10 Years on and the iPhone still Lives – A Timeline On The Phone That Changed The World

Not to make you feel old, but 10 years ago TODAY, Steve Jobs released the original Iphone. As he looked over thousands of puzzled faces on the 9th of January, 2007 at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco…, Steve Jobs attempted to explain that he had created a device that he described as “three in One”. “A widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device.” Little did they know that the Iphone would go on to revolutionize not only the mobile industry but the entire world around us and to become one of if not the highest selling product ever created….Ever.

10 Years on and the Iphone has had 15 models, here is a little recap of the evolution of the Iphone.

iPhone original (2007)

2007 was the year of the 1st Iphone. The beginning of the smart phone. Completely different to anything currently on the market, the Iphone was the 1st phone to drop the physical keyboard and go with full touchscreen display. Something that would  not have been possible if it hadn’t of been for the success of the Ipod touch. It had classic grid-of-icons layout and the single home button similar to its successors, however at this stage the world was still unaware of  3G internet or the app store and what they will bring forth for the mobile world.

iPhone 3 & iPhone 3Gs (2008 – 2009)

Following the success of the original Iphone, in 2008 and 2009 the Iphone 3g and 3gs were born. Possibly the greatest upgrade in iPhone history, the iPhone 3G came with major additions such as 3G internet, Email, GPS Navigation, but most of all, the 3G brought to the world the Infamous ‘App Store’. Giving people the ability to create, distribute, download and use apps downloaded from the internet increased the iPhone’s value immensely and is still attributed to this day as the leading factor in the iPhone’s success.

The following year saw the first “S” branded Iphone, the Iphone 3Gs. Standing for “speed”, the 3Gs was more so a performance upgrade more than anything else. Doubling its processing speeds and adding the option to copy and paste text. It retained the same basic shape as earlier models, including a 3.5-inch, 480 x 320 display.

Iphone 4 & Iphone 4s (2010 – 2011)

The Iphone 4 was the first of the iPhones to have a major redesign, creating a new squarer look, with rounded corners and swapping the aluminium back for a glass panel. Furthermore to the design, the use of retina displays were introduced along with the ability to multitask different apps and the addition of  front facing camera for taking selfies / video calls.

Following in the way of the 3G model, the 4G had no upgrades to its design and remained visually the same. On the inside however, the rear facing camera was upgraded to an 8- megapixel and improved antenna to fix connection issues that plagued the Iphone 4. Siri was also introduced, although it was ridiculed at the time for its lack of efficiency. Unfortunately the day after the 4s was released, Steve Jobs tragically passed away.

Iphone 5, Iphone 5s & Iphone c (2012 – 2013)

In 2012, the Iphone received its second major redesign which saw the screen size increase from 3.5 to a 4 inch display as well as swapping the glass panel for a more durable but lighter aluminium casing. Additionally there were further advancements made to the processing speeds and the lightning connector port was added , replacing the old 30 pin port.

The following year we saw the Iphone 5s released and staying true to old habits, there was no major redesign of the outer body although they did introduce additional color options such as the pink and rose gold otpions. There were big changes on the inside however with the Iphone 5s becoming the worlds first smart phone to contain a 64bit processor. Additionally the home button was upgraded to support Apple’s fingerprint recognition system and Touch ID was introduced. It also shipped with iOS 7, which featured a major revamp of Apple’s mobile operating system, removing the various skeuomorphic design touches (like fake textures in apps) to create a flatter, more defined look.

In 2013 we also witnessed apple attempt to dip into other markets and price ranges with the Iphone 5C. With last years specifications, the Iphone 5c was a more affordable option that was cased in a brightly colored poly carbonate shell. At a lower price, it appealed to the younger generation or those looking for a cheaper option. It would however to this day not be created again.

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus (2014 – 2015)

Although apple’s most successful year in regards to Iphone Sales, as the 6 and 6+ is the highest selling Iphone to date, 2014 is also the year Critics believe Apple lost its stance as the leading smartphone manufacturer and began to follow in the way of others. Following the current Smart phone trend, the Iphone got bigger and offered a phablet sized option as well. NFC chip reading was added and the camera was improved. Most notably of the changes was the slimmer, redesigned look, although the initial release saw quite a backlash from the “Bendgate” Scandal in which the iPhones were bending in the pockets of tight pants. Well at least they didn’t explode.

The following year brought forward Apples, bi yearly ritual “S” Model. Unlike previous years however there was very little in the way of performance upgrades, or upgrades at all.  The glass and body of the phone was made stronger to make it less prone to bending in the pocket and the 3D touch feature was added. Although a really cool feature, as The Verge have mentioned, these still feel more like gimmicks than must-haves and have not brought any real additional value to the phone.

iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus (2016)

The latest Iphone, although I don’t believe is the best, was much better than its predecessor 6 and 6s models. Without having a full redesign, the Iphone 7 still received significant changes to the body to make it slimmer, stronger and far more appealing than last year’s bland model. Other major changes include adding a dual lens camera, adding water resistance and dropping the mechanical button in favour of a digital look. These additions although not cutting edge…, are very practical and I believe bring further value and use to the phone. Undoubtedly the most controversial of all the changes was the removal of the Headphone Jack. Under much scrutiny due to to the discrepancies between devices and the  product obsolescence that is now a result of the removal, Apple have shown a small glimpse of what the culture under Steve Jobs was all about. Rather than having the best, having the newest.

In the coming Months we will most likely see the Iphone 7s and 7s Plus revealed and then a year later the Iphone 8 and 8 Plus. As the 10th year of iPhones, the consumer is expecting big things, big changes and of course big innovation…, and only time will tell whether Apple can do enough to reclaim its glory from Samsung as the leading manufacturer in Smartphones.

With new Chinese organisations such as Huawei and Oppo only 3 -5 % behind Apples market share, and other trusted American Companies such as Lenovo, Hp and Google now making great phones that are debate-ably of the same quality and performance. The next 5 years could see major change in the Smartphone industry shifting from what has been almost monopoly between Apple and Samsung to a more brand diverse industry. And that can only be good for the consumer as smartphone manufactures will for the first time in a while be really be fighting with each other to put the best phone for the lowest price on the shelf.

I believe as we start to see the general population become more technical savvy and an understanding of the differences between phones grow, we will start to see consumers opt for the better option for them both technologically and financially over brand loyalty. 


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