE made the unusual move off shifting back into the older design of the iPhone 5 models. It did so to offer a smaller, cheaper option, but it kept the powerful innards of the Apple Iphone 6S, so the A9 chip and the latest camera, but with a 4-inch display with 1136 x 640 pixels.

Apple iPhone 7 (2016)

Apple did not do a major redesign for the iPhone 7, although the introduction of Jet Black caused a stir, as did the evolution of (Product) Red. The iPhone 7 is powered by the A10 chip and adds waterproofing, while the display size and resolution remains as it was.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus (2016)

This larger version of the phone marked its arrival by doing something that Apple had not done before: it presented a major difference in feature set with the introduction of the twin camera on the rear. While the rest of the phone incrementally moves on from the 6S Plus, partnering the new iPhone 7, the dual camera is all new, offering bokeh portrait and 2x optical zoom for quality close ups.

Apple iPhone 8 (2017)

The display size and resolution might be the same as the iPhone 7 in the iPhone 8 but Apple added True Tone technology, made move back to glass over metal and doubled the storage capacities available. It also added wireless charging capabilities and upgraded the processor to the A11 chip.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus (2017)

Like the smaller model, the iPhone 8 Plus offers True Tone technology, wireless charging, a new processor over its predecessor and double the storage. It, and the smaller iPhone 8, were the last model to offer Touch ID as a biometric option with the iPhone X setting the standard for the future iPhones with Face ID.

Apple iPhone X (2017)

The iPhone X was the 10-year anniversary iPhone, marking the biggest shift in design since the original device from 2007. It launched with an OLED display, minimal bezels and Face ID facial recognition, ditching one of the iPhone’s most iconic interactions: the home button.

Apple iPhone XR (2018)

The iPhone XR sits at the bottom of the 2018 iPhone X range, offering an aluminium frame over stainless steel, a single camera over dual and an LCD display over OLED. It brought plenty of power, a large display, great camera and colour though, making it a great buy for most.

Apple iPhone XS (2018)

The iPhone XS offers an improved camera over the iPhone X, dual-SIM support, A12 Bionic chip and a 512GB storage option, as well as a longer battery life and a new Gold finish. The design remains the same as the 10 year anniversary model though.

Apple iPhone XS Max (2018)

The iPhone XS Max introduced the option of a bigger model of the iPhone X one year after the 10 year anniversary model, with all the same improvements as the iPhone XS but in a larger, expensive and fabulous package.

Apple iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 succeeds the iPhone XR, and while it is identical in size, it adds a secondary camera on the rear, along with a new camera housing that has a frosted finish. There are also some great new colours. The iPhone 11 has new hardware over the XR and some great new camera capabilities thanks to the wide-angle camera.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro succeeds the iPhone XS with an all-new, somewhat polarising camera housing, a lovely frosted matte glass finish and plenty of hardware upgrades – especially in the camera department.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro offers an identical design to the iPhone 11 Pro but on a larger scale, succeeding the iPhone XS Max. It is a 6.5 inch beauty – especially in the midnight green colour and its camera capabilities are excellent, with Night Mode making low light shots much better.


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