iPhone at 15: See how Apple’s first phone evolved into a beast

Deepak Gupta January 12, 2022
Updated 2022/01/12 at 6:55 PM

Whoever has it is always looking for an upgrade. Those who don’t secretly want one. For the Apple geek, owning an iPhone is everything. In a nutshell, it’s the proverbial ‘the apple of the eye’. Fifteen years ago, Steve Jobs released what has come to be one of the most iconic and revolutionary pieces of consumer technology. Standing on stage at the Macworld Conference in Moscone West, San Francisco on January 9, 2007, Jobs introduced the world to the original iPhone which he introduced as a “widescreen iPod with touch controls”, a “revolutionary cell phone” and a “Innovative Internet communicator”.

The phone he showed for all to see had a 3.5-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 480×320 pixels, a thick bezel, a physical home button, a Samsung processor and a 2-megapixel camera. It looks basic, but back then it was unlike anything available on the market.

In what’s dubbed your most memorable Apple lecture, Jobs had said: “An iPod, a telephone and an internet communicator. An iPod, a phone, are you getting it? The iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any cell phone.” And boy, was he right!

Jobs also had he said, “We were all born with the best pointing device – our fingers – and the iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”

As the iPhone ages, we take a look at how the now-iconic device has matured since its arrival.

iPhone: The phone was released on June 29, 2007. It initially cost $499 (approximately Rs. 37,000 today) for the 4GB model, while the 8GB version was priced at $599 (approximately Rs. 44,000 today).

iPhone 3G: A year later, on July 11, 2008, the iPhone 3G was released. In the US, it cost $599, approximately Rs. 44,000 today). Its main features were faster access to the Internet, ease of GPS navigation, among others.

iPhone 3GS: Released on June 19, 2009, the phone gave users a 32GB storage system. The camera was upgraded to 3 megapixels, which allowed video recording at 30fps. Users can also send photos and voice recordings through messages. It was available in 3 models – 8GB, 16GB, 32GB.

iPhone4: The phone was released on June 24, 2010 and was the first to have a front-facing camera. It marked the arrival of FaceTime video chat. The phone also had a high resolution retina display and 512MB of memory.

iPhone4S: This phone was a huge leap from the previous version. Released on October 14, 2011, the camera has been upgraded to an impressive 8 megapixels and the storage space has increased to 64 GB. The phone launched in the US with a retail price of $649.

iPhone 5: About 11 months after the release of the iPhone 4S, on September 21, 2012, Apple released the iPhone 5. It was the first version to have a 4-inch screen, and the memory was expanded to 1GB.

iPhone 5S and 5C: Both phones were released on September 20, 2013. The iPhone 5C came in 4 different colors making it one of their USP. As for the iPhone 5s, it had features like dual flash, slow motion video, etc.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: These phones were released on September 19, 2014. The main change here from the previous version was the introduction of a bigger screen. While the iPhone 6 had a 4.7-inch screen, the iPhone 6 Plus had a 5.5-inch screen.

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus: These 2 models were released on September 19, 2015 and have had major updates compared to previous versions. On the iPhone 6s, the camera has been upgraded to 12 megapixels from the previous 8M megapixels, and the memory has been increased from 1GB to 2GB. These phones also had 3D Touch capabilities.

iPhone SE: This model was introduced as an affordable alternative to the previous version on March 31, 2016. It was smaller and lacked the 3D Touch option.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Released on September 16, 2016, both models had improved cameras with impressive zoom. The launch of these phones also heralded the end of the 16GB model. These phones started with 32GB of storage and went up to 256GB.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus: These phones were released on September 22, 2017 and introduced users to wireless charging. The phones also had glass and aluminum cases. The camera had new editing features.

iPhone X: The 13th generation iPhone X was released on November 3, 2017. It had another front camera. Portrait mode was also improved, changing the way photographs were taken.

iPhone XS, XS Max: The iPhone XS and XS Max were released on September 21, 2018. These phones had an identical front camera to the iPhone X, allowing for better selfies. The A12 Bionic chip, which increased processing power while maintaining the phone’s battery life, was a major development.

iPhone XR: Compared to the XS and XS Max, this was the most economical option. This phone, released on October 26, 2018, had a Liquid Retina HD display, a front-facing camera, and more color options than the iPhone XS and XS Max.

iPhone 11, Pro, Pro Max: All 3 models were released on September 20, 2019. The iPhone 11 had a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display and a second 12MP camera on the back of the model. This camera also had several wide and ultra wide lenses. The iPhone 11 Pro had three 12MP HDR camera lenses. Ultimately, the iPhone 11 Pro Max was the biggest and most expensive model that year. It had a Super Retina XDR display and three lenses.

iPhone 12, Mini, Pro, Pro Max: Released on November 13, 2020, the home screen of these phones had more customization options with widgets. Users can also watch videos or use FaceTime while doing something else.

iPhone 13, Mini, Pro, Pro Max: These models were released on September 24, 2021. They had major camera improvements, greater storage capacity, battery supporting hours of uninterrupted video playback, among others.

Here are some of Twitter’s reactions to the iPhone turning 15:

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, shared a clip of Jobs’ 2007 iPhone announcement.

Tony Fadell, who worked directly on the iPhone, asked an interesting question.

Ken Kocienda, who designed the keyboard for the iPhone 2G, tweeted about the “big secret” they were keeping.

Now, 15 years later, Apple is gearing up to launch the iPhone 14.


This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we discussed the iPhone 13, the new iPad and iPad mini, and the Apple Watch Series 7 – and what they mean for the Indian market. Orbital is available at Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Music from the Amazon and wherever you get your podcasts.

See the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360 in our CES 2022 hub.

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