The Complete History Of The iPhone

Steve Jobs had a knack for surprising his fans and his critics. He had the mantra that he gave consumers what they needed not necessarily what they thought they wanted. In 2007, Apple was a company deeply cemented in the personal computer market. Their switch to a more universally-friendly Intel architecture gave them wider appeal and the MacBook was quickly becoming the go-to laptop for students and business professionals alike.

And right when consumers were hyper-focused on Apple’s line of computers, Steve Jobs threw them a curveball. On January 9, 2007, Jobs was seemingly wrapping up his Macworld presentation. As audiences braced for dismissal, ready to get out of their seats and leave the auditorium, Steve uttered what has become some of the most famous words in tech history.

“There is one more thing.”

June 29, 2007 — the iPhone is Unveiled

First iPhone

Apple reinvents the phone.

Steve’s delivery of “one more thing” was purposefully tongue in cheek. What he was about to unveil was the 1st generation iPhone. It did what many smartphones were as yet unable to accomplish—it had a super-responsive touch screen that made physical hardware buttons completely unnecessary.

iPhone 1st Gen Specs

  • Camera: 2MP
  • Display: 3.5”
  • Resolution: 320×480 pixels
  • Memory: 128MB

July 11, 2008 — the iPhone 3G Brings 3G Connectivity to the iPhone

The iPhone you have been waiting for.

The iPhone 3G wasn’t the third iPhone in the series. Instead, the 3G moniker was meant to highlight the phone’s cutting-edge 3G connectivity. While we may scoff at 3G speeds today, in 2008 3G speeds felt like something out of science fiction—consumers could finally browse the web or even stream some music like they were on their computer at home. The iPhone 3GS also came with a GPS and the App Store, which opened the iOS ecosystem to third-party developers.

iPhone 3G Specs

  • Camera: 2MP (geotagging introduced thanks to GPS)
  • Display: 3.5”
  • Resolution: 320×480 pixels
  • Memory: 128MB

June 19, 2009 — “The S Stands for Speed”, the iPhone 3GS is Released

The fastest, smartest phone yet.

Phil Schiller, top dog at Apple, let audience members know that the “S” in “3GS” stood for “Speed” when he unveiled the iPhone 3GS at Apple’s keynote in 2009. The 3GS, while seemingly similar to the 3G due to its name, was a big jump in performance for the iPhone. It featured a higher resolution camera, double the ram of its predecessor, and a faster processor.

iPhone 3GS Specs

  • Camera: 3MP
  • Display: 3.5”
  • Resolution: 320×480 pixels
  • Memory: 256MB

June 24, 2010 — A New Form Factor, A New Crisis; The iPhone 4

This changes everything. Again.

iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 brought with it an entirely new form factor, which initially delighted consumers. However, many iPhone owners complained of signal issues, which they guessed was due to the unique design of the phone. While “antennaegate” was a PR nightmare, the iPhone 4 remains a long-lasting success for Apple. With a sleek glass back cover, the iPhone 4 was a product of the beautiful industrial design that Apple has always been known for. And with Apple’s new “Retina display”, the iPhone 4 had one of the clearest displays on the market.

iPhone 4 Specs

  • Camera: 5MP
  • Display: 3.5”
  • Resolution: 960×640 pixels (huge jump in resolution, thanks to Apple’s Retina display)
  • Memory: 512MB

October 14, 2011 — “The S Stands For Siri”, The iPhone 4S Is Steve’s Last

The most amazing iPhone yet.

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The iPhone 4S was seen by many fans of Apple as the perfected form of the 4 in every way. It was also the last iPhone to be conceived within Steve Job’s lifetime due to his untimely death from pancreatic cancer the day after the phone’s unveiling. While the “S” in “3GS” stood for “Speed”, the “S” in “4S” stood instead for “SIRI”, which was an innovative new virtual assistant that could be beckoned by verbal command. The iPhone 4S was a major upgrade from the iPhone 4–it had a much faster processor, a much larger camera that could shoot 1080p video, and came complete with iOS 5, which brought a completely new dynamic to the operating system.

iPhone 4S Specs

  • Camera: 8MP (could shoot video in 1080p)
  • Display: 3.5”
  • Resolution: 960×640 pixels
  • Memory: 512MB

September 21, 2012 — Apple Lengthens Its Screen Size With The iPhone 5

Loving it is easy. That’s why so many people do.

iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 again updated the phone’s form factor, replacing the fragile back glass of the iPhone 4 and 4S design with brushed aluminum. The all-aluminum body made the iPhone 5 the lightest iPhone yet even though it was packed with updated hardware. Most notably, Apple finally revised its screen size, going for a taller display while keeping the width the same.

  • Camera: 8MP
  • Display: 4”
  • Resolution: 1,136×640 pixels
  • Memory: 1GB

September 20, 2013 — Apple Provides Two Options With The iPhone 5C And iPhone 5S

(5C) For the colorful. (5S) You’re more powerful thank you think.

In 2013, Apple decided to revise its iPhone lineup to include two iPhones. The iPhone 5C was, for all intents and purposes, the same hardware as the iPhone 5 but with a less expensive polycarbonate shell that came in multiple colors.

On the other hand, the iPhone 5S was a true update to the iPhone lineup. It featured the same external design of the iPhone 5 except for a new white/gold and silver/black color options. However, the internal components of the iPhone 5S were completely new, including the first 64-bit CPU to ever be featured on a smartphone.

iPhone 5S Specs

  • Camera: 2MP
  • Display: 3.5”
  • Resolution: 320×480 pixels
  • Memory: 128MB

September 19, 2014 — Bigger, Better, And Bendier; The iPhone 6/6 Plus

Bigger than bigger.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus introduced Apple’s “plus-sized option” in their iPhone lineup, which they’ve hung on to ever since. Both phones featured an aluminum shell, which while beautiful, was susceptible to physical damage due to the length of the phones. The media dubbed this design failure as “bendgate”. Even with its flaws, the iPhone 6 remains a successful phone.

iPhone 6/6 Plus Specs

  • Camera: 8MP
  • Display: (6) 4.7”, (6 Plus) 5.5”
  • Resolution: (6) 1334×750 pixels (6 Plus) 1920×1080 pixels
  • Memory: 1GB

September 25, 2015 — Design Improvements Fix The iPhone 6S/6S Plus

The only thing that’s changed is everything.

While the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus had its critics, Apple seemed to listen to their audience and when they unveiled the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, consumers found an iPhone with a similar form factor to the original 6 but with a myriad of improvements. With a stronger chassis, an updated CPU, and a better camera, many consumers were happy to once again upgrade their iPhone.

iPhone 6S/6S Plus Specs

  • Camera: 12MP
  • Display: (6S) 4.7” (6S Plus) 5.5”
  • Resolution: (6S) 1334×750 pixels (6S Plus) 1920×1080 pixels
  • Memory: 2GB

March 31, 2016 — Apple Unveils A Special Edition iPhone With The iPhone SE

A big step for small.

iPhone SE

With the bigger form factor of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus came critics that still wanted an iPhone that could comfortably fit in the palm of their hand. Apple listened and in March they unveiled the iPhone SE, which stands as one of the smallest and lightest iPhones ever released. With the iPhone SE, consumers saw the last iteration of iPhone of that size and, sadly, the last iPhone to ever feature a 3.5mm headphone jack.

iPhone SE Specs

  • Camera: 12MP
  • Display: 4”
  • Resolution: 1136x 640 pixels
  • Memory: 2GB

September 16, 2016 — Water And Dust Resistance Comes To The iPhone 7/7 Plus

This is 7.

The iPhone 7 form factor was very much the same as the iPhone 6S. However, the iPhone 7 brought with it water and dust resistance, which was a long-awaited feature requested by consumers. With water resistance came the removal of the headphone jack and a new, capacitive home button. The iPhone 7 was a giant leap for Apple and a taste of the kinds of changes that were yet to come.

iPhone 7/7 Plus Specs

  • Camera: (7) 12MP (7 Plus) 12MP + telephoto lens
  • Display: (7) 4.7” (7 Plus) 5.5”
  • Resolution: (7) 1334×750 pixels (7 Plus) 1920×1080 pixels
  • Memory: (7) 2GB (7 Plus) 3GB

September 22, 2017 — iPhone 8/8 Plus Heralds In The Return Of The Glass Back.

A new generation of iPhone.

Just when consumers thought that the glass back of the iPhone 4 and 4S were figments of their imagination, Apple brought it back for the iPhone 8. Glass is reportedly a better conductor than aluminum, and the iPhone 8 features wireless charging, so it seems that Apple had good reason to reintroduce the design to its lineup. While physically similar to the iPhone 7S, the iPhone 8’s hardware is closer to the iPhone X, which released shortly after the iPhone 8 in an unprecedented decision by Apple.

iPhone 8/8 Plus Specs

  • Camera: (8) 12MP (8 Plus) 12MP + telephoto lens
  • Display: (8) 4.7” (8 Plus) 5.5”
  • Resolution: (8) 1334×750 pixels (8 Plus) 1920×1080 pixels
  • Memory: (8) 2GB (8 Plus) 3GB

November 3, 2017 — 10 Years Of iPhone Culminates Into The iPhone X

Say hello to the future.

iPhone X

The iPhone X was meant to showcase 10 years of iPhone innovation. Apple removed the home button entirely and replaced it with Face ID and introduced an “edge-to-edge” display featuring the first OLED to ever appear on an iPhone. At $999, the iPhone X was Apple’s most expensive iPhone ever. Even with sticker shock, the iPhone X was a resounding success.

iPhone X Specs

  • Camera: 12MP + telephoto lens
  • Display: 5.8”
  • Resolution: 2436×1125 pixels
  • Memory: 3GB

September 21, 2018 — Where Do You Go After X? To The iPhone XS/XS Max.

Welcome to the big screens.

The iPhone XS and XS Max brought a bit more of the status quo back to Apple’s iPhone. While the iPhone X was a standalone phone that did not feature a plus-sized model, the XS and XS Max returned to the standard and plus-sized standards that Apple is typical of. The iPhone XS was a standard update to the iPhone X.

iPhone XS/XS Max Specs

  • Camera: 12MP + telephoto lens
  • Display: (XS) 5.8” (XS Max) 6.5”
  • Resolution: (XS) 2436×1125 pixels (XS Max) 2688×1242
  • Memory: 4GB

October 26, 2018 — The iPhone XR Acts As A Stop-Gap Between The X And The 8.

Brilliant. In every way.

While Apple’s naming structure may be hard to follow, it’s easy to see that the iPhone XR is more of a predecessor to the iPhone 8 than the iPhone X, both in its form factor and price. However, the iPhone XR comes with a bunch of good hardware upgrades that allow it to stand alone from the pack. Notably, Apple touts its best screen yet, which it calls its “Liquid Retina display”.

iPhone XR Specs

  • Camera: 12MP + telephoto lens
  • Display: 6.08”
  • Resolution: 1792×828 pixels
  • Memory: 3GB

September 20, 2019 — Luxury, Function, Sophisticated; The iPhone 11, 11 Pro, And 11 Pro Max

Just the right amount of everything.

iPhone 11

As its lineup evolves, it seems that Apple is becoming less and less concerned with diversifying its current line of iPhones. In 2019, Apple unveiled 3 different phones to the masses, each with its distinct specifications. The iPhone 11 in many ways acts as the successor of the popular iPhone XR. However, the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max stand on their own with three cameras and a multitude of other new features.

iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max Specs

  • Camera: (11) 12MP + telephoto lens (11 Pro and 11 Pro Max) 12 MP + wide-angle lens + telephoto lens
  • Display: (11) 6.06” (11 Pro) 5.8” (11 Pro Max) 6.5”
  • Resolution: (11) 1792×828 pixels) (11 Pro) 2436×1125 pixels (11 Pro Max) 2688×1242 pixels
  • Memory: 4GB