History and availability
Operating system support
||Final supported OS
||iPhone OS 1.0
||June 29, 2007
||iPhone OS 3.1.3
||June 20, 2010
||2 years, 11 months
||iPhone OS 2.0
||July 11, 2008
||March 3, 2011
||2 years, 7 months
||iPhone OS 3.0
||June 19, 2009
||September 18, 2013
||4 years, 2 months
||June 21, 2010
||September 17, 2014
||4 years, 2 months
||October 14, 2011
||September 12, 2016
||4 years, 10 months
||September 21, 2012
||September 18, 2017
||4 years, 11 months
||September 20, 2013
||September 18, 2017
||3 years, 11 months
||September 20, 2013
||> 5 years, 4 months
|iPhone 6 / 6 Plus
||September 19, 2014
||> 4 years, 4 months
|iPhone 6S / 6S Plus
||September 25, 2015
||> 3 years, 4 months
||March 31, 2016
||> 2 years, 10 months
|iPhone 7 / 7 Plus
||September 16, 2016
||> 2 years, 4 months
|iPhone 8 / 8 Plus
||September 22, 2017
||> 1 year, 4 months
||November 3, 2017
||> 1 year, 3 months
|iPhone XS / XS Max
||September 21, 2018
||> 5 months
||October 26, 2018
||> 3 months
|| Discontinued and unsupported
|| Discontinued, but still supported
|| Current or still sold
||*24-month contract required
Development of what was to become the iPhone began in 2004, when Apple started to gather a team of 1,000 employees (including Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iMac and iPod) to work on the highly confidential "Project Purple." Apple CEO Steve Jobs steered the original focus away from a tablet (which Apple eventually revisited in the form of the iPad) towards a phone. Apple created the device during a secretive collaboration with Cingular Wireless (which became AT&T Mobility) at the time—at an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months.
According to Steve Jobs, the "i" word in "iMac" (and therefore "iPod", "iPhone" and "iPad") stands for internet, individual, instruct, inform, and inspire.
Apple rejected the "design by committee" approach that had yielded the Motorola ROKR E1, a largely unsuccessful collaboration with Motorola. Among other deficiencies, the ROKR E1's firmware limited storage to only 100 iTunes songs to avoid competing with Apple's iPod nano.
Cingular gave Apple the liberty to develop the iPhone's hardware and software in-house and even paid Apple a fraction of its monthly service revenue (until the iPhone 3G), in exchange for four years of exclusive US sales, until 2011.
Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007, at the Macworld 2007 convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The two initial models, a 4 GB model priced at US$499 and an 8 GB model at US$599 (both requiring a two-year contract), went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007, at 6:00 pm local time, while hundreds of customers lined up outside the stores nationwide. The passionate reaction to the launch of the iPhone resulted in sections of the media dubbing it the 'Jesus phone'. Following this successful release in the US, the first generation iPhone was made available in the UK, France, and Germany in November 2007, and Ireland and Austria in the spring of 2008.
Worldwide iPhone availability:
iPhone available since its original release
iPhone available since the release of iPhone 3G
On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six. Apple released the iPhone 3G in upwards of eighty countries and territories. Apple announced the iPhone 3GS on June 8, 2009, along with plans to release it later in June, July, and August, starting with the US, Canada and major European countries on June 19. Many would-be users objected to the iPhone's cost, and 40% of users had household incomes over US$100,000.
The back of the original first generation iPhone was made of aluminum with a black plastic accent. The iPhone 3G and 3GS feature a full plastic back to increase the strength of the GSM signal. The iPhone 3G was available in an 8 GB black model, or a black or white option for the 16 GB model. The iPhone 3GS was available in both colors, regardless of storage capacity.
The iPhone 4 has an aluminosilicate glass front and back with a stainless steel edge that serves as the antennas. It was at first available in black; the white version was announced, but not released until April 2011, 10 months later.
Users of the iPhone 4 reported dropped/disconnected telephone calls when holding their phones in a certain way. This became known as antennagate.
On January 11, 2011, Verizon announced during a media event that it had reached an agreement with Apple and would begin selling a CDMA iPhone 4. Verizon said it would be available for pre-order on February 3, with a release set for February 10. In February 2011, the Verizon iPhone accounted for 4.5% of all iPhone ad impressions in the US on Millennial Media's mobile ad network.
From 2007 to 2011, Apple spent $647 million on advertising for the iPhone in the US.
On Tuesday, September 27, Apple sent invitations for a press event to be held October 4, 2011, at 10:00 am at the Cupertino headquarters to announce details of the next generation iPhone, which turned out to be iPhone 4S. Over 1 million 4S models were sold in the first 24 hours after its release in October 2011. Due to large volumes of the iPhone being manufactured and its high selling price, Apple became the largest mobile handset vendor in the world by revenue, in 2011, surpassing long-time leader Nokia. American carrier C Spire Wireless announced that it would be carrying the iPhone 4S on October 19, 2011.
In January 2012, Apple reported its best quarterly earnings ever, with 53% of its revenue coming from the sale of 37 million iPhones, at an average selling price of nearly $660. The average selling price has remained fairly constant for most of the phone's lifespan, hovering between $622 and $660. The production price of the iPhone 4S was estimated by IHS iSuppli, in October 2011, to be $188, $207 and $245, for the 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models, respectively. Labor costs are estimated at between $12.50 and $30 per unit, with workers on the iPhone assembly line making $1.78 an hour.
In February 2012, ComScore reported that 12.4% of US mobile subscribers used an iPhone. Approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the US alone.
On September 12, 2012, Apple announced the iPhone 5. It has a 4-inch display, up from its predecessors' 3.5-inch screen. The device comes with the same 326 pixels per inch found in the iPhone 4 and 4S. The iPhone 5 has the SoC A6 processor, the chip is 22% smaller than the iPhone 4S' A5 and is twice as fast, doubling the graphics performance of its predecessor. The device is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S, measuring 7.6 millimetres (0.3 in), and is 20% lighter at 112 grams (4 oz).
On July 6, 2013, it was reported that Apple was in talks with Korean mobile carrier SK Telecom to release the next generation iPhone with LTE Advanced technology.
On July 22, 2013, the company's suppliers said that Apple is testing out larger screens for the iPhone and iPad. "Apple has asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than four inches and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally, they said."
On September 10, 2013, Apple unveiled two new iPhone models during a highly anticipated press event in Cupertino. The iPhone 5C, a mid-range-priced version of the handset that is designed to increase accessibility due to its price is available in five colors (green, blue, yellow, pink, and white) and is made of plastic. The iPhone 5S comes in three colors (black, white, and gold) and the home button is replaced with a fingerprint scanner (Touch ID). Both phones shipped on September 20, 2013.
On September 9, 2014, Apple revealed the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus at an event in Cupertino. Both devices had a larger screen than their predecessor, at 4.7 and 5.5 inches respectively.
In 2016, Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which added water and dust resistance, improved system and graphics performance, a new dual-camera setup on the Plus model, new color options, and featured the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone.
On September 12, 2017, Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which features a new glass design, camera improvements, a True Tone display, wireless charging and improved system performance. It also unveiled the iPhone X, which features a near bezel-less design, a facial recognition feature dubbed "Face ID" with facial tracking used for Animojis, an OLED screen with the highest pixel density on an iPhone, a new telephoto lens which works better in low light conditions, and improved cameras for AR.
On September 12, 2018, Apple officially unveiled the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR at the Steve Jobs theater at Apple Park. The XS and XS Max feature an improved Super Retina Display with Dolby Vision and HDR10 support with the XS Max featuring a larger 6.5" display, improved cameras with Smart HDR, and the A12 Bionic chip. The iPhone XS and XS Max are IP68 water, liquid, and dust resistant which allow the devices to be submerged in up to 2 meters for a duration of 30 minutes, while iPhone XR retained the IP67 certification found in the first-generation iPhone X and also features an IPS LCD display instead of the OLED displays found in the higher end models. The iPhone XS/XS Max's IP68 certifications were tested using various liquids such as chlorinated-water, salt water, tea, wine, beer, and juices. Apple also announced the fourth generation of Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 4.
Apple sold 6.1 million first generation iPhone units over five quarters. Sales in the fourth quarter of 2008 temporarily surpassed those of Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry sales of 5.2 million units, which briefly made Apple the third largest mobile phone manufacturer by revenue, after Nokia and Samsung (however, some of this income is deferred). Recorded sales grew steadily thereafter, and by the end of fiscal year 2010, a total of 73.5 million iPhones had been sold.
By 2010, the iPhone had a market share of barely 4% of all cell phones; however, Apple pulled in more than 50% of the total profit that global cellphone sales generated. Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2010, representing a 91% unit growth over the year-ago quarter, which was well ahead of IDC's latest published estimate of 64% growth for the global smartphone market in the September quarter. Apple's sales surpassed that of Research in Motion's 12.1 million BlackBerry units sold in their most recent quarter ended August 2010. In the United States market alone for the third quarter of 2010, while there were 9.1 million Android-powered smartphones shipped for 43.6% of the market, Apple iOS was the number two phone operating system with 26.2% but the 5.5 million iPhones sold made it the most popular single device.
On March 2, 2011, at the iPad 2 launch event, Apple announced that they had sold 100 million iPhones worldwide. As a result of the success of the iPhone sales volume and high selling price, headlined by the iPhone 4S, Apple became the largest mobile handset vendor in the world by revenue in 2011, surpassing long-time leader Nokia. While the Samsung Galaxy S II proved more popular than the iPhone 4S in parts of Europe, the iPhone 4S was dominant in the United States.
In January 2012, Apple reported its best quarterly earnings ever, with 53% of its revenue coming from the sale of 37 million iPhones, at an average selling price of nearly $660. The average selling price has remained fairly constant for most of the phone's lifespan, hovering between $622 and $660.
For the eight largest phone manufacturers in Q1 2012, according to Horace Dediu at Asymco, Apple and Samsung combined to take 99% of industry profits (HTC took the remaining 1%, while RIM, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia all suffered losses), with Apple earning 73 cents out of every dollar earned by the phone makers. As the industry profits grew from $5.3 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to $14.4 billion in the first quarter of 2012 (quadruple the profits in 2007), Apple had managed to increase its share of these profits. This is due to increasing carrier subsidies and the high selling prices of the iPhone, which had a negative effect on the wireless carriers (AT&T Mobility, Verizon, and Sprint) who have seen their EBITDA service margins drop as they sold an increasing number of iPhones. By the quarter ended March 31, 2012, Apple's sales from the iPhone alone (at $22.7 billion) exceeded the total of Microsoft from all of its businesses ($17.4 billion).
In the fourth quarter of 2012, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S were the best-selling handsets with sales of 27.4 million (13% of smartphones worldwide) and 17.4 million units, respectively, with the Samsung Galaxy S III in third with 15.4 million. According to Strategy Analytics' data, this was "an impressive performance, given the iPhone portfolio's premium pricing", adding that the Galaxy S III's global popularity "appears to have peaked" (the Galaxy S III was touted as an iPhone-killer by some in the press when it was released). While Samsung has led in worldwide sales of smartphones, Apple's iPhone line has still managed to top Samsung's smartphone offerings in the United States, with 21.4% share and 37.8% in that market, respectively. iOS grew 3.5% to a 37.8%, while Android slid 1.3% to fall to a 52.3% share.
The continued top popularity of the iPhone despite growing Android competition was also attributed to Apple being able to deliver iOS updates over the air, while Android updates are frequently impeded by carrier testing requirements and hardware tailoring, forcing consumers to purchase a new Android smartphone to get the latest version of that OS. However, by 2013, Apple's market share had fallen to 13.1%, due to the surging popularity of the Android offerings.
Apple announced on September 1, 2013, that its iPhone trade-in program would be implemented at all of its 250 specialty stores in the US. For the program to become available, customers must have a valid contract and must purchase a new phone, rather than simply receive credit to be used at a later date. A significant part of the program's goal is to increase the number of customers who purchase iPhones at Apple stores rather than carrier stores.
On September 20, 2013, the sales date of the iPhone 5S and 5C models, the longest ever queue was observed at the New York City flagship Apple store, in addition to prominent queues in San Francisco, US and Canada; however, locations throughout the world were identified for the anticipation of corresponding consumers. Apple also increased production of the gold-colored iPhone 5S by an additional one-third due to the particularly strong demand that emerged. Apple had decided to introduce a gold model after finding that gold was seen as a popular sign of a luxury product among Chinese customers.
Apple released its opening weekend sales results for the 5C and 5S models, showing an all-time high for the product's sales figures, with nine million handsets sold—the previous record was set in 2012, when five million handsets were sold during the opening weekend of the 5 model. This was the first time that Apple has simultaneously launched two models and the inclusion of China in the list of markets contributed to the record sales result. Apple also announced that, as of September 23, 2013 , 200 million devices were running the iOS 7 update, making it the "fastest software upgrade in history."
An Apple Store located at the Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware, US claimed the highest iPhones sales figures in November 2013. The store's high sales results are due to the absence of a sales tax in the state of Delaware.
The finalization of a deal between Apple and China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network, was announced in late December 2013. The multi-year agreement provides iPhone access to over 760 million China Mobile subscribers.
In the first quarter of 2014, Apple reported that it had sold 51 million iPhones, an all-time quarterly record, compared to 47.8 million in the year-ago quarter.
iPhone Upgrade Program
The iPhone Upgrade Program is a 24-month program designed for consumers to be able to get the latest iPhone every year, without paying the whole price up-front. The program consists of "low monthly payments", where consumers will gradually pay for the iPhone they have over a 24-month period, with an opportunity to switch (upgrade) to the new iPhone after 12 months of payment have passed. Once 12 months have passed, consumers can trade their current iPhone with a new one, and the payments are transferred from the old device to the new device, and the program "restarts" with a new 24-month period.
Additional features of the program include unlocked handsets, which means consumers are free to pick the network carrier they want, and two-year AppleCare+ protection, which includes "hardware repairs, software support, and coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage".
Criticism of the program includes the potential endless cycle of payments, with The Huffington Post's Damon Beres writing, "Complete the full 24-month payment cycle, and you're stuck with an outdated phone. Upgrade every 12 months, and you'll never stop owing Apple money for iPhones". Additionally, the program is limited to just the iPhone hardware; cell phone service from a network operator is not included.
Before the release of the iPhone, handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola were enjoying record sales of cell phones based more on fashion and brand rather than technological innovation. The smartphone market, dominated at the time by BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile devices, was a "staid, corporate-led smartphone paradigm" focused on enterprise needs. Phones at the time were designed around carrier and business limits which were conservative with regards to bandwidth usage and battery life. Phones were sold in a very large number of models, often segmented by marketing strategy, confusing customers and sapping engineering resources. For example, phones marketed at business were often deliberately stripped of cameras or the ability to play music and games. Apple's approach was to deliberately simplify its product line by offering just one model a year for all customers, while making it an expensive, high-end product.
Apple's marketing, developing from the success of iPod campaigns, allowed the phone to become a mass-market product with many buyers on launch day. Some market research has found that, unusually for a technology product, iPhone users are disproportionately female. Ars Technica noted in 2012 that Apple had avoided 'patronizing' marketing to female customers, a practice used (often to sell low-quality, high-priced products) by many of its competitors.
When then-CEO of Research in Motion Mike Lazaridis pried open an iPhone, his impression was of a Mac stuffed into a cellphone, as it used much more memory and processing power than the smartphones on the market at the time. With its capacitive touchscreen and consumer-friendly design, the iPhone fundamentally changed the mobile industry, with Steve Jobs proclaiming in 2007, that the phone was not just a communication tool but a way of life.
The dominant mobile operating systems at the time such as Symbian, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Mobile were not designed to handle additional tasks beyond communication and basic functions. These operating systems never focused on applications and developers, and due to infighting among manufacturers as well as the complexity of developing on their low-memory hardware, they never developed a thriving ecosystem like Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play. IPhone OS (renamed iOS in 2010) was designed as a robust OS with capabilities such as multitasking and graphics in order to meet future consumer demands. Many services were provided by mobile carriers, who often extensively customized devices. Meanwhile, Apple's decision to base its OS on OS X had the unexpected benefit of allowing OS X developers to rapidly expand into iOS development. Rival manufacturers have been forced to spend more on software and development costs to catch up to the iPhone. The iPhone's success has led to a decline in sales of high-end fashion phones and business-oriented smartphones such as Vertu and BlackBerry, as well as Nokia. Nokia realised the limitations of its operating system Symbian and attempted to develop a more advanced system, Maemo, without success. It ultimately agreed to a technology-sharing deal and then a takeover from Microsoft.
Prior to the iPhone, "Handsets were viewed largely as cheap, disposable lures, massively subsidized to snare subscribers and lock them into using the carriers' proprietary services." However, according to Wired, "Apple retained complete control over the design, manufacturing, and marketing of the iPhone", meaning that it and not the carrier would control the software updates, and by extension security patches. By contrast, Google has allowed carriers and OEMs to dictate the "pace of upgrades and pre-load phones with their own software on top of Android". As a result, many Android OEMs often lag months behind Google's release of the next iteration of Android; although Nexus and Pixel devices are guaranteed two years of operating system updates and a third addition year for security. However, Apple has supported older iterations of iPhones for over four years.
In December 2017, there were reports that Apple has been using a policy of slowing down the speed of its older iPhones when issuing operating system upgrades. It has spurred allegations that the firm has been using this as a tactic to prompt users of older iPhones to buy newer models.