Apple’s Revolutionary iPhone: Then and Now

Apple’s Revolutionary iPhone

by Hannah Oakland

We have all heard of the iPhone: it’s a household name now in 2017. But how did we get where we are today with the iPhone 7? It started in 2007 with the original iPhone. Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone by saying “iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone. We are all born with the ultimate pointing device—our fingers—and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse” (Apple, 2007).

Steve Jobs holding original iPhone

Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs holds up the iPhone that was introduced at Macworld on January 9, 2007 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

The first-generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. It featured a 3.5-inch diagonal screen, 320×480 pixels at 168 ppi, and a 2-megapixel camera. The price tag astounded the market: $499 for 4 GB or $599 for the 8 GB version with a two-year contract. (Montgomery, A., & Mingis, K., 2017) According to Statistica, the first-generation iPhone sold 1.39 million units. A majority of phones in 2007 had hardware keyboards and if they had a touch screen, they came with a stylus for usability (Ritchie, R., 2017). Steve Jobs really did revolutionize the mobile phone market: the only thing that held it back was its price tag, which brought us into the next iPhone in 2008.

Sales were not peaking the way Apple had wished, so in 2008 they introduced the iPhone 3G: it was just as fast but the price tag was cut in half. The key features included faster connection to 3G-based networks, built-in GPS, location services, and more storage. Apple dropped the 4GB model, kept the 8 GB model, and added a 16 GB model. The 8 GB model retailed for just $199 while the 16 GB version retailed for $299. (Montgomery, A., & Mingis, K., 2017) The second generation iPhone introduced the App Store and location services. As they had hoped, sales rocketed: they sold 11.63 million iPhones in 2008 (Apple iPhone Sales by Year).

Only a year later, Apple announced the iPhone 3GS: it was twice as fast and packed more features than the 3G. Key featured included a “high-quality 3 megapixel autofocus camera, easy to use video recording and hands free voice control” (Apple, 2008) and included an upgraded operating system: iPhone OS 3.0. Some other features included in this new model were “Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS, Spotlight Search, landscape keyboard, and more” (Apple, 2008). The 8 GB model retailed for $99, 16 GB model for $199, and the new 32 GB for $299. Sales continued to increase: they sold 20.73 million iPhones in 2009 (Apple iPhone Sales by Year).

The iPhone 4, announced in 2010, was a game changer for Apple. Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 by saying “iPhone 4 is the biggest leap since the original iPhone. FaceTime video calling sets a new standard for mobile communication, and our new Retina display is the highest resolution display ever in a phone, with text looking like it does on a fine printed page. We have been dreaming about both of these breakthroughs for decades” (Apple, 2010). The Apple iPhone 4 introduced Retina Display, FaceTime video calling, a 4 megapixel camera, and featured the thinnest chassis yet at 9.3 millimeters. Apple also introduced the A4 chip, the most powerful processing chip of its time. (Apple, 2010)

Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook.

Fast forward to the present iPhone 7. Apple has grown and adapted over the 7 years since the iPhone 4. Steve Jobs, the genius behind the original iPhone, passed away on October 5th, 2011. His successor, Tim Cook, furthered Jobs’ dream of developing the best iPhone ever. He hasn’t lost sight of Jobs’ original idea.

The iPhone 7 was released on September 16, 2016 (Montgomery, A., & Mingis, K., 2017). It features new black and jet black finishes, splash, dust, and water resistance, a new Home button, a bolder, truer-to-life 12 megapixel camera, A10 Fusion chip that provides a batter life twice as long as the iPhone 6, 25% brighter Retina HD display (1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi), and much more (Apple, iPhone 7). Perhaps the most controversial feature of the iPhone 7 was the removal of the headphone jack. In an effort to provide a crisper listening experience, earbuds with headphone jack connectors were replaced by those with Lightning Connectors. The iPhone 7 retails for $649. Regardless, the iPhone 7 sold 231.66 million iPhones in 2015 and 211.88 million in 2016.

What will the next iPhone bring us? Rumors tell us that there is expected to be a “5.8 inch OLED display, a faster A11 processor, glass body, edge-to-edge display, camera and Touch ID integrated into the display, no Home button, wireless charging, and three different models” (MacRumors, 2017). There are many rumors out there, but we will see in the fall of 2017 what Apple has in store for us next.

Some may say that Apple is slacking behind its competitors, but if you look at the history of the iPhone, you will see how far they have come in a short 10 years. Technology is constantly changing, especially in the mobile industry. The iPhone is no different: it will evolve and change to meet its consumers demands, but will never fully stray from its original concept of creating the most revolutionary phone ever.

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