How the Apple iPhone has evolved over the years

By Sherlin Rajan

The first generation of iPhone was conceptualised as an experiment known as Project Purple 2 in 2015. Apple's unprecedented and secretive collaboration with AT&T, formerly known as Cingular Wireless made the creation of the device a reality, with an estimated cost of USD 150 million over a 30 month period. In an effort to 'reinvent the phone', Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world as a combination of a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communicator. After announcing the launch of the phone in January 2007, the original iPhone also known as the iPhone 1, iPhone 1G or the iPhone 2G was unveiled at the Macworld Conference & Expo held in Moscone West in San Francisco, California in June that year.

Did you know that the first iPhone had a Samsung CPU? Moreover, this 115x61x11.6mm phone ran on iPhone OS 1.0 and had a memory of 128MB eDRAM and 3-axis accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and a 2MP camera. The phone was then priced at Rs 35,600 for its 4GB model and Rs 42,700 for its 8GB model.

Then came iPhone 3G in 2008. The second generation phone had GPS system with 3G data and ran on iPhone OS 2.0. Along with its push-email notification, and turn-by-turn navigation, it introduced App Store, a one-stop for third party applications. Unlike its predecessor, this model came in 8GB and 16GB. iPhone 3G had a 2.0MP camera with a feature that enabled geotagging in photographs. The following year, the model's successor was launched. Known as iPhone 3GS, the model had a 3MP camera with high resolution, video ability and voice control. As the 'S' indicated speed, the phone was faster than its predecessors and was available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models.

The iPhone 4 model was launched in 2010 and came with a front camera and a stainless frame that doubled as an antenna. Less than 10 mm thick, the iPhone 4 was about 24 per cent thinner than the previous iPhone 3GS and had 16 GB and 32GB models. The next generation iPhone 4S was launched in 2011 and had a memory of 512 MB. It introduced Siri, a built-in "personal assistant" that responds to voice commands and had a 8MP back and 0.3 front camera.

The iPhone 5, first iPhone to be launched after former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' demise, was 18 per cent thinner and 20 per cent lighter than the iPhone 4S. It had a 4-inch screen, measured diagonally, compared to a 3.5-inch screen on previous versions of the phone. It is the same width as the iPhone 4S, but taller. Made entirely of glass and aluminum, the model had an 8-megapixel camera, with special features to eliminate noise in images and perform better in low light. There was also a feature that let you stitch multiple images of a landscape for a panoramic view. The model also had a battery with eight hours of talk time and eight hours of web browsing. iPhone 5s, the seventh generation phone in the series having similar feature as iPhone 5, introduced its fans to Touch ID along with Airdrop, Control centre for its commonly used functions and iTunes Radio. iPhone 5C, a low-cost model with similar features was launched in 2013 in five colours; blue, green, pink, yellow and white. 

The iPhone 6 and its bigger model 6 Plus, launched in 2014, had curved edges and bigger screens that measure 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, up from just four inches on the iPhone 5S. The smaller one was 6.9 mm thick and the 5.5-inch version 7.1 mm thick. In terms of retina display, the iPhone 6 came with more than 1 million pixels -- a third more pixel than the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 6 Plus had 2 million pixels, double the iPhone 5S' screen. both phones featured Apple's A8 processor, which was 25 per cent faster than their predecessor and ran on iOS 8.

2015 saw the launch of iPhone 6s and its bigger model 6S Plus and the introduction of the 3D Touch feature. The 4.7-inch 6S and 5.5-inch 6S Plus, which were the same size as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ran on A9 processor with 70 per cent faster performance and 90 per cent faster graphics, but will also boost battery life in conjunction with Apple's new version of the iPhone's operating system iOS 9.

iPhone SE, a special edition model was launched in 2016. A four-inch screen iPhone had a 64-bit A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor. It was made available in sleek rose gold, gold and silver colours.

The water and dustproof iPhone 7  and iPhone 7 Plus was launched in 2016, just a month after iPhone SE. The model was available in Black and Jet Black, the latter which is a darker shade with a high-gloss finish, along with the white, gold and rose gold colours. The most defining feature of this model was that the phone did not have a headphone jack.The model includes a 12MP rear-facing camera with a quad-LED "True Tone" flash; its aperture was widened to f/1.8 while the standard-size model adds optical image stabilization—a feature that was previously exclusive to the Plus models. The iPhone 7 Plus also includes a second 12-megapixel telephoto lens, which can be used to achieve 2x optical zoom, and up to 10x digital zoom. The front-facing camera was also upgraded to a 7-megapixel sensor.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were launched in 2017 with a smooth glass back and in gold, rose gold and space gray variants. the phone boasted of 12 MP back camera with autofocus feature. During its launch, iPhone 8 64GB costed Rs 64,000 while the 256GB variant was available for Rs 77,000.

Apple's high-end model iPhone X was launched along with iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in 2017 and was known for its face recognition feature, Face ID. The following year,iPhone XR the 5.8-inch iPhone Xs and 6.5-inch iPhone Xs Max was launched with Super Retina displays, a faster and improved dual-camera system and has a 7-nanometer chip, first-ever in a smartphone.

And the latest iPhone 11 was launched with three rear cameras, alongwith iPhone 11 Pro and  iPhone 11 Pro Max. The camera’s 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens in the new iPhone 11 pro offers a 120-degree field of view of the phone. A new OLED panel has been added to the model’s 5.8-inch screen display, which is said to go up to an even brighter 1,200 units, a 2 million:1 contrast ratio, is energy efficient by 15 per cent. The new iPhone 11 Pro also has the A13 Bionic chip just as in iPhone 11, launched along with the model, which the company says has the fastest CPU and GPU ever used in a smartphone. 

About the Gallery

Apple’s series of smartphones, known as iPhone has been around for the past 12 years. The brand has excited smartphone enthusiasts and gadget lovers alike. Not just brand value, iPhones have been popular among netizens in terms of features and specifications too. Let's take a look:

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