The History and Evolution of the iPhone

Last Updated on May 29, 2023

The History and Evolution of the iPhone

The history of the Apple iPhone begins in 2007 when Steve Jobs shocked the world by revealing a mystery 3-in-1 gadget, which for the first time combined an iPod music player, an Internet communication device, and a regular phone.

Since its creation, the iPhone has undergone significant development, but its initial structure guaranteed long-term success.

Every iPhone offers consistent performance, a user-friendly interface, privacy focus, and unique features.

The iPhone has played a central role in the growth of social media, instant access to knowledge, and quick access to news.

It has also created a $58.7 billion industry employing 19 million people worldwide.

However, Apple didn’t go out with the intention of upending the very fabric of society as we know it. They began with a straightforward issue and set out to address it, like the majority of transformational inventions do.

In this article, starting with the very first iPhone and moving on to the most recent models, we examine the innovations that each new iPhone provided, including all the key features that each model introduced. Come along on the ride below.

June 2007: The First Generation iPhone is Introduced


On January 9, 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed the first iPhone following months of speculations and conjecture. He described it as a hybrid of the iPod, a cutting-edge mobile phone, and a ground-breaking Internet communicator.

The smartphone, available in June, had a starting price of $499 for the 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model (with a two-year contract).

Critics believed the phone was too expensive to succeed in the market, but they were proven wrong. The phone featured innovative multitouch capabilities, a 3.5″ screen, a 2-megapixel camera, microphone, headset controls, and other functions now considered standard for smartphones.

July 2008: iPhone 3G Takes the Stage


Apple released the iPhone 3G on June 9, 2008, one year after the first iPhone went on sale. The new model included a built-in GPS, was cheaper, gave more capacity, and could connect to 3G networks more quickly. The iPhone 3G went on sale on July 11 for $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB variant.

The App Store was likely the most notable new hardware feature of the second-generation tablet, which also had 3G connectivity and GPS. Users can explore and download third-party programmes through Apple’s supply stage, which as of the beginning of 2018 contained more than 2 million apps.

June 2009: iPhone 3Gs


The iPhone 3GS brought notable performance improvements and faster 3G connectivity, though it was more of an incremental upgrade. The “S” denoted speed, as it was faster and more powerful, and its key innovation was video recording support. The new 3-megapixel camera introduced video mode with VGA resolution (480p).

Additionally, it was the first iPhone to include a digital compass, enhancing Maps’ ability to show orientation. Software updates in 2009 introduced essential features like copy and paste, push notifications, and landscape keyboard.

June 2010: iPhone 4 Changes Everything


Many ground-breaking capabilities were incorporated onto the iPhone 4. These included FaceTime, multitasking, and Apple’s first front-facing camera.

The iPhone 4 was widely regarded as having the best design ever by Apple users. It introduced a striking for-the-time glass construction with a metal frame as the first significant makeover of the iPhone line. It was also the first iPhone to include a “Retina” display, a new 640 x 960-pixel screen resolution that Apple said was so sharp that it was comparable to the retina’s natural limits. The first phone with such a high resolution remained that way for the following few years.

October 2011: iPhone 4S


On October 4, 2011, a few weeks after Steve Jobs announced his resignation due to health difficulties, Apple presented the iPhone 4S with a change of pace. Tim Cook, the new CEO, praised the dual-core processor in it (which is also found in the iPad 2) and announced that sales would begin on October 14. Apple introduced a 64GB option in addition to the standard 16GB and 32GB ones, which cost $399.

September 2012: iPhone 5


The Apple iPhone 5’s screen size increased from 3.5 inches to 4 inches and its aspect ratio changed to 16:9. Despite these small size and height improvements, many customers did not anticipate such a drastic change.

In an effort to break free from Qualcomm, it was the first phone with an Apple-made chip. With the A5 chip that it developed itself, Apple was now able to further tailor the performance of its phone.

Additionally, it was the first iPhone to enable 4G LTE. The colour balance for the sRGB standard, which is used throughout the web for photos and video, was also improved.

September 2013: iPhone 5s and 5c


The upmarket iPhone 5S and the vibrant, less costly iPhone 5C were both unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook. The 5S received a new motion data processor that is said to be the basis for a new generation of health and fitness apps, as well as a speedier, 64-bit A7 SoC (system on a chip). The 5S started at $199 for the same amount of storage, while the 5C started at $99 for the same model. Each was released on September 20.

September 2014: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

The History and Evolution of the iPhone

After years of anticipation, Apple finally unveiled an iPhone with a larger screen in 2015. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus were the two that were available.

The two were a runaway success. It had a sleek, robust aluminium body and was also obviously better designed. It’s easy to say that the iPhone 6 was a crucial step in making premium, metal designs the norm for flagship devices.

A significantly improved camera with quicker autofocus and support for continuous autofocus in films was also included with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The iPhone 6’s base model was still 16GB, but there were 64GB and 128GB choices for consumers that had higher storage requirements.

September 2015: iPhone 6s and 6s Plus


Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are substantial improvements over the 2014 versions they are based on. The 6S and 6S plus feature upgraded 12-megapixel iSight cameras that can record 4K video as well as new force touch technology called 3D Touch. (Also new is the 5-megapixel FaceTime camera, which is meant to produce better selfies.) Both phones feature a speedier A9 Chipset and a new rose gold colour for 2015.

April 2016: iPhone SE

The History and Evolution of the iPhone

The first-generation iPhone SE delighted small phone enthusiasts by reintroducing the familiar 4-inch form factor. What truly astonished people was its pricing, with the entry-level 16GB model priced at $400, marking the first affordable iPhone.

Equipped with a superb main camera comparable to its flagship 6s counterparts and powered by a potent chip, the SE delivered impressive performance. The compromise came in the form of slightly inferior battery life compared to larger models.

September 2016: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus


Apple eliminated the headphone port in 2017 and added water resistance to both of the new iPhone models. The 3.5mm headphone jack was killed by Apple in a ‘courageous,’ typical Apple action. Although the iPhone 7 smashed all prior Apple sales records, there was a significant protest and many people were miffed by this decision, even if it had little impact on sales.

Additionally, the iPhone 7 Plus distinguished itself as the better camera phone for the first time thanks to a dual camera system with a secondary, “telephoto” lens that allowed taking zoomed-in photos and a new “Portrait mode” effect that blurred the background in an image for a polished, DSLR-like appearance.

September 2017: Apple iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus


On September 12, 2017, Apple unveiled the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which include a new glass and aluminium casing, Retina HD display, A11 Bionic Chip, and wireless charging. Apple claims that the front and back glass enclosures are the most durable glass ever used in a smartphone. The design is similar to that of the iPhone 4 and 4s. The display’s white balance is changed by True Tone technology to match the ambient light.

Each model has a 12-megapixel camera that is enhanced, with a bigger (and faster) sensor, new colour filter, deeper pixels, and the ability to shoot 4K video at up to 60 frames per second and 1080p slo-mo at up to 240 frames per second.

The History and Evolution of the iPhone

And the iPhone X was actually the model that paved the way for the future because it was the first to feature an OLED display and a bezel-free, edge-to-edge screen (yes, with the notch). The brand-new Face ID system, which recognised your face and replaced Touch ID’s fingerprint recognition technology, proved to be more dependable and user-friendly.

September 2018: iPhone XR, XS and XS Max

The History and Evolution of the iPhone
iPhone XR (left), XS (right) and XS Max (center). Source:

In late 2018, Apple released three new phones simultaneously, all featuring Face ID and gesture navigation as part of their future direction.

The iPhone XS and XS Max continued the premium trend with prices over $1,000, attributed to their next-generation AMOLED panels and dual camera system.

Starting at $750, the iPhone XR offered a more reasonable price point but remained expensive compared to traditional smartphones. It boasted a new design with vibrant colors, larger front bezels, LCD screen technology, and the same main camera as the XS series, contributing to its best-selling status within the lineup.

September 2019: iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

The History and Evolution of the iPhone

The new ultra-wide camera, the biggest change, came standard on all three iPhones, ideal for landscape photos and tight spots.

Apple linked the “Pro” tag to the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, emphasizing their premium AMOLED panels. In response to user demand, Apple made the phones thicker, incorporating larger batteries that propelled them to top battery life rankings.

These phones introduced Night Mode, combining long exposure shots with others in an automated process for capturing quality images in low light.

Apple’s reduction of the iPhone 11’s starting price to $700, $50 lower than the previous year’s iPhone XR, contributed to its immense popularity. Critics pointed out that Apple used outdated LCD technology and a low-resolution panel in a relatively expensive phone, causing it to lag behind the competition.

April 2020: iPhone SE


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 instant smash. It cost $400 and used the most recent Apple A13 processor available at the time, making it significantly more powerful than any Android phone in that price range.

However, the new iPhone SE (2020) wasn’t nearly as little as the 4-inch SE’s predecessor. Instead, it actually makes use of the chassis from an iPhone 8, giving you a 4.7-inch screen. While other devices in this price range also offered an ultra-wide and occasionally even telephoto lens, the iPhone SE did stand out with the quality of its single lens. The single camera on the rear was capable of shooting 4K films with superb resolution.

October 2020: iPhone 12 Mini, 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max

The History and Evolution of the iPhone

The iPhone 12, Apple’s successor to the iPhone 11, introduces the 5.4-inch iPhone mini and adds more OLED-display smartphones to its roster. It debuts the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max as the largest in the line-up. Apple brands the 4x more drop-resistant construction of the new Super Retina XDR displays as “Ceramic Shield”. Every iPhone 12 model incorporates 5G networking and the A14 Bionic processor. They all feature a dual 12-megapixel camera system with Ultra Wide and Wide sensors, plus a Night Mode for improved low-light photos. The Pro models include a triple-lens 12MP camera system, a 4X or 5X optical zoom range, Night Mode, and LiDAR sensors for enhanced focus and AR/VR. They also support 4K video recording at 24, 30, or 60 fps and HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 60 fps.

September 2021: iPhone 13 mini, 13, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max


Apple released its iPhone 13 series on schedule, with all four models going on sale at the same time, despite a global processor shortage. There are still four models in the series—a 5.4-inch small, two 6.1-inch iPhones, and one 6.7-inch Pro Max—and they all follow the same formula.

The most significant improvement in the iPhone 2021 series is undoubtedly the bigger battery in all four models.

Apple introduced Photographic Styles for managing color and contrast, allowing users to create unique looks for each photo.

All four iPhones feature Theatrical Mode, capturing cinematic 1080p video with a blurry background and automatic focus rack.

March 2022: iPhone SE (2022)


The third model of the iPhone SE, released in 2022, keeps the 4.7-inch Retina HD screen and Touch ID Home button that were first seen on the SE, as well as a comparably cheap price. Many of the features of Apple’s most costly iPhones, such as 5G, an A15 Bionic chip, a sophisticated camera system with Portrait mode, Depth Control, high-definition video, Deep Fusion, wireless charging ability, and a substantial battery life, are available in the third-generation SE.

September 2022: iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max


The larger Plus model replaces the discarded iPhone 13 small, while the new 14 and 14 Plus have the same form factor and pricing range as last year. Both have longer battery life because of the upgraded Bionic A15 CPU, which is the same hardware found in the 2021 versions. The iPhone 14 has a 6.1″ screen, while the 14 Plus variant has a 6.7″ screen. Both models employ Apple’s Super Retina XDR displays.

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a similar design to the models from the previous year, but they come with several notable new features, such as the A16 chipset and a more potent 48MP rear camera system. Prices have not changed before 2021, and this year adds a new “Deep Purple” colour as an option. Storage options range from 128GB to 1TB.

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