How iPhone Has Changed in 13 Years: from 2007 to 2020

evolution-iphone-2020If there is a flagship product in Apple that shines above all is the iPhone. With its lovers and detractors, but it is the most anticipated product every year and the one with the most headlines. However, this has not always been the case, and it was not until 2007 when we first saw this device in the hands of the mythical Steve Jobs. It has been 13 years, many years for some and the blink of an eye for others. Next we analyze how the smartphone that revolutionized the industry has changed in all this time.



“The iPhone is not going to revolutionize the world,” were some analysts wrong?

The year 2007 was the year of the pig in the Chinese calendar, the year in which Romania and Bulgaria joined as a full member of the European Union In Spain we live in autonomous and municipal elections. On the other side of the puddle, in the United States, Apple’s zero year began in a certain way because, in the now extinct Macworld Conference & Expo, Steve Jobs ventured to show the planet the original iPhone, the iPhone without number … in Ultimately, the first iPhone in history.

It was January 9 and those attending the conference already sensed that Apple was going to present a mobile phone. A madness for many and a genius for others. That rumored Apple Phone baptized as iPhone ended up marking a before and after in the company despite the fact that some analysts called this device an early failure. Many users did not see it clearly. And what was that? A usable phone one hundred percent with the fingers and with which you could play music, surf the internet, take photos and make calls at the same time with additions such as the Multitouch.

Surely these benefits that the original iPhone brought would be a complete embarrassment if they were presented in the middle of 2020, but at that time many saw it even as a brick due to its 3.5 inches of screen. What state of madness would these enter if devices like the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max had already been released in that year? We probably won’t know, since in the end it has all been a matter of giving Apple and the industry time to show us a world that is now very common, but then did not quite convince the majority.

No, the iPhone was not a kind of PDA nor was it going to stay on the road because its price, already at that time, was higher than that of the competition. Perhaps today the debate may be more alive, but in those days it was indisputable that the iPhone was above the rest. It was even said that Apple was 4 years above the competition as far as smartphone technology is concerned.

What did the original iPhone bring?

That first iPhone, which really would not be launched until the summer months, brought a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, manageable without the need for stylus and hence the phrase pronounced by Jobs despising this type has remained for the memory of accesories. Speakers, microphone, 2 megapixel camera and another series of technical features that were not widely seen at the time but were even more improved with its operating system.

iPhone OS was the first stone of what we know today as iOS, although neither aesthetically nor functionally it can be said that much of that remains. It was not until the next versions that the App Store arrived, but for that first iPhone run it was not missing. There was a fully optimized hardware system that allowed us to carry a computer in your pocket for the first time.

From Apple they were convinced that this iPhone was going to be a revolution for the sector, and indeed it ended up being. However we had to adapt to the new way of seeing our phones. The obstacles Californians encountered were such that even this phone could not reach many countries. In Spain, for example, it was not officially sold, and that is why at that time the telephone companies exercised a fierce monopoly in the sale of mobile phones.

It was in fact Apple who managed to win the first battle against the telephone operators by getting the logo of the company in question to be removed from the iPhone 3G. Also thanks to them and the subsequent boom of Android phones began to give the first data plans to be able to navigate at high speed with the mobile without connecting to a WiFi network, which greatly favored that of having a computer in your pocket and be able to use it at home or in the middle of the street.

The fact is that this first iPhone has become a relic, having reached a few years ago its record figure for sale as a collection item. Obviously with current technologies this device is more than obsolete, but sentimentally it is an object of incalculable value for many people considering the dimensions it has had over these 13 years.

App Store as the main supporter of the iPhone

Buying a device today without the possibility of downloading third-party apps would be crazy, but as we mentioned earlier, the first iPhone nobody really missed this. After all, you couldn’t miss something that never really existed. However, Apple was able to find the key and in the summer of 2008, a year after the first iPhone, iPhone OS 2.0 was announced, an operating system that would reach the original iPhone and the second generation they called iPhone 3G.

This operating system brought considerable improvements to the level of fluidity of the iPhone, but also granted for the first time the possibility of downloading third-party apps in the App Store. At that time the store was much less extensive than it is today, with only 500 apps , of which 125 were free. However, the catalog was not a catch but rather a reason for joy. The range of possibilities was multiplied to the maximum power and the developers were left free to be able to take advantage of the good hardware of the iPhone, although obviously following a series of security and application optimization standards.

In 2009 it was when we met the iPhone 3GS, the first generation “S” of an iPhone and that came to bring greater speed to the phone. In fact it was said that the letter added was the abbreviation of “speed”, speed in English. This iPhone is also one of the most beloved by the most nostalgic, since it was the first for many users to be this one of the first to launch in many countries among which, fortunately, was Spain.

That third generation of iPhone also brought camera improvements for the first time, as it not only improved the resolution of the photograph, but also gave us the ability to record on video for the first time. This last functionality was perhaps the most prominent and that in some ways raised more blisters in the first two generations considering that there were already devices on the market that allowed this and it was strange that Apple had left it aside for 2 years.

The iPhone 4 forgotten in a bar and the embarrassment of “Antennagate”

To talk about the iPhone 4 is not only to talk about the fourth generation of Apple’s smartphone, but to talk about one of the phones with more stories and curiosities around it. This was the last iPhone presented by the legendary CEO and founder Steve Jobs before his death. It was introduced in 2010 and in the end it became one of the best selling phones in history.

However, this phone gave birth to the first wave of what is now the order of the day: rumors and leaks. Although in this case it was not for information arising from the company or its suppliers, but directly the phone was known completely months before its presentation. All this because an Apple worker left the iPhone 4 in a bar in Redwood City, a California city near San Francisco.

The mistake of this worker cost him so much that he was fired, as Apple itself. What could have remained as an anecdote was in a complete filtration of the device thanks to the fact that it ended up in the hands of Gizmodo and they knew how to get as much juice as possible from both its visual design and its internal components. Also included the front camera that we saw for the first time on an Apple smartphone.

As we said, this iPhone 4 was surrounded by anecdotes and controversies. One of the most remembered was the one that has transcended history as “antennagate”, a bad construction of the antennas that caused the device to lose signal by placing a sheath or covering the antennas with the hands when it was being used. First Apple threw balls out on this and even wanted to leave it as an unusual case, but there were many users who were harmed by it.

Apple released several iPhone OS updates in order to fix this antenna failure, but it didn’t work. The engineer in charge of this technology was fired and Apple began offering free repair programs, as well as changed the way of manufacturing these terminals in order to end once and for all with this problem that is still remembered today.

Beyond this, the phone had been redesigned incorporating again offering versions in two colors : black and white. A rear glass that made the phone very elegant and a front in which the resolution of the screen was considerably improved, although perhaps not as much as expected.

This year coincided with the launch of the first iPad , and because they both had the same operating system, it changed the name of iPhone OS to iOS. Curiously, this has been the case until last year, when the iPad abandoned this nomenclature to start carrying iPadOS, a system that has continued to depart from the same base as iOS, but with notable differences that place it closer and closer to a Mac that of an iPhone.

Hi Siri, bye Steve

The life and work of Steve Jobs would not only give for an extensive article, but has even given for several books. His figure, for better and for worse, will already be marked in history. And as if it were a novel, its flame went out just one day after the presentation of the iPhone 4s , a phone that is even said to be a tribute to the eternal CEO for his initials that could translate into a “for Steve “(for Steve) by the pronunciation of 4 in English (four). It was presented on October 4, 2011.

On this occasion, and in this already if we are the same, Tim Cook was in charge of presenting us with a phone that was still worn by Mr. Jobs. In fact it is said that he left plans for at least 4 years and that even the iPhone 6 and 6s were in some way his signature. In any case, this iPhone 4s brought what seemed almost magical at the time: a virtual assistant who played the well-known Siri .

Aesthetically the phone did not change anything and could even be confused perfectly with an iPhone 4, a sign of identity that has continued with the years in the mobile devices of range “s” that Apple has launched. The novelties were rather internally, improving the processor and other components that made the operating system more and more protagonist, although it had not yet reached its peak.

More screen, iOS redesign and Touch ID arrival with iPhoine 5, 5c and 5s

What once seemed crazy, 3.5 inches of screen, in 2012 seemed already something old. Apple decided for the first time to increase the size of the screen and reach up to 4 inches of the iPhone 5. A device that came with an elegant design that mixed the glass with the aluminum in black and white colors. Also internally we saw changes with a maximum capacity of 64GB of storage, an amount that today is the minimum offered on an iPhone but that at that time was outrageous.

However, one of the biggest turning point for the iPhone came in 2013 with the arrival of the iPhone 5s and iOS 7. As for the operating system we saw a radical change in design. Steve Jobs had always defended that the icons and buttons of the operating system resemble the elements they represented in reality, but with iOS 7 it was decided to give a more modern and even minimalist view of the interface and that is something that, despite its modifications, still exists today.

The iPhone 5s came with a design almost identical to that of its predecessor, but with more than remarkable changes. The home button changed completely by adding a fingerprint recognition on it that allowed the phone to be unlocked without the need to enter numeric code and which ultimately served as a password for many other apps and to make payments with the mobile. It was also designed in space gray, silver and gold colors.

The iPhone 5s can also claim to be the longest-running iPhone in terms of software for having been able to stretch its updates from iOS 7 to iOS 12. This was mainly achieved by the arrival of the first 64bit chip to an iPhone. In fact even today we can find many users who carry one of these phones and even reluctant to acquire a more modern one.

Accompanied by the iPhone 5s came the spoiled iPhone 5c , a phone that internally was like the iPhone 5 and externally brought plastic materials in various colors : black, white, coral, yellow, green and light blue. With this terminal it was expected to cut production costs and therefore reduce its price to reach that less demanding public who wanted an iPhone, but not bear the cost of buying a last generation. In addition its vivid colors would serve to attract young audiences.

However the iPhone 5c failed resoundingly. It was not a bad concept at all, but perhaps it was not finished adapting its price to the target audience and has been one of the least sold terminals in history. Perhaps the fact of arriving next to a phone as round as the 5s also made a dent in it.

Welcome to the phablet: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

The death of Steve Jobs may never be exceeded, much less in Apple, but it seems that his wake was increasingly falling behind as confirmed in 2014. One of Jobs’s premises was always that the iPhone could be handled with a single hand and in fact it was presumed of it in previous years in a well-known advertising spot of the company. But the market was increasingly full of competition and in Cupertino that old dogma of “renewing or dying” was taken to heart.

That is why this year we saw how the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were launched . The first of them was already the largest iPhone ever seen with its 4.7-inch screen, but its older brother was even larger with its 5.5 inches . Apple thus responded to the demand of two types of audiences: those who continued to prefer a compact and usable one-handed telephone and those who already claimed a larger screen with which to start enjoying multimedia content that was already booming.

The rear design was also notable, going on to have the aluminum as the main protagonist and with the design of the antennas on the top and bottom simulating in a way the cut that the iPhone 5 and 5s had. And although internally the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus had identical components, the truth is that the ‘Plus’ lived up to its name by adding notable extras in terms of autonomy and camera.

The continuity of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 and the tribute of the iPhone SE

If there is a year in which you can miss news on an iPhone, that was 2015. This year the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were launched. Two terminals that, despite being the best in Apple’s history at that time, were two very continuous devices. In the aesthetic terrain you can hardly distinguish these terminals except for the “s” that have serigraph on the back.

In internal components if updates such as the new A9 processor were seen, slight improvements in cameras and the arrival of the hápitco engine and compatibility with “Hey Siri” , a way to invoke the assistant without pressing any button. As for the haptic engine, it should be noted that it was the arrival of 3D touch, a series of contextual menus that still prevail in iOS and that in these phones they also added a response in the form of vibration that consistently improved the use.

At an intermediate date between the launch of the iPhone 6s and the subsequent range, Apple surprised by announcing the iPhone SE , a device that paid tribute to the iconic iPhone 5s. Aesthetically it was identical and also a pink version was added. But internally, components that were last generation and shared with the iPhone 6s were added. This was the particular way in which Apple wanted to go to that sector of the public that longed for more compact phones, but did not want to give up the most modern hardware.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus continued in 2016 with what was marked on the iPhone 6 and followed on the iPhone 6s. However in this case if we find considerable news. At the aesthetic level the antennas had been “hidden” so that they were not such a visual element of the design, at the same time that colors were added that were a trend such as matt black and gloss black. While the iPhone 7 continued with 4.7 inches and an improved camera, in the ‘Plus’ model we saw the arrival of the double camera. Apple was not the first to do so, but that was not a problem for us to start enjoying the advantages of this type of lens.

An enlarged and improved zoom were protagonists of this double camera along with the popular portrait mode. This modality, which is still present today, allowed us for the first time to take photographs of people or objects blurring the background. This is what is known as the bokeh effect.

Tenth anniversary with iPhone 8 and iPhone X

2017 was a very special year for Apple, since it was 7 years since the launch of the first iPhone that we are also commemorating on this occasion. At that time there were many doubts about the terminal with which the company would pay its particular tribute. Various names were shuffled as iPhone Edition and even iPhone SJ in honor of Steve Jobs. Finally this was translated into the first iPhone that was accompanied by a letter and not a number: the X in reference to the Roman number that expresses 10. But we will talk about this later.

The generation that by history had to see that year was that of the iPhone 7s, although in this case Apple skipped its own rules and we saw the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus . Except as usual (processor, camera improvements and other internal components) we did not see too many notable changes with respect to the iPhone 7. Both the small and large version emulated the same design, although adding the glass as a construction material in order to allow Qi wireless charging , something that was already present in many competing devices for 2 years.

The iPhone X , and here we resume the device of the tenth anniversary, was the one that monopolized all eyes and ultimately the largest number of sales. It meant the biggest change of an iPhone since the original launch, almost completely eliminating the edges and leaving us a front in which the 5.8-inch OLED screen is the real protagonist. The characteristic ‘notch’ was added that also gave way to the change of Touch ID by Face ID , a facial recognition that has not yet been able to be emulated by the competition in terms of efficacy and safety.

We also saw how new features such as glass material had been added to the back of the iPhone X, which reminded a lot of the iPhone 4 and 4s. Induction charging like the iPhone 8 and of course Apple’s definitive step in its commitment to cameras. The double camera not only continued with features presented in the 7 Plus, but also improved them considerably and incorporated the portrait mode also to the front camera.

From iPhone XS to iPhone 11 today

We arrived at 2018 , a year already very close to our days. On this occasion, and following in the wake of 2016, Apple opted for continuity with the iPhone XS. This terminal brought with it internal improvements not very remarkable and an identical design to that of the iPhone X except for the incorporation of the golden color to the range. Perhaps the spotlights were more placed on the iPhone XS Max , the largest to date and that only differed from the 5.8 version in which it reached 6.5 inches and harbored greater autonomy.

The iPhone XR was unintentionally the true protagonist. It was presented with airs reminiscent of the iPhone 5c, since its true role was to be the economic iPhone for its reduced performance. Like that of 2012, this came in different colors, although this time with much more premium material with protagonist glass. This device really had everything: a front without just frames with Face ID, a single rear lens but capable of performing portrait mode and even identical components such as the A12 Bionic chip. The main differences were, in addition to the lower price, that the screen was LCD and that it had a single lens on the back. However, he won integers by being the terminal with greater autonomy from Apple. We still see the result now: it swept sales.

Just a few months ago, at the end of 2019 , we attended the arrival of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Perhaps they need to talk little because they are fresh from the oven like the one they say, but the truth is that they brought news that had been claimed for a long time and that made the XS were subject to all kinds of criticisms of Apple .

The iPhone 11 is with us inheriting the spirit of the XR with its range of colors and its LCD screen, but the truth is that it could have been perfectly the high-end device of Apple for having incorporated new features that also carry the ‘Pro’. Its dual camera not only improves the previous generation, but also makes us enjoy the night mode, ultra wide angle and Deep Fusion photo processing.

The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are the first ‘Pro’ generation of an iPhone and it is not for less. The autonomy of these is really remarkable, being even the Pro Max the current device with the best autonomy in the market. Its improved OLED screen leaves very good sensations and also incorporates a triple camera in which in addition to the ultra wide angle, night mode and Deep Fusion, we have a telephoto camera. Like the iPhone 11, it brings an A13 Bionic chip capable of moving any process with amazing fluidity.

Of course, you have also stuck to the new terminals. Perhaps the most demanded is the elimination of the notch and the greater use of the screen. Although it is not that this works badly, the truth is that we continue to have devices identical to that of 2017. We will have to see that Apple surprises us with this year’s models, but in any case it seems that 2019 and this principle of 2020 is the company working very well with its latest flagships.

Conclusion: A hopeful future?

Concluding this article could not be more complicated. In my personal capacity, I am sure that I could continue writing analyzes, anecdotes and curiosities of the history of the iPhone for many more lines. However, I think I can come to a reflection that can be shared by a majority, and that is that the iPhone completely revolutionized the industry and now it is time to do it again.

Now, with the undoubted advantage that the perspective of time gives us, we can understand the excitement of Jobs presenting the iPhone for the first time. We can even understand that in those times it might seem crazy what we were seeing. But it is clear that Apple laid the first stone of a path that other companies have managed to follow very well. Samsung, Huawei or OnePlus are just examples of the multitude of companies that today make spectacular phones and leave the iPhone as an option that is still strong, but that is not unique or is the best.

In the end it all depends on perspectives and preferences. Both iOS and Android have been able to grow very well and it is practically a matter of personal tastes to choose one or the other these days. We can no longer say sharply that the iPhone is the best. It is obvious that they are premium range and that a majority will feel satisfied with them, but the dogma that Apple was years ahead of them has long been left behind.

It is clear that smartphone technology is touching the ceiling in a certain way, since innovation in this sector is increasingly complicated. That is precisely why the fierce Apple fans, among those who will forgive me for including me, we hope it is Apple who breaks the bag once again. Why? Why he already did it once and in his ship travel a good part of the best engineers and creators of ideas in the world.

Despite the loss of Jobs , which clearly marks a before and after, we believe that Apple has enough strength to surprise us with the launch of an iPhone that, at least, generates half of the illusions created by the first. Who knows if it will end up happening. Perhaps in the future this hypothetical innovation of the iPhone even changes our lives. Or perhaps this happens through any other device not invented. In any case we are happy to remember a device that changed everything 13 years ago and that has won, for better and worse, being the center of all eyes year after year when the curtain of the Apple event is raised in which They present us with a new generation.