Mister Mobility provides a gripping narration of the iPhone’s history across ten years – from the original iPhone to the iPhone X.
The first generation iPhone was launched in June 2007, a little over 10 years ago. The original iPhone was a 2G mobile phone and couldn’t even have 3rd party apps installed. iOS 1.0 (then called OS x) was no better than today’s feature phone platforms in terms of app support. There was no copy and paste functionality either. It is no surprise that its arrival was met with mixed feelings and opinions.
What else was missing on the original iPhone? Multi-Media messaging (MMS) was another. The rest of the smartphone world were sending and receiving MMS, but not iPhone users. And even till today, sending a file via Bluetooth is still something iPhone users are unable to do.
iPhone History: Capacitive Display Was The Game-changer
Despite the iPhone’s initial deficiencies, it was a hit and in time, other manufacturers began to take cues from it. What stood the original iPhone out? It had a capacitive touchscreen so fingers could be used. Before the iPhone, the standard means of using a touchscreen device was with a stylus. This was because touchscreen then were resistive. Apple disrupted the industry with the capacitive touchscreen, which also enabled multi-touch gestures.
Before the iPhone, pinch-to-zoom was not a feature on touchscreen devices. The multi-touch capable capacitive display is perhaps the iPhone’s single largest contribution to the mobile industry. And this point was that on which many of the older smartphone makers failed.
Nokia and BlackBerry, for example, had invested tons of money and hardware in resistive displays. As the whole world drooled over the fancy new capacitive display from Apple, these two giants (back then) struggled to adapt their product portfolio to act and work the same way the iPhone’s display worked. This included tweaking their operating systems, Symbian OS and BlackBerry OS, so the user interface could be more finger friendly. The results were unimpressive. By the time they finally got it right, it was late.
What Else Did The iPhone Bring To The Table?
Threaded text messaging was another. Before then, SMS was read message by message: open the first one, read, close, open the next one, read, close, rinse repeat. Threaded messaging made reading and responding to messages much more convenient for mobile users.
The iPhone Began To Get Better
It was not until March 2008 that Apple released an SDK that allowed developers to create the apps that would be available starting in iPhone OS version 2.0, a free upgrade for iPhone users. And in 2009, the iPhone finally got copy and paste functionality. Before then, using the iPhone for creative/productivity purposes was a pain. One could not copy text from a document or page and paste for use in another.
As mentioned before, the original iPhone was revolutionary but quite deficient in many features. 3G networks existed at the time, but it was a 2G device. I eventually owned the iPhone 3GS, the second model with 3G support. You can read my iPhone 3GS review, if you’d like to know what it was like.
The Move From Small To Big Screen
Initially, Apple mocked a number of features that other smartphones had, but smartly added them to iOS over the span of 10 years. Apple also insisted that big phones were a bad idea and for a long time stuck to sub 5-inch screen sizes for their phones. The original iPhone had a 3.5-inch screen with 320 x 480 pixel resolution and for many years, Apple never pushed beyond 4 inches.
After the passing of Steve Jobs, the company began to adapt to the reality that people indeed wanted big phones. Hello, 5.5-inch display iPhone 6 Plus, and it sold like crazy. Samsung had been right about big smartphones. It can be argued that Samsung pretty much invented big smartphones with their Galaxy Note lineup.
We have a review of the iPhone 6 Plus, if you are interested.
And if what the grapevine says is anything to go by, we will see more big iPhone models from next year.
Celebrating 10 Years With The iPhone X
To mark 10 years of the iPhone, Apple launched the iPhone X, supposedly the first of a new generation of iPhones. There is no question about the fact that the iPhone has come a long way since June 2007.
All iPhone Models Manufactured Till Date
How many iPhone models have been manufactured from 2007 to 2017? Let’s do the counting together:
- iPhone 1st generation
- iPhone 3G
- iPhone 3GS
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 5S
- iPhone 5C
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6S
- iPhone 6S Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone X
If I didn’t miss any, that makes 18 iPhone models. Eighteen, and in ten years. Not bad at all.
Did I miss anything of note out in this iPhone history piece? It is almost impossible to cover all details, but the idea is to include the most significant items. If I missed out anything that you remember, please post a comment below and I will add it to the post.
What do you think of Apple’s journey with the iPhone? Have you used an iPhone? Which model was that, and how was your experience with it?
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.