Not a hot take: iPhones are still hot. Apple’s recent ‘Far Out’ event unveiled looks at the Apple Watch Series 8 and the new AirPods Pro 2, but the main source of buzz was generated by the new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Though the new models are offering up one of the biggest jumps in camera resolution for some time, listing the iPhone models in order shows exactly how Apple has kept fans of the revolutionary smartphones happy for 15 years with consistent improvements to their hardware.
1. The iPhone – June 29, 2007
Released on June 29, 2007, the original Apple iPhone, had a 3.5″ display screen, was 11.6mm thick, and had a staggering 16GB of storage! Compared to phone memory today that doesn’t seem like much, but it was enormous at the time. It had a 128MB memory, which was fairly impressive, and weighed just 135 grams.
It was considered ahead of its time, and as Apple, who had now “reimagined the phone,” were bathing in the glow of the iPhone’s success. Apple immediately began plans for a new iPhone, and aimed to beat its predecessor in every category. This was not an easy task given the available technology at the time.
2. iPhone 3G – July 11, 2008
Hardly one year after the release of the first iPhone, which took place before the App Store, Apple released the “phone you have all been waiting for.” It had 3G connectivity and a base storage of 8GB, small compared to its predecessor, though it was originally released with 16 GB and 32 GB versions instead. It was 12.3mm thick, weighed 133 grams, had a 3.5″ display screen and a 2MP camera, along with a 128MB memory. The differences between the iPhone 3 and the original iPhone were slight, except for the App Store and its 3G connectivity. Even so, it sold a million units in the first weekend of its release. It was really an incredible feat of marketing and technology and paved the way for the next phone, which again promised to be better than the last phone.
Less than 11 months after the ground-breaking iPhone3, Apple, riding the success of the previous version, released the iPhone 3G(S) on June 19, 2009. At the time it was deemed the “most powerful” phone ever made. It also sold a million units in its first week. Apple realized that with the recent introduction of its App Store, 16 GB wasn’t going to cut it, so they released this version with 32 GB max, and a 256MB memory, which was double as compared to the 128MB of the iPhone and the iPhone 3G.
3. iPhone 4 – June 24, 2010
Apple introduces Siri
1 year and 5 days later, Apple “changed everything. Again.” and they were right. With 9.3 mm thickness and a 3.5″ display and a 5.0 MP camera, and 512 MB memory, Apple just increased and improved its product in all dimensions.
“The most amazing iPhone, yet!” the iPhone 4S was released on October 14, 2011, with an 8 MP camera, 64 GB storage, and digital personal assistant Siri, along with 1080p video recording. Selling 4 million units in its first week, things seemed to be just getting better and better for Apple.
4. iPhone 5 – September 21, 2012
New: lightning connectors
“The best thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone.” This phone released and introduced some revolutionary changes: 1 GB memory, LTE Connectivity, and lightning connectors. Even more successful than its predecessor, it sold 5 million units sold in its first week. Newer versions of this model–the 5C and 5S–were released roughly a year later, on September 30, 2013.
“You’re more powerful than you think.” was the iPhone 5S’s marketing mantra. With slow-motion video capture, dual flash, touch ID, 4″ display, and 8.0 MP camera. While the iPhone 5C, released in several different colors, had features similar to the iPhone 5S’s, it still sold over 9 million units, collectively.
5. iPhone 6 and 6 plus – September 19, 2014
Storage up to 6 GB
Retina HD display,128 GB storage, 5.5″ display(Plus), and 10 million sales in the first week. Another huge success for Apple, with a 12 MP camera, and 2 GB memory, an all-out improvement for Apple’s technology, as it grew and grew to levels beyond the previous iPhones, and many of its rival phone companies.
6. iPhone SE – March 31, 2016
A more affordable iPhone
Compared to the iPhone 6, the SE was a more affordable option and had everything but the iPhone 6’s 3D touch. It was basically a cheaper version of the iPhone, which people really loved but quickly forgot about. Later in the year, the success of the iPhone 7 overshadowed the minuscule changes the SE made to the affordable phones industry.
7. iPhone 7 and 7 Plus – September 16, 2016
No more headphone jack
Months after the iPhone SE, Apple introduced the iPhone 7. It had a 16GB base option, 32 GB and 256 GB storage, dual camera, and that beautiful jet-black color. This was when Apple removed the headphone jack to replace earbuds with EarPods and a wireless converter. This phone became an instant success even before its release with a huge number of pre-orders.
8. iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – September 17, 2017
New: Wireless charging
By this time, users had already grown used to the non-headphone jack lifestyle and enjoyed the phone’s great photo editing and photo filtering. The introduction of the glass cover on the phone’s back and wireless charging made this a win-win situation. The true-tone display turned out to be a genuine improvement as well.
9. iPhone X – November 3, 2017
No more home button–Apple introduces Face ID
Portrait mode, an extra front-facing camera, an improved display resolution made people fall in love with this phone instantly. However, as Apple removed the phone’s home button, they did get some occasional dirty looks.
A little pricey, but proving itself to be worth the price, this phone had it all. There were several iterations of this basic model. The iPhone XS and XS Max were released on September 21, 2018. These had a Super Retina HD display, awesome looks, and an awesome camera. However, Apple did take the 7 ate 9 jokes quite literally, as there was no iPhone 9, ever. Regardless, the A12 Bionic chip increased these phones’ efficiency and battery life.
The iPhone XR was another version of this model. Released only a month later, October 26, 2018, it was announced with the iPhone X. This phone was smaller than the XS and XS Max but was bigger than the 7 and 8 plus. It wasn’t as ground-breaking or as special as the X or the XS, but a colored, more affordable option, which did succeed, but everyone agreed it wasn’t as good as the X, XS, or the XS Max.
10. iPhone 11 – September 20, 2019
More cameras–for a total of 3
The day a man did the Naruto Run in Area 51, Apple announced the least-expensive addition to its annual line, yet a running contender for 2019’s most popular phone. 11 and 12 MB cameras on the back and ultra-wide lenses, made this an instant winner. That same day, Apple released the iPhone 11 Pro, a slightly bigger iPhone with a prominent triple-camera back. This phone made headlines as it released, mostly in the meme world.
The 11 Pro offered a Super Retina XDR display, with three 12 MB cameras, but with fewer color options. Also on this same day, Apple released its most expensive phone to date, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Pro Max featured a Super HD Retina XDR display, basically the same as the iPhones 11 and 11Pro, but with a considerably larger screen, proving to be just enough of an advance to rack up many buyers on its release, regardless of its price.
11. iPhone 12 – October 23, 2020
Super Retina XDR
On October 13th, 2020, Apple announced their follow-up to the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini with edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays and a new Ceramic Shield cover which their press release stated was “the biggest jump in durability ever on iPhone.”
Powered by an A14 Bionic chip, and with a dual-camera system capable of shooting HDR video on Dolby Vision on an Ultra-Wide camera and a new Wide camera, the 12 boasted the best video quality of any smartphone on the market at that time. Its 5G connectivity, a first for iPhones, also generated buzz with Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Greg Joswiak, calling it “the beginning of a new era for iPhone” in their release.
12. iPhone 13 – September 24, 2021
In May, DigiTimes reported that production officially started for the new iPhone’s A15 processor, which indicated that the release would not be delayed–as it was in 2020 for the launch of the iPhone 12. Sure enough, Apple introduced the iPhone 13 in September 2021, and alongside it, the lineup included the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max variations. The design looks virtually identical to the iPhone 12 models (save for some new colors), though enthusiasts were happy to see the notch was significantly smaller.
With the iPhone 13, it seems it’s what’s on the inside that counts; Apple crammed in a new processor, better cameras, better battery, and more. But, following the trend from previous releases, one major thing is not included–the charging adapter.
13. iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Pro Max
New 48-megapixel camera
Announced at Apple’s ‘Far Out’ event on September 7th, 2022, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature Apple’s new A16 Bionic chipset with purported improvements to overall performance and memory bandwidth for a better gaming experience. On top of this, the iPhone 14 Pro Max offers users the first major update to the iPhone’s notch design since the iPhone X. The new ‘Dynamic Island’ houses the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors while also acting as a notification bar.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max also has a substantial upgrade for the iPhone’s camera with a 48-megapixel primary camera, bumping up the resolution by a factor of four compared to the previous 12-megapixel standard. Both the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max come with two new features: Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via Satellite, offering users access to emergency services when they may be immobile after a car crash or when they have no cell service or Wi-Fi access.