iPhone started as a vision of one of the greatest innovators in the tech world, Steve Jobs. On the 10th Anniversary let us look back at the glorious 10 years of the revolutionary iPhone.
It was in early 2007 Steve Jobs made an announcement at Macworld Convention for the launch of the first generation of iPhone.
Steve always believed full-screen displays are the way of future and it has turned out to be exactly the same he had imagined 10 years ago.
Today every smartphone has moved towards full touch displays and it has rather become the norm for the smartphone market.
I vividly remember the lines of Steve Jobs during the launch event of the first iPhone in June 2007.
“iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone. We are all born with the ultimate pointing device—our fingers—and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”
It’s unbelievable how far-sighted Steve Jobs was and how well he knew the technology markets. Steve Jobs is a synonym for innovation and risk-taking.
Not only Apple took a risk with iPhone being the first full-touch enabled device, it also had rattled the market with its iPod [Source…].
Steve on the question of iPod being a necessity said, “It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want”. He believed giving them a revolutionary product would automatically create demand.
This was rather true in case of iPod. After the launch of iPod, it has changed the music industry completely. Never one had imagined an mp3 player to bring such turmoil.
iPhone 1 – 2007
If you remember watching one of the best launch events of the 21st century, those words will always echo through minds of every Tech lover. He started his presentation saying,
“Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a wide-screen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet-communications device.”
Everyone in the crowd was confused, as Steve had earlier announced the launch of a smartphone. Those days leaks and rumors were not so widespread as today.
Taking the audience by surprise, he finally revealed saying, “these are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone”.
Hence, marked the start of an era that even today excites Tech lovers all around the globe. It was something very different from what people had ever seen or imagined.
iPhone had ditched the physical qwerty keyboards we were used to on smartphones and mobile devices. It had a beautifully curved design with a 3.5” display at an impressive 320×480 ratio.
Remember this is 2007; iPhone received both the attention of press and consumers all over the US (it was launched first in the US). People had queued up in front of Apple stores days ahead of the launch.
The first iPhone supported a massive 3.5” full-touch display with 128 MB RAM and 4GB or 8GB variant. It supported 2G Edge, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 2-megapixel camera [source…].
All these might not sound overwhelming today. You have to remember it was 2007 and the specs were easy years ahead of the time. It was probably the most powerful device on the market then.
Steve Jobs was able to make his dream true making iPhone set the trend for full-touch devices. He never liked the stylus and wanted to make fingers the best-input devices.
With iPhone, 1st started the biggest smartphone trend that exists even today. iPhone still today is considered a benchmark in smartphone technology.
According to Techcrunch Apple sold over 6 million iPhones worldwide, considering it was locked to AT&T network and had slow internet speeds [Source…]. In Europe O2 distributed iPhone.
iPhone 3G- 2008
With its success in the market and among the Tech enthusiasts, it had a share of its criticism. The biggest of them was the slow speed on the internet browsing.
Taking this criticism Apple took a step forward in improving the speeds. This was made possible by the launch of Apple 3G in collaboration with the AT&T 3G network.
Not only had the browsing speeds improved in this new iPhone 3G. There were other important features like GPS and third-party apps were included.
The biggest inclusion was a separate App Store with 500 apps that included many free apps. It marked the beginning of mobile operating system as an independent development platform.
Apple was taking iOS to a new level of sophistication with its own app store that supported third-party apps [Source…].
Inclusion of App store opened up new opportunities for the App developers and users to experience their device in a completely new way.
Apps made life easier and more accessible coupled with the fast 3G data speeds. It also marked the potential of iPhone taking on the smartphone market.
The design also got a little makeover, shifting to plastic build. Though it was plastic, it was well received by the consumer as the prices were lowered.
This time people were also given a choice to choose between a black and a white variant of the device. iPhone got more powerful and efficient more like a pocket-sized computer than a media device.
iPhone 3GS- 2009
It was with the launch of iPhone 3GS that Apple’s tradition of naming upgrades with S. It was almost the same device as the iPhone 3G with few improvements.
The major improvements were in the internal processing speed and hardware updates. In the keynote, Phil Schiller mentioned the ‘S’ to stand for Speed.
Apart from the speed and processing power improvement, this device had a major hardware update. Now iPhone supported a 3.15 MP camera on the polished new plastic back.
It was not groundbreaking, but back then, it was one of the most advanced cameras on a smartphone with which you can click quite good pictures.
Video recording on a smartphone was not usual during the time iPhone 3GS made it known to the world. It could record video @480p resolution at 30 fps [Source…].
It was something unbelievable 10 years ago. iPhone 3GS even included the most asked copy and paste option that was included in the newer iOS update.
The latest iPhone also marked the beginning of first-ever voice assistant which was not called ‘Siri’ at the time. However, it paved the path for one of the most advanced voice assistant in ‘Siri’.
iPhone 4- 2010
This was one of the biggest update in the iPhone line-up since its launch. It looked different; it looked classy and sexy, to be honest.
The metal edges and glass back made for a beautiful looking device with a more rectangular approach to the design.
iPhone 4 was the most advanced device Apple ever created until now. It has features that turned heads and raised curiosity.
There were a lot of points to talk about this device. The change in the design received mixed response among the users. Some liked it; some called it chunky and heavy.
I personally loved this design, which reflected class and a modern design approach. The use of metal and glass was something refreshing and unique during the plastic smartphone age.
The front and the back glass were made tough and scratch proof. One of the first flagship smartphones with toughened glass, which later gave way to gorilla glass that became a necessity today.
It looked masculine with its edges and rugged build. The glass though gave it a sexy look to the device and made it appealing to a section of customers.
Gone were the plastic from the device completely. Even the volume buttons were not a tactile metal button with separate ‘+’ and ‘-’ symbol. The power button also got a metal finish.
Everything on this device was made to perfection with perfect placement and symmetrically placed buttons. It had ditched the plastic feel to give a more premium and sturdy feel to the device.
Not only the design was refreshed, the display was still 3.5” but with crazy pixel ratio. Apple has stuffed many pixels in this display, making it the first device with Apple’s ‘Retina Display’.
It looked super sharp and details on the screen could easily blow out minds of users. It packed an insane number of pixels at 326 pixels per inch [Source…].
HD screen was not something people had experienced on a smartphone. With 720p resolution it is among first devices with a HD resolution display.
Mind it, the year is 2010 and we are talking about HD Screens, which even today are used by many budget makers. The vision of Jobs and excellence of the Apple engineers made it ahead of time.
Another mind-blowing feature of iPhone 4 was the inclusion of a front camera on the device. Making it one of the first devices to implement a front as well as a back camera on a phone.
We could see how Apple was changing the market and setting trends, which later every other smartphone makers followed.
Apple also introduced Micro Sim with iPhone 4, which later became standard for most devices in the market. It was the vision of Apple under Jobs that made it a benchmark in the industry.
iPhone 4 supported the fastest smartphone processor available that time. It was an A4 chip clocked at 1GHz with 512MB of RAM. It made iPhone 4 a beast of the device at the time.
The back camera also was one of the most advanced and high-resolution camera. It was a 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash and touch focus.
You can record 720p videos on the iPhone 4 @ 30fps making it the highest quality video that could be recorded by a smartphone.
The level of innovation and expertise that was presented in Apple iPhone 4 was unbelievable at the time. It made sure iPhone was regarded as a benchmark in the smartphone market very soon.
Apple’s attention to quality introduced the noise cancellation microphone that was placed as a secondary microphone on the device [Source…].
There was very little to criticise the device, as it was way ahead of its time. The features were futuristic and never seen before in a phone.
The app store also was refreshed with a lot of useful apps. It did have some degree of multitasking but was not a complete multitasking device.
iPhone 4 was the biggest and most innovative device that ever set foot in the smartphone market. It was slim, powerful, futuristic and well ahead of the time.
The design of iPhone 4 was the most carried forward design with iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone SE. I am a big fan of this design and still own iPhone 5s for the same reason.
iPhone 4 had made it clear to every other smartphone makers, they meant serious business. It would need something especially revolutionary to beat Apple and iPhone.
iPhone 4s- 2011
iPhone 4s is the best selling iPhone until today. However, it marked a very sad moment for Apple and technology world as a whole.
The day after iPhone 4s was launched, Steve Jobs one of the greatest innovator and visionary left us to mourn the loss till today.
He was the single person who took a backyard company to one the top most company in the world. The world lost a visionary who revolutionized the tech world single handily.
Take a moment to remember and recall the Tech’s greatest innovator and visionary of all time.
Coming back to iPhone 4s, it did hold the design aspect from its predecessor. Here the ‘S’ did stand for ‘Siri’. It debuted with iPhone 4s, which later went on to become one of the most loved assistants.
The internals also got a performance boost with the newer A5 chip. It was a dual-core CPU with Image Signal Processor Unit.
Apple’s A5 chip was fast, energy efficient and had many new advanced features. It was accompanied by power VR GPU giving it a graphics boost.
In addition, iOS 5 was introduced that had advanced features like the notification center, iCloud, iMessage, and reminders.
This was the first iPhone with the iCloud integration for added security and backup of the device. ‘Siri’ marked a new beginning to the virtual assistant and artificial intelligence aspect.
All these used to be part of Sci-fi movies was coming to be true with the Apple’s advanced virtual assistant ‘Siri’. It was smart, witty and learned through user interaction.
iPhone 4s was the most sold device of iPhone series making it widely popular in countries like Asia and India. It was continued until 2016 in India seeing the demand continuing in India.
It was also the longest supported Apple device that received updates until iOS 9. That effectively made it the device receiving 5 major iOS update.
I don’t recall any other smartphone from other platforms too that was supported for so long. Apple had updates a very important factor that Android at that time struggled.
iPhone 5- 2012
iPhone 5 was a little drift from the build perspective from the predecessor. Though the design looked similar, the material used was a big shift.
The material used to build the iPhone 5 was made of aluminum, making it strong and lightweight compared to prevision generation devices. It was also taller and sported a bigger display than others.
This was the first device designed by Tim Cook and last device overseen by Steve Jobs. It marked the sixth generation of iPhone with advanced outer looks and internals.
iPhone 5 was equipped with the latest generation A6 chip that was clocked at 1.3 GHz. It was twice as powerful as the previous generation chip with twice as better graphics.
The use of Aluminium gave iPhone 5 an 18% thinner body compared to the older generation and about 20% lighter than predecessor.
It started the use of Aluminium in building the devices ever since iPhone 5. The back of the devices had a dual tone to it making it one of the better-looking devices.
The signal reception was also improved, thanks to the glass antenna bands, which also acted as a style statement for iPhone. I was personally a big fan of the dual tone back that gave a unique look.
It had a 1GB RAM together with the newer processor made it a true multitasking device with faster loading of apps and running heavier apps [Source…].
In addition, the secondary camera also got a bump with a 1.2 MP camera. It gave a boost to the face time lover and beginner for selfie craze.
The newer chip also supported LTE support for high-speed internet connectivity and better media consumption.
Apple continued its Retina Display on the iPhone 5 but with a bigger screen, which was a strong consumer demand. iPhone 5 bragged a 4”high-resolution display with a newer 16:9 ratio.
Another major change was the introduction of the ‘Lightning Connector’ that is still the identity of the iPhone line-up.
It also came with Facebook integration and even the browsing capabilities were improved in this version of iPhone. The UI also got a refreshed look with lot more controls and visual attractiveness.
iPhone 5c- 2013
This was something, not Apple-ish according to my frank opinion. The decision to launch 5c was a big mistake for Apple, which they realized very soon and discontinued the series.
It was rather a funky looking iPhone 5 with a plastic casing and minor improvements. It came with the new iOS 7 in place.
The only thing that made it different from the last year’s iPhone 5 was the price. It was priced cheaper compared to the newer flagship iPhone 5s.
Apple launched 5c with a motive to appeal to the more price sensitive market and offer a range of bright funky colors. It was not too well received by tech lovers and later discontinued in 2015.
It was marketed as the cheapest iPhone with almost latest specs and the Apple quality. As it was launched with the more prominent iPhone 5s the competition it couldn’t succeed well as 5s.
iPhone 5s- 2013
iPhone 5s is undoubtedly the most popular of iPhones even today. If I am not wrong iPhone 5s is the longest selling device in the with devices still being sold over Amazon in countries like India.
iPhone 5s continued the design trends of its predecessor with dual tone back and use of Aluminium and glass. It also kept the display size at 4” making it same as its older version.
The biggest technological innovation showcased in the device was the inclusion of Touch ID on the devices. It was first of the devices to implement biometrics as part of phone security.
Touch ID or the fingerprint scanner was placed on the home button that could be used to unlock the device and purchase items over the App store and iTunes.
The newer Apple A7 was the first 64bit chip used on an iPhone. It also had a ‘motion co-processor’ that could collect better data from the accelerometer and the gyroscope.
It also a revamped look and feel to the UI with translucent icons and newer control center with a better notification shade and widgets.
The UI look is still carried onward to the newer iPhones with some changes with the advancement of technology [Source…].
Though the camera was not the strong point in the market compared to the competitors. Apple has made its own identity that gave it a record-breaking sale in the US.
iPhone 5s became the best selling smartphone surpassing the highest selling flagships the year before like the Galaxy s5. It sold 40% units compared to Galaxy S5 during the same period.
Though it was not a major upgrade over the iPhone 5, it saw the outburst sales due to the touch ID that was revolutionary in 2013. People were curious and excited to use the new Touch ID.
iPhone 5s also introduced the famous Apple earpods which for long dictated the music lovers pockets over the world. It came in the box with iPhone 5s along with the lightning charger.
I am personally a long time fan of iPhone 5s and still own one. Luckily, Apple has provided updates up until now.
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus- 2014
iPhone 6 was probably the most controversial iPhone launched that was criticised for its quality issues. The major issue was the bigger iPhone 6 plus bending inside the pocket.
Considering the Apple’s trend to take care of their quality, the bending issue pointed out to be the major drawback for Apple’s goodwill.
It was not a hoax or issue with a batch of devices. The design here was at fault largely coupled with the use of lower grade aluminum alloy.
Though this was the major design change from the glass and aluminum design. I personally was not in favor of the new design, as it felt cheap and not as a top of the line device.
The whole body was made of single aluminum block that had curved edges and somewhat irritating antenna lines at the back.
The camera was still the same with improved low light imaging and minor improvements. It was still lagging behind in terms of competition in the market.
With the increased display size to 5.5” it had appealed to the user base who were pleading for a bigger display [Source…].
However, the excitement was short-lived as the phone’s design had a major drawback. It was bending in the pockets of the users even without any extra pressure.
It was a big failure on the part of Apple as the phone was though had shown exciting sales in the earlier stages was not carried forward over the year.
Amidst the criticism, there were little hopes of joy in terms of the new Apple A8 chip and the iOS 8. It even included slow motion 120 fps and 240fps.
Apple even introduced the 128GB variant of the iPhone 6 for the first time. In addition, the device was thinner than ever and even lighter.
However, the ditch of glass back and metal chamfered edges made the newer iPhone 6 and 6 Plus a highly slippery device and difficult to hold.
iPhone 6s & 6s Plus – 2015
iPhone 6s and 6s plus looks identical to the 6 and 6 plus however with an improved durability. iPhone 6s and 6s plus used the newer and more durable material, aluminum 7000 series alloy.
The major upgrade was the newer Apple A9 chip that is 70% faster than previous A8 and 90% better graphics. It also had double RAM with 2GB onboard for faster multitasking.
The new iPhone 6s also introduced the 3D touch to the display that could do more with simple pressure touch. 3D was something new and innovative after the failure of iPhone 6.
Even the build quality of the newer iPhone 6s and 6s plus was toughened considering the bending issue with the older generation device.
It also supported the new advanced LTE providing higher speed and better media consumption. 3D touch made the experience even more enjoyable and useful for users.
The newer Touch ID was believed to be more advanced and faster compared to the older generation Touch ID.
It was probably the best phone in the market with advanced chip and faster processor and the innovative 3D touch. Many reviewers loved the 3D touch and I personally enjoyed using it.
In addition, finally, Apple decided to ditch the age-old 8MP camera and went with the new and improved 12MP. It was one of the best cameras on a smartphone for a long time.
The camera on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were capable to shoot 4k videos and along with the OIS made it a treat for camera lovers to shoot videos on the new iPhone.
Even the front camera got a bumped up camera with a 5MP sensor with BSI sensor and HDR mode. It was even capable of shooting 1080p videos that made it great for vlogging.
It was a pleasure using the new iPhone 6s with the all the new chip that was blazing fast and very much capable of multi-tasking. Multitasking was the best experience on this smartphone.
iPhone 6s and the 6s plus was definitely phones of present generation with few of their own innovations like the 12MP [Source…].
However, Apple now seemed to chase the market rather set trends in the market. It was not disappointing but every iPhone lover wanted more from the brand looking at the history.
iPhone SE- 2015
iPhone SE was essentially a smaller version of the iPhone 6s in an iPhone 5s body. It was a special device for the users who preferred the older iPhone look and more compact size.
It has the same internals with same chip as iPhone 6s. Only the body casing was of iPhone 5s, which was largely popular even in 2016-17.
It was even priced cheaper than the iPhone 6s for people to enjoy the super smartphone at a lower price than the flagship. For people like me who was very fond of the iPhone 5s design, SE was great.
So, essentially it was same as the iPhone 6s so it had the same functionality in a smaller and compact package.
iPhone 7 & 7 Plus – 2016
Apple following its past habit of carrying forward same design over generations of iPhones carried forward the design from iPhone 6 into 7 and 7 Plus.
The iPhone 7 looked identical to iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 7 plus cause of its dual cameras separated itself from the older pals.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were all about speed and ‘ headphone jack’. Ironically, it was the first iPhone without the headphone jack.
It was first time removal of a feature made more headlines than the improvements. Though the design looked cleaner and modernized, it was nothing new.
The Apple A10 fusion chip was the fastest processor in the market at the time of launch and made multitasking a dream on the devices [Source…].
Apple A10 chip was a first Quad-core processor from Apple that was introduced in the iPhone 7 and 7 plus. Coupled with 2GB RAM, while the bigger one sported 3GB of RAM.
It was the first time iPhones were actually water resistant. Largely because of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge which were the best waterproof devices on the market.
Samsung inspired another improvement in the iPhone, with better cameras for low light photos. Samsung was racing to the top of best low light image quality.
Apple decides to take the fight to other flagships with its iPhone 7 plus. For the first time, Apple brought the dual cameras to iPhone.
To be honest dual cameras were getting widely popular in the market and many devices implemented it before Apple did. However, no one did it better than Apple on the iPhone 7 plus.
The portrait mode on iPhone 7 plus was magical to use as promised by Apple. It was probably the best implementation of a dual camera on a smartphone.
Another major upgrade was the traditional home button, which for a long time had been an identity of iPhones [Source…].
Now the home button changed from a physical button to a pressure sensitive tactic button. It was sensitive to the pressure of the touch. The fingerprint sensor was placed below the pressure sensor.
At first, it felt little awkward being habituated of the physical button on the earlier iPhones. Nevertheless, it took little time to be used to and later felt natural.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus was truly about improved speed and camera quality. This iPhone version was one of the fastest devices in the market for a longer time.
The removal of headphone jack left a bad taste in the mouth of music lovers. It didn’t cost Apple its popularity and people’s love for iPhones.
Sadly, Apple did nothing to counter the bad taste, as the wireless audio was unimproved for people to enjoy music wirelessly. Wireless Airpods didn’t help either as they were too pricey and unworthy.
Overall, it was an exciting device with lots of powerful underneath the hood and excellent cameras. Probably the most powerful smartphone in the market at the time.
iPhone 8 & 8 Plus- 2017
Apple in its 10th year today launched iPhone 8 and 8 plus. They looked identical to the older generation 7 and 7 plus.
The only major design change is the inclusion of glass on the back with metal making a fresher and sexier looking device compared to the older generation.
Nothing major change in the keynote event. The devices look glossy which might be good for looks aspect, can be difficult to handle in real life.
The newer display is said to be a true tone making it possible to adjust to the lighting of the room at the time the phone is operated.
Apart from the minor changes, the biggest change touted in the event was the cameras. The iPhone 8 supports the new 12MP improved sensor.
Apple was emphasizing a lot on the portrait mode and its improved functionality. Now the secondary lens on iPhone 8 plus can use real-time light modes for a better portrait using AI.
The Apple iPhone 8 and 8 plus has a hefty new Apple A11 Bionic chip that is the first Hexa-Core (6 cores) processor made completely in-house by Apple.
Another talking point that Apple users had been asking for a long time is the wireless charging. Apple with iPhone 8 and 8 Plus introduced wireless charging partnering with other brands [Source…].
After getting a hands-on I can comment more on the device. My analysis, for now, is based on the report from The Verge and watching the Keynote event.
iPhone X- 2017
Apple’s 10th Anniversary marked another major feat achieved in technological and engineering brilliance with the reveal of iPhone X.
This is probably the most exciting device on the planet at present. Apple never shies away from shocking the world with their innovation and engineering brilliance.
iPhone X is the latest of the innovation and engineering brilliance that Apple revealed in their special keynote event marking the 10th anniversary of iPhone.
iPhone X is a design beauty with almost full screen and no bezzles. Together with most advanced face detection lock and other mind-blowing features.
It is traditionally Apple at its best with achieving brilliance in making a device ahead of the current time. Especially the integration of Face ID makes it one of its kind devices.
As said by Tim Cook himself, “Over the past decade, we’ve pushed forward with innovation after innovation, bringing us to this moment, when we can create devices that are far more intelligent, far more capable, and far more creative than ever before.”
Though in pictures it seems very interesting and quite unbelievable, we have to wait for some time before getting one in hand [Source…].
All in all iPhone’s 10 years has given us one of the most advanced and prized possession for every tech lover.
What started with a vision of one of the greatest inventors and marketer of all time became a benchmark for others to follow.
From 2007-2017 there have been 18 different iPhones, with all being a genius of Technology and top of the line during its time.
The smartphone market has changed and evolved largely in past few years. However, Apple continues to be sitting on top of the tech world loved and respected by tech enthusiasts around the globe.
Huge thanks to Sir Steve Jobs, who changed the technology world forever. He left an irremovable mark in the tech world with his vision and brilliance. It wouldn’t be as it is today without him.