A decade of iPhones | How Apple affected the realm of smartphones

The generation of iPhones

Apple! Probably the most influential brand name on the planet has been a major player in the premium gadgets industry, particularly the smartphone realm.

They started off from being a company which made products that “should’ve never been released” into a tech giant that everyone aspires to be. At the beginning, we saw android manufacturers trying to differentiate themselves as much as possible, away from the iPhone. Now, we see Chinese phones with exceedingly iPhoney skins and design preferences.

Just how much have Apple iPhones affected the smartphone industry as a product? In the wake of the latest iPhones, let’s take a look back at every major model of Apple’s smartphone series released till date.

1. iPhone

iPhone 1st generation

After years of speculation, Steve Jobs released the first generation of iPhone in 2007, which challenged the traditional smartphones and sported a capacitive touch display which revolutionized the industry we see today.

2. iPhone 3G/ iPhone 3GS


These iPhones were launched in 2008 and 2009 respectively and were one of the earliest phones to have a full fledged internet browser supporting 3G capability. These phones were able to load up moderate HTML based web pages, making it a trend setter in the smartphone market.

It was also Apple’s last series of glossy, plastic backed smartphones. Apple followed the same beat of smartphone designs every time. Change the design with a number increment, introduce something new with an ‘s’ variant. The same scheme reflected down the line.

3. iPhone 4


Possibly the most well-made phone of the time. This phone started the popular design trend of the metal and glass sandwich. The back was made out of OG Gorilla Glass, and the front was a regular tempered glass. The frame was made out of aluminum and honestly, the phone was way too good for its era!

Even after so many years of its launch, you can’t help but appreciate the precision with which they crafted that body. It is a true example of the statement Old but not obsolete; at least on the build quality front. It also sported the much anticipated front-facing camera, now known as the selfie camera.

4. iPhone 4S


This was the second time they used the suffix ‘s’, and the design was almost similar to that of the iPhone 4. But this time the S made more sense than ever. We entered a new era of smartphones featuring personal assistant like Siri in our devices.

Siri was one of the first context aware voice recognition engine, who could understand you at an emotional level. It could, with its advanced NLP engine at the time could make you relate to human expressions, greetings, feelings etc.

Sure, there are many voice assistants out there, including Google’s Assistant and Bixby. But without Siri, we wouldn’t have known how cool it would be to have an app to talk to!

Other than that, the top end storage variant was 64 GB! That is a great storage size, even for today. Imagine 6 years ago! This thing was a petite beast of its time. The iPhone camera also received major improvements at the time.

5. iPhone 5

A new number, and a new design!

Apple increased the screen size from 3.5 inches to 4 inches, giving space to host an extra row of app icons. iPhones were always visualized to be as ergonomic and single-handed as possible. Other than the new design, there was this new lightning port, a compact version of the original 30 pin port of its predecessors.

This was one of the first reversible ports on a smartphone, which led to the rise of USB type-C, which can be seen on most of the smartphones today!

6. iPhone 5S / iPhone 5C                                         

This was the beginning of a lot of great things. The iPhone for the first time introduced a cheap variant to the budget users featuring a plastic back in a variety of colors. Although this variant was dumped a year later since it didn’t perform well in the market.

The other phone, the iPhone 5S, came with a TouchID, which was another one of Apple’s revolutionary phone that introduced fingerprint sensors as an authentication measure. This led to everyone focusing more on biometrics to compete with them and that created a market out of it.

The iPhone 5S also had the word’s first 64 bit CPU on a smartphone, the Apple A7. It also had a dual tone LED flash module, which Apple called as TrueTone flash.

The iPhone 5S was a tough competitor for the Samsung Galaxy S5, and but it easily beat it in many ways.

7. iPhone 6/ iPhone 6 Plus


The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus made their debut with significant updates in their cameras. The display was upgraded from the previous 4-inches to a 4.7-inch display and a 5.5-inch display. 

There were speculations for the larger screen phone, but in the end, everyone liked the idea of a larger iPhone. It made many people see the advantages of a bigger phone with a better battery life. The iPhone 6 Plus was a game changer to all the large screen phone enthusiasts. It gained a lot of new fans to Apple, who thought iPhones were too small for their taste.

8. iPhone SE/ iPhone 6S/ iPhone 6S Plus


This was the first time that Apple launched 3 phones in the same year. Apple upgraded its much loved iPhone 5S with a new processor and larger RAM, and an improved rear camera. It all made sense since iPhone 5S was the last phone which used to completely fit your hand.

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus brought something new to the table: 3D touch and Live Photos!

It was one of the first pressure sensitive displays on a smartphone. Yes, I know that the Huawei Mate 8 (128 GB) had a pressure sensitive screen before the 6S, but it was nowhere near as practical and functional as its competition. The Live Photos were small bits of video, usually ranging for about 3 seconds.

There was also a minor software add-on to the front camera, called Retina flash. The screen would glow according to the background color on your viewfinder. Many other phones implemented similar functionalities, after the 6S.

9. iPhone 7/ iPhone7 plus


This was the iPhone that really caught my attention. Being an Android enthusiast, I am not the biggest fan of Apple’s redundant and slow evolving designs since the iPhone 6. But they actually surprised me, with the iPhone 7 Plus.

For the first time in three years, the Plus word stood for something. The iPhone 7 Plus had an extra gig of RAM, and dual cameras over the standard iPhone 7. 

The iPhone 7 Plus also led to the rise of an ocean of dual camera smartphones, almost all of them incorporating the same wide and a telephoto lens as on this iPhone. Great phones like the OnePlus 5 and the Note 8 would not have had the inspiration for their cameras if it weren’t for Apple and their iPhone 7 Plus.

Apart from this, we got the first water-resistant iPhones, but at the cost of a 3.5-mm headphone jack.


And finally, we are a decade past the first iPhone and are now witnessing the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus of course, their new flagship, iPhone X.

What more wonders yet to be seen from Apple in the future? Only time will tell!

Click here to read all about the newly launched iPhones.

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I am a tech nerd and a smartphone lover. Check out my blog 'dope tech fever'. Just google it!