Today we’re going to explore the history of the iPhone.
Early development of the iPhone began in 2005 when Steve Jobs got the idea of using a multi-touch display on a computer so that he could lay his wrists on the screen and type directly on the glass. This would have required a triple layered touch screen which was very new technology at the time. Jobs assigned a group of Apple engineers to investigate the idea as a side project. When Jobs saw the prototype display and its user interface, he got another idea of implementing the technology onto a mobile phone. This effort kicked off something called Project Purple 2. Apple chose AT&T, formerly Cingular Wireless, as the first carrier for iPhone. This collaboration was unprecedented in its secrecy and development process. Cingular gave Apple full control over the iPhone's hardware and software and the thirty-month development cost around 150 million dollars.
At this price, Apple was under tremendous pressure to create a successful smartphone. While this project was underway, the smartphone industry was dominated by RIM’s BlackBerry, and rumors of Apple developing a smartphone of their own began to circulate in the tech community. The speculation was brought to an end on January 9, 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone on stage during their annual Worldwide Developers Conference. It sent a shockwave through the tech industry and beyond, receiving millions of dollars worth of free media coverage. The original iPhone featured a 3.5” display with multitouch support that no one had ever seen on a smartphone before.
It also had a software keyboard instead of a plastic, physical keyboard. Steve Jobs initially introduced the iPhone as three separate devices: A “widescreen iPod with touch controls”; a “revolutionary mobile phone”; and a “breakthrough Internet communicator.” He did this to emphasize that the iPhone was full-featured without the compromises that other smartphones made. It had an iPod with coverflow, a smartphone with visual voicemail, and a desktop-class mail application on a device that fit into your pocket. Walt Mossberg even called it a “breakthrough handheld computer.” The iPhone may have had a sweet start but things got a bit sour when Apple dropped the iPhone’s price from 599 to 399 dollars just 69 days after it’s release. Apple received hundreds of emails from upset customers about the price drop, and Apple responded by giving store credit to early adopters. Another common criticism of the iPhone was it’s speed on AT&T’s EDGE network. The iPhone had been released at the beginning of the 3G networks lifecycle and many consumers had become accustom to 3G speeds which made the slower EDGE network feel even more outdated.
Apple heeded the call a year later and introduced the iPhone 3G in 2008. One of the catch phrases for iPhone 3G was “Twice as fast. half the price” since it retailed for $199 instead of $399 and offered 3G data speeds that were almost two and a half times faster than EDGE. iPhone 3G also featured GPS with turn-by-turn directions in the Maps app and the app store which kicked off the app culture era. The most obvious change was the iPhone 3G’s design. The back featured a redesigned polycarbonate plastic housing, replacing the aluminum back of the first generation. Buttons were changed from plastic to metal, and the edges of the phone were tapered, providing a better grip. The iPhone 3G introduced the first official color options with the 16GB version available in black or white.
The dimensions of iPhone 3G were marginally larger than those of the original iPhone but the changes weren’t noticeable. What’s really interesting is the 3G had a lot of the same internal hardware as its predecessor; the processor speed, amount of memory, and camera quality didn’t change at all. In 2009 the 3G was replaced by the iPhone 3GS where “S” stood for Speed. But Apple continued to offer an 8GB iPhone 3G model for $99. Features of the iPhone 3GS included performance enhancements that made it up to twice as fast as the 3G, a 3-megapixel camera with video recording, voice control, and a built-in compass for map reorientation. It retailed for 199 and 299 dollars in 16 and 32 GB models. Now I should mention that these prices were only for new AT&T customers and included a two year contract. So the device was not unlocked and couldn’t be replaced until the contract was up. On June 7, 2010, with the release of iPhone 4, Apple dropped the price of the 3GS to $99 for an 8GB model.
The iPhone 4 featured a new design with a stainless steel frame which doubled as an antenna, with its internal components situated between aluminosilicate glass. It was the thinnest smartphone in the world at the time and featured Apple's new high-resolution “Retina Display” with 326 pixels per inch. The iPhone 4 was the first to feature Apple's A4 system-on-chip, a front-facing camera, LED flash, and the first to be released in a version for CDMA networks, ending AT&T's reign as the exclusive carrier of iPhone in the United States.
The iPhone 4 received generally positive reception, with critics praising its revamped design and more powerful hardware in comparison to previous models. While it was a sales success, with over 600,000 pre-orders within 24 hours, the release of the iPhone 4 was plagued by highly publicized reports that abnormalities in its new antenna design caused the device to lose its cellular signal if held in a certain way. Some skin contact with the phone's outer edge would cause a significant decrease in signal strength.
Steve Jobs held a press conference at Apple’s headquarters to provide an official response, and announced they’d offer free bumper cases to all iPhone 4 owners. The iPhone 4 spent the longest time as Apple's flagship iPhone model at fifteen months, and had the longest lifespan of any iPhone ever produced, spanning close to four years and available in some countries until early 2015. Although the succeeding iPhone 4S was announced in October 2011, the 4 continued to be sold as a midrange model until September 2012, and thereafter sold as the entry-level offering in Apple's lineup until September 2013 with the announcement of the iPhone 5S and 5C.
The iPhone 4s was announced on October 4, 2011 and its media coverage was accompanied by the news of Steve Jobs death the following day. The “S” in iPhone 4s stood for Siri, an intelligent personal assistant that was exclusive to the 4S at the time, but later included in future generations of Apple products. Retaining most of the external design of the iPhone 4, the 4S featured major internal upgrades, including the Apple A5 chipset, and an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording. Reception to the iPhone 4S was generally favorable. Reviewers noted that Siri, the new camera, and processing speeds were significant advantages over the prior model.
The 4s was succeeded by the iPhone 5 as Apple's flagship phone on September 12, 2012. The iPhone 5 was the first iPhone to be announced in September, setting a new trend for subsequent iPhone releases, it was also the first iPhone to be developed under the guidance of Tim Cook and the last to be overseen by Steve Jobs. The iPhone 5 featured major design changes including an aluminum body which made the iPhone thinner and lighter than previous models, a taller 4” screen with a nearly aspect ratio, the Apple A6 chipset, LTE support, and a new, smaller lightning connector which replaced the 30-pin connector used by previous iPhone models. Initial demand for the iPhone 5 exceeded the supply available at launch and was described by Apple as “extraordinary”, with pre-orders having sold twenty times faster than its predecessors. While reception to the iPhone 5 was generally positive, consumers and reviewers noted hardware issues, like an unintended purple hue in some photos taken, and the phone's aluminum back and edges being prone to chipping.
Reception was also mixed over Apple's decision to switch to a different dock connector, as the change affected iPhone 5's compatibility with previous iPhone accessories. The iPhone 5 had the shortest lifespan of any iPhone with only twelve months in production, breaking with Apple's standard practice of selling an existing iPhone model at a reduced price upon the release of a new model. This is because the new iPhone 5c served as the introductory iPhone model while the 5S was the flagship model. The 5s was released on September 20, 2013, along with its lower-cost counterpart, the iPhone 5c. The iPhone 5S maintained the same external design as the 5, although the 5S was offered in a gold color scheme in addition to silver and space gray, however the 5S has vastly improved internal hardware. It featured the A7 64-bit dual-core chipset, accompanied by the M7 “motion co-processor”. It also had a redesigned home button with Touch ID, a fingerprint recognition system that could be used to unlock the phone and authenticate App Store and iTunes Store purchases. The camera was also updated with a larger aperture and a dual-LED flash optimized for accurate color temperatures.
Reception towards the device was generally positive, with some outlets considering it to be the best smartphone available on the market due to its upgraded hardware, Touch ID, and other changes introduced by iOS 7. Some criticized the iPhone 5S for keeping the design and small display of the iPhone 5, and others expressed security concerns about the Touch ID system. The iPhone 5C was a variant of the iPhone 5, with similar internals and hardware except that it had a plastic polycarbonate shell instead of the iPhone 5’s aluminum design. The 5C was available in white, pink, yellow, blue, and green, and started at $99 compared to the 199 dollar 5S. Nine million units of the iPhone 5S and 5C were sold over their release weekend, breaking the iPhone 5’s previous sales record. On September 9, 2014, the 16 and 32 GB iPhone 5C models were replaced by an 8 GB model when the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were introduced.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus include larger and inch displays, a faster processor, upgraded cameras, improved LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity and support for near field communication-based mobile payments. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus received positive reviews due to their improved design, speed, camera, and battery life. However, aspects of the iPhone 6 design was criticized, including the plastic antenna strips on the back that disrupted the otherwise metal exterior, and the screen resolution of the standard-sized iPhone 6 being lower than other devices in its class. Pre-orders of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus broke four million units within its first 24 hours of availability—a new iPhone record. And more than ten million were sold in the first three days. Despite their sales success, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus experienced several hardware issues, the most common was their susceptibility to bending under pressure (a design flaw nicknamed “Bendgate”), even a small amount of bending could cause the touchscreen's internal hardware to be disconnected from the logic board. The iPhone 6 Plus was also the subject of camera issues, including some devices with malfunctioning optical image stabilization systems.
Six months after the release of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple introduced the iPhone SE. A lower-cost iPhone model that featured the same design as the 5S except the SE had matte-chamfered edges and a stainless steel Apple logo. It kept the 5S’s 4-inch screen size, but included hardware upgrades from the iPhone 6S, including its updated processor, rear camera, and support for specific software features like Apple Pay, always-on Siri, and Live Photos. It also features a new Rose Gold color along with the standard Space Gray, Silver and Gold. The iPhone SE was received positively by critics, who noted its sleek form factor and design, improved hardware over previous 4-inch iPhone models, as well as its overall performance and battery life. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were moved to the midrange spot in Apple's iPhone lineup when the 6S and 6S Plus were released in September 2015. The iPhone 6S had a similar design to the iPhone 6 but included updated hardware, including a strengthened aluminum chassis to prevent bending, an upgraded chipset, a 12-megapixel camera, a faster touch ID sensor, and Advanced LTE support.
The iPhone 6S also introduced a new hardware feature called “3D Touch”, which enabled pressure-sensitive touch inputs. iPhone 6S had a mostly positive reception. While performance and camera quality were praised by most reviewers, the addition of 3D Touch was praised by some for the potential of entirely new interface interactions, but criticized by others for not providing users with a way to intuitively understand the feature before using it. The battery life was also criticized and some asserted that the 6S's camera was not significantly better than other smartphones on the market. The iPhone 6S set a new first-weekend sales record, selling 13 million models, up from 10 million for the iPhone 6 the previous year. However, Apple saw its first-ever quarterly year-over-year decline in iPhone sales in the months after the launch, credited to a saturated smartphone market in Apple's biggest countries and a lack of iPhone purchases in developing countries. The 6S was replaced on September 7, 2016 by the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus which featured a design is similar to the 6S, but introduced a new jet black color option, water and dust resistance, a new capacitive, static home button, and removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The device's internal hardware also received upgrades, including a quad-core chipset with improved system and graphics performance, an upgraded 12 megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and quad-LED flash on all models, and an additional telephoto lens on the 7 Plus model to provide optical zoom capabilities. Unlike previous iPhone models, internal storage options for iPhone 7 begin at 32 GB instead of 16 GB, and max out at 256 GB. Reception of the iPhone 7 was mixed. Although users noted camera improvements, especially the dual rear camera on the Plus model, they also stated that the iPhone 7 did not make significant changes to the display or build quality, and some felt that competing flagship smartphones had surpassed the quality of the iPhone 7. There was also controversy surrounding the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack; and some critics argued that the change was meant to bolster licensing of the proprietary Lightning connector and the sales of Apple's own wireless headphone products.
Apple was also mocked for Phil Schiller's statement that removal of the headphone jack demonstrated “courage” from Apple. The iPhone 7 has experienced several issues, most notably a hissing noise during heavy usage of the phones and significant differences in performance between device variants. Apple didn’t release sales numbers for iPhone 7, but multiple U.S. carriers reported that it was in high demand at launch. Subsequent reports at the end of 2016 stated that Apple had reduced production of the models due to “sluggish” sales and decreasing demand, though sales research after the first quarter of 2017 ranked the devices as the best-selling smartphones in the world. In September 2017, Apple announced the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as successors to the 7 and 7 Plus, along with the iPhone X. Besides the addition of a glass back, the designs of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were largely similar to the iPhone 7. Notable changes included the addition of Qi wireless charging support along with fast charging, a faster A11 Bionic chipset, improved cameras, and a new true tone display.
Reception of the phones was mixed, with reviewers praising the addition of wireless charging and the new Apple A11 processor, while heavily criticizing the aging design. The iPhone X was introduced alongside the iPhone 8 models and was intended to showcase what Apple considered the future of smartphone technology, specifically adopting OLED displays for the first time in the iPhone’s history, as well as using a glass and stainless-steel form factor, offering wireless charging, and removing the home button in favor of Face ID, a new authentication method using advanced technologies to scan the user's face to unlock the device, as well as for using animated emojis Apple called Animoji. The new, nearly bezel-less form factor marked a significant change to user interaction with the iPhone, using swipe-based gestures to navigate the operating system rather than the typical home button used in previous iPhonesa. It launched with a price tag of 999 dollars which made it the most expensive iPhone ever, with even higher prices internationally due to local sales and import taxes.
The iPhone X received mixed reviews. Its display and build quality were universally praised, and the camera also scored well on various tests. The notch at the top of the display was particularly polarizing as some believed it was designed mistake while others welcomed the extra screen real-estate the notch provided. Face ID was praised for its simple setup, but criticized for requiring direct eyes on the screen, though that option can be disabled within the systems preferences. Additionally, Face ID has sparked a debate about security and privacy. Apple claims it’s significantly more advanced than Touch ID, having far less false positives, though media reports have discussed that Face ID and other biometric unlocking systems don’t provide the same level of constitutional privacy as a passcode in the United States.
Face ID has shown mixed results when trying to separate identical twins, and the promise of enhanced security has been challenged by hackers and mask makers trying to infiltrate it; with at least one such attempt being successful, though difficult to perform. Third-party app developers can also request access to “rough maps” of user facial data for their apps, causing concerns among privacy advocates despite rigid requirements by Apple on how developers handle facial data. So that’s it guys, I hope you enjoyed this History of the iPhone, if you enjoyed the video don’t forget to leave a like. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time. .