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An image of Apple CEO Steve Jobs holding an iPhone 1.

Ten Years after the first iPhone release, here’s how it’s evolved

I’ll put my hands up and admit it; I’m a technophobe. In 2008, the year of the first iPhone release, I didn’t quite get the hype. Unimpressed by smartphones, I was content to carry around a brick in my back pocket, like a kleptomaniac at a building site. But then, something magical happened: I was given an iPhone of my very own and it was only then that I saw the beauty of Apple’s creation. Funny how free stuff can change your mind like that, huh? 

Immediately, I noticed some big differences from my old phone. It was shinier for starters, and did things my Nokia couldn’t dream of. Suddenly I always had something to read, watch or listen to, and as a bonus I could still download Snake from the App Store. It's hard to believe that was a decade ago now, but somehow here we are ten years later with endless versions of the iconic handset on sale and many more to come in the future. It's difficult to overstate the impact the iPhone had on the technological landscape, so in honour of the tenth anniversary, we take a look back at how the iPhone has evolved.

1. iPhone 1

The Apple iPhone went on sale on 29 June, six months after Steve Jobs introduced the new smartphone to a packed crowd of journalists and staff in January, telling the crowd that it was the day he’d been waiting for for the past two years. The first model, a far cry from the iPhones we own these day was presented as three devices in one; a touchscreen iPod, a mobile phone, and a mobile web browser. The original iPhone had no third-party apps, no GPS and no video recording, but with its 3.5-inch screen, 320 x 480 pixel resolution, a 2MP camera built in and up to 8GB of storage, it was a true revolutionarily device at the time.

Steve Jobs at the first iPhone release Credit: Getty

2. iPhone 3G

Apple quickly realised they were onto a true winner and the iPhone 3G was launched just over 12 months later. With high-speed internet becoming big news in 2008, “3G" was included in the title to make it clear that if you bought one, you were getting the very best of the best. Largely identical to the original iPhone, the key differences included the appearance of the App Store icon, a slightly thinner shape and plastic back.

iPhone 3G Credit: Getty

3. iPhone 3GS

June 2009 brought disappointment for iPhone fans as the iPhone 3GS came out and was dismissed as being too similar to its predecessor. But if you looked closely, you realised that Apple had attempted to redefine the iPhone experience in order to bring speed, video capture and a digital compass, as well as a faster 600MHz ARM A8 CPU, double the RAM at 256GB and fingerprint-resistant screen coating.

iPhone 3GS Credit: Getty

4. iPhone 4

The turn of the decade saw Apple completely up its game and show Blackberry users how it was done. The key improvements included a brand new design with an integrated antenna, a high-resolution Retina display (640 x 960 pixels) and an impressive 5MP camera, featuring HD video recording. It was a game-changer. No surprises then when people began to queue up in the street in record-breaking numbers to get their hands on one.

iPhone 4 launch Credit: Getty

5. iPhone 4S

With the release of the iPhone 4S, we all met someone who would become a permeant fixture in our lives: Siri. Now, whether you liked it or not, your phone talked to you and offered an exclusive personal assistant who never quite understood what you said. Pulling out the “S” again for their fifth generation iPhone, Apple also added on an 8MP camera with 1080p video recording. Their improvements were widely praised, but the iPhone as a whole was still criticised for its low battery life and lack of Near field communication, Flash support or option for memory expansion. But we had to take what we could get.

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6. iPhone 5

After six handsets, Apple decided it was time to alter the iPhone’s screen size and aspect ratio and we loved them for it. Weighing in at 20% lighter than its predecessor, the 2012 version boasted a 4-inch screen, running at 640 x 1136 pixels. In addition, it also introduced a new connector, Lightning, making it a phone that millions of users were grappling to upgrade to. Until the next version, of course.

iPhone 5 Credit: Getty

7. iPhone 5C/iPhone 5S

From the very first iPhone release, Apple targeted a market who had money to spare, but with the arrival of the slightly cheaper iPhone 5C, it was clear they wanted to expand their reach to the mobile middle market. The new addition was pretty much a carbon copy of the iPhone 5, aside from the plastic back. More importantly, with the launch of the iPhone 5S brought the introduction of the fingerprint reader under the home button which provided a way to unlock the phone and authorise purchases from the App Store, as well as longer battery life, better camera and more power.

iPhone 5S Credit: Getty

8. iPhone 6/6 Plus

Apple was back and bigger than ever in September 2016 when they launched the iPhone 6. The most noticeable change was no doubt that screen size, with the display soaring up from 4 inches to 4.7 inches, not to mention increasing the resolution from the 1136 x 640 to 1334 x 750. But we hadn’t seen nothing yet; the iPhone 6 Plus had a massive 5.5 inch display and a high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080. The idea of round corners were also introduced, with screens that curved into the body of the device. Unsurpisingly, the two new phones broke the record for pre-orders for the first night they were available.

iPhone 6 Credit: Getty

9 iPhone 6S/6S Plus

Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus came with some meaty upgrades that made it a must-have. These included a new force touch technology called 3D Touch which was able to perceive the amount of force a user put on the touch screen to activate different functions. Not to mention the beefed up 12-megapixel iSight camera that could shoot 4K video.

iPhone 6S launch Credit: Getty

10. iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus

All of the people out there who had become accustomed to putting their phone in a bag of rice after dropping it down the toilet were no doubt thrilled to hear that the iPhone 7 was somewhat water resistant. Otherwise, the ten generation iPhone wasn’t a massive game changer, despite causing a stir by giving users the option of a jet black or bright red version. Perhaps the most controversial thing about the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 plus was the fact that the company had waved farewell to the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of wireless earphones, which caused many local customers to say goodbye.

Iphone 7 launch Credit: Getty

So, here we are, 10 years after the first iPhone release. A decade on, the Apple creation has become our loyal companion and you’d be forgiven if you couldn’t remember a time with it. But, what exactly does the future hold for the iPhone? Who knows, we can only wait and see.