Evolution of the iPhone

Cell Phones & Accessories

The very first iPhone was released in 2007. Users were amazed at the three main features: internet access, built-in iPod and cellphone functionality.

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How has the iPhone evolved over time?

Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes the world. In 2007, that product was the original iPhone, colloquially known as the iPhone1. However, this was not Apple’s first rodeo. 

In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh, and they made big moves again in 2001 by giving us the iPod. These inventions didn’t just change how we work or listen to music, they changed entire industries and gave us access to technology that we had never seen before. 

So, how did we get to the modern iPhone as we know it today?

iPhone timeline

iPhone 1

In 2007, Steve Jobs announced the launch of the iPhone 1 during the Macworld San Francisco keynote address. Smartphones existed before, but they were generally hard to use and carried only essential, unintuitive and unexciting functions. However, the iPhone 1 came with internet access, a built-in iPod and cellphone functionality. 

iPhone 3G 

In 2008, Apple launched its next generation: the iPhone 3G. This model brought us the app store and set the foundation for app creation and purchasing within the smartphone industry.

iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 was the first model to come complete with a front facing camera and a slimline body similar to how iPhones look today. The retina display enhancements and self-facing camera meant that selfies soon took over social media and the world.

iPhone 5

According to Statista, the iPhone 5 sold an amazing 5 million units in the first weekend in contrast to the 4 million units of the iPhone 4S sold on its release weekend in 2011. The iPhone 5 gave birth to the passbook, which meant that paper boarding cards, tickets and cards could now be stored electronically in your phone. The camera could also now take 360 degree panoramic pictures, and users were impressed by the 1GB memory.

iPhone 5S & 5C

The iPhone 5S and 5C came in September 2013, and they saw sales of 9 million units in the first weekend. The key difference between the two was the iPhone 5C’s plastic cover, which made it slightly more expensive. The multicolor nature of both phones meant that, for the first time, people could choose between space grey, white with silver trim and white with gold trim. The fingerprint Touch ID made logging in both quicker and more secure than it had ever been. The Airdrop feature also allowed the iPhone 5S and 5C to send files quicker, and functionality was upgraded to give users the swipe up function to access the phone’s control center.

iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 offered users a bigger screen than ever before, new HD features and a whopping 128GB of storage. The main functionality improvements came by way of Apple Pay, which gave users contactless payment with fingerprint authorization, and the Health app, which could collect health data.

iPhone SE, 7 & 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 release signified the death of the 16GB base model. The new and improved iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus started at a convenient 32GB of storage and went all the way up to a massive 256GB. For style, the jet black color was added to the mix during this run. 

Compared to other models, the iPhone 7 Plus proved popular with its new dual camera, which featured an impressive zoom. It also contained the upgraded Portrait mode for users to capture a greater depth of field. However, it wasn’t all upgrades and improvements in the eyes of some users. Apple ditched the headphone port, and we didn’t know what we had until it was gone.

iPhone X, 8 & 8 Plus

With the arrival of the iPhone X series, Apple users gained the ability to wirelessly charge their phones. While portable chargers had been around for a while, users could now use magnetic charging pads by simply placing their phone on it to charge. 

iPhone XS, XS Max, XR

While the iPhone 9 provided even sharper camera quality and screen resolution, the XS and XS Max were the most notable upgrades from previous models. While it didn’t come with any hugely progressive functionality features, it did use a new type of chip that vastly improved the processing speed and battery life of the phone.

iPhone 11 / 11 Pro / 11 Pro Max

In 2019, the iPhone 11 came out. It included a 6.1-inch display and a secondary camera on the rear of the phone. Both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras provided 12-megapixel quality and wide lenses. 

iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 mini

The iPhone had been getting progressively larger with previous models, but the 12 is available in two different sizes, so you can choose whichever suits your needs more. They’re also compatible with MagSafe accessories and contain the fastest microchip of any smartphone. For more information on choosing the right iPhone for you, check out BestReview’s complete buying guide.

Best iPhone accessories 

OtterBox Commuter Series Case

OtterBox Commuter Series Case

Otterbox is a well-known brand among iPhone users because the protection they provide is as close to indestructible as you can get. This model is suitable for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

iWALK Mini Portable Charger

iWALK Mini Portable Charger

You can provide just over one full charge to your iPhone battery with this mini portable charger. It’s compatible with all iPhone and iPad models made after 2012.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Apple MagSafe Charger

Apple MagSafe Charger

Keep your desk and devices free of cables with a handy wireless charging pad. Compatible with iPhone 8 and all subsequent models, this pad provides a fast charge.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

JBL FLIP 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

JBL FLIP 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

This portable and small Bluetooth speaker provides exceptional sound quality, so you can connect your iPhone and listen to tunes out loud.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Kohl’s

PopSockets PopGrip

PopSockets PopGrip

Keep a grip of your phone, and pop out an adjustable stand at a moment’s notice. The PopSocket sticks easily to the back of your iPhone or phone case.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Skullcandy Riff Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Skullcandy Riff Wireless On-Ear Headphones

For those who find in-ear headphones like AirPods a little uncomfortable for long-term wear, these wireless on-ear headphones by SkullCandy provide excellent sound quality and comfortable cushioning.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Kohl’s

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6

Health conscious Apple users can connect their Apple Watch to their iPhone for in-depth insights into their heart rate, sleep quality, fitness and more.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Anker Powerline+ III Lightning to USB A Cable

Anker Powerline+ III Lightning to USB A Cable

If you’re prone to wearing out your USB cables, this one is built to last. The casing around the cable can withstand thousands of bends and is fully scratch resistant.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

OtterBox Performance Fast Charge Car Charger

OtterBox Performance Fast Charge Car Charger

It never hurts to have multiple charging options available to you. If you find your portable charger is out of juice, this iPhone-compatible car charger can really save the day.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

 

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Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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