Looking Back Through Time - The iPhone Over the Years
Take a look back at each iteration of the iPhone and how it's changed since its inception.
We're on the cusp of a brand new addition to the iPhone family, and things are about to change within the Apple landscape very soon. What better time to take a look back at the smartphone that could through its various evolutionary stages? The iPhone has seen several alterations throughout its life cycle. Let's take a look at each one and what it brought to the table.
The Original iPhone
The first generation iPhone was released exclusively through AT&T on June 29,2007. It introduced the familiar home screen and icon system still used today. This phone also introduced the multi-touch system that is the main means of interaction with today's smart phones. Instead of using a stylus or keypad, users could interact with applications directly with their fingertips and using multiple fingers could control actions on those applications. Pre-installed on the phone were the first versions of the iTunes store and the YouTube app which at this time featured unprecedented functionality for a cell phone. The original iPhone with its 412 MHz Samsung ARM 11 processor and 128 MBs of RAM was the most powerful smart phone in the world at the time of its release. Initial models were available with 4 or 8 Gigabytes of storage space and later models offered 16 Gigabytes.
The iPhone 3G was introduced on July 11, 2008. This model introduced the revolutionary App Store which upon its introduction had 500 apps available for download. The App Store allowed and still allows users to customize their phone experience to suit their needs. It also began the trend of models being offered in black or white. The 3G also added support for 3G or HSDPA cell phone signals which increased data speeds tremendously. The iPhone 3G also introduced support for GPS and geotagging.
The iPhone 3GS hit stores on June 8, 2009. It was billed as being twice as fast as the iPhone 3G and added support for faster cellular data services. It introduced a digital compass, voice control, the ability to set a home screen background, zoom to text, and the ability to record video.
The iPhone 4 was first available on June 24, 2010. It's release marked the first iPhone model to be sold outside of AT&T's network. when in January 2011 Verizon began offering the iPhone. Sprint followed suit and began offering the iPhone 4 in October 2011. The iPhone 4 was a completely new design which moved away from the tapered edges of previous models to a completely flat back with a stainless steel frame. It was the first iPhone to utilize aluminosilicate glass which made it much more shatter resistant than previous models. It introduced Apple's "Retina Display" technology which increased the image clarity on-screen tremendously. It was the first model to include a front-facing camera which was put to use with the newly released Facetime app. It also introduced multitasking which allowed users to close or switch between programs on the fly. This model also was the first to offer the ability to use it as a mobile hotspot. It also was the first iPhone model to utilize a micro SIM card.
The iPhone 4s went on sale on October 14 2011. It introduced Siri, a voice-assistant who could be utilized to voice activate web searches, phone calls, music, and more. In addition the 4s introduced speech-to-text which could also be utilized in conjunction with Siri, turn-by-turn navigation, the iCloud backup system, iMessage, and the ability to take photos while video recording. It was also the first model of the iPhone to be considered a "world phone" as it supported both CDMA and GSM cell phone bands. The iPhone 4s is still being manufactured in small numbers as Apple's budget model.
The iPhone 5 was made available on September 21, 2012. It increased the standard screen size of the iPhone from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. It added support for LTE cell phone data, and instead of having a solid coloring like its predecessors was available in black with an aluminum "slate" colored backing, or white with a silver backing. It also moved to an aluminum frame and was thinner and lighter than previous models. It also introduced both the nano SIM card and replaced the previous 30-pin Apple connector with the new Lightning connector.
As the iPhone 5 was discontinued Apple's device strategy changed, with the introduction of a mid-range phone, the iPhone 5c. The iPhone 5c was introduced on September 20, 2013 While the 5c did not introduce any features, it was a drastic change in Apple's previous design policy. For the first time since the iPhone 3GS a iPhone was produced with a polycarbonate back. The 5c is available in several bright colors and is one of two successors to the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5s is currently Apple's high-end model, and was released alongside the iPhone 5c. The 5s introduced the fingerprint scanner that resides under the new sapphire glass home button. The fingerprint scanner can be used to unlock the phone and confirm iTunes or App Store purchases. It also introduced the first 64-bit processor in an iPhone with its A7 dual-core processor, and its upgraded camera marked the first iPhone to be able to take pictures in burst or panoramic modes. It also, in addition to the colors the iPhone 5 was available in, it is available in a white version with a gold colored aluminum backing.
The iPhone 6 is expected to be revealed later today at Apple's keynote. While many rumors are floating about the iPhone 6, including that it will be a redesign akin from the 3GS to the 4 and offer two larger screen sizes, it can be assured that Apple will continue to offer quality devices. With the ability for apps to utilize extensions to further functionality forthcoming in iOS 8 there can be no doubt that the iPhone 6 will continue the history of innovation that the iPhone is known for and it will be a worthy successor to the previous models.