History of the iPhone: iPhone Release Dates

With the iPhone SE 2020 or 2nd generation  being released in April 2020 we thought this would be a good time to review all the iPhone models and their release dates. Do you remember all of these phones?

iPhone Original

Release date: June 29th 2007

Slogan: Apple reinvents the phone.

Original iPhone

The first iPhone was introduced by Steve Jobs in June 2007. It was truly the first of its kind. Jobs himself described it as three devices in one – “an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator”.

This first-generation iPhone had a 3.5-inch screen with a 320 x 480-pixel resolution. The camera which was considered one of the best phone cameras in its time was only 2MP. The phone came with 8GB of storage.

Positive – Touchscreen. Great camera. Web browser. Many attributes in one device.

Not-so-positive – Third party apps were not allowed yet.

iPhone 3G

Release date: July 11th 2008

Slogans: The iPhone you’ve been waiting for, The first phone to beat the iPhone, Twice as fast, for half the price, 25,000 apps. And counting

iPhone 3G

Just the following summer – July 2008, brought in the next generation iPhone. The iPhone 3G was considered drastically different from its predecessor. 3G connectivity, lower price and third-party apps were some of the major developments.

The lower price was mainly due to the replacement of the metal back with plastic. Looks wise it was also more rounded in the back and thinner in size.

Positive – High speed internet connectivity due to 3G. Lower price. Third party apps allowed. Option of a white model.

Not-so-positive – No GPS. No 3G data. No video recorder.

iPhone 3GS

Release date: June 19th 2009

Slogan: The fastest, most powerful iPhone yet

8GB 3GS Slogan: More to love, less to pay

iPhone 3GS

The third generation iPhone – the iPhone 3GS was launched in June 2009. The “S” stood for “speed”. As far as the outer appearance is concerned, it was very similar to the iPhone 3G. The only change being the iPhone name in silver on the back of the device.

The real enhancements were the better camera with video recorder, storage options and speed. It almost felt like a better version of the iPhone 3G itself.

Positive – Better speed. Better camera. Option to increase storage. Cut, copy, paste feature in the iOS.

Not-so-positive – No major improvements over its predecessor.

iPhone 4

Release date: June 24th 2010

Slogan: This changes everything. Again

iPhone 4

June 2010, brought with it the iPhone 4. The fourth generation of this smartphone was considered a major upgrade to its previous model. The changes in the appearance included a body covered in glass and a flatter structure. It came with a 5MP camera and introduced the forward-facing camera starting the era of the “selfie”. FaceTime was introduced along with the iPhone 4 too. Some customers did experience iPhone breakages due to the glass back. The iPhone 4 and 4S utilised a MicroSIM card.

Positive – Forward-facing camera with HD video recording. FaceTime. Great looking phone.

Not-so-positive – Easily shattered due to glass back. High price.

iPhone 4s

Release date: October 14th 2011

Slogan: The most amazing iPhone yet

iPhone 4S

Launched in the October of 2011, the iPhone 4S introduced Apple’s voice assistant Siri. Other than that, this iPhone model was not greatly different from its predecessor. The changes were mainly improvements on already existing features.

Externally the iPhone 4S looked the same as the iPhone 4. It came with Apple’s new A5 processor and better graphics. It had a 8MP camera with 1080p video recording capabilities.

Positive – Siri. Better camera.

Not-so-positive – Nothing specific.

iPhone 5

Release date: September 21st 2012

Slogan: The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 was launched in September 2012. It had a 4-inch screen and a all-aluminum design. There was also a structural change in the charging port. All previous iPhones had used Apple’s 30 pin charging adaptor, with the iPhone 5 the lightning chargers were introduced. This lightning port remains in use today up to the and including the iPhone X. The iPhone 5’s major talking points however were, it’s light weight body (20% lighter than the 4s and lightest iPhone ever) and the new design of the earphones.  iPhone 5 also came with a 8 MP camera with HD FaceTime capability. As a space saving measure, the iPhone 5 and later iPhones make use of a Nano SIM card. Click here to see our Lightning chargers.

Positive – Light in weight. Big screen size. HD FaceTime.

Not-so-positive – Harder to use one-handed due to the taller screen. iOS upgrade was needed.

iPhone 5S/5C

Release date: September 20th 2013

iPhone 5S Slogan: Forward thinking

iPhone 5C Slogan: For the colorful

iPhone 5S And iPhone 5C

iPhone 5S And iPhone 5C Close Up

Exactly a year later, September 20th 2013, came the iPhone 5S and 5C launch. This time Apple attempted to make a budget iPhone with the iPhone 5C. It helped them compete with the more affordable Android phones in the market. Other than having a bigger battery and a plastic body, the iPhone 5C was a replica of the iPhone 5. It did bring in some much needed colour to the black-white-silver world of iPhones.

On the other hand, the 5S came with some major improvements. It had a better camera, fingerprint reading capability and a more powerful processor. They also offered a Gold option.

Positive – Budget friendly option with 5C. Introduced the fingerprint reading capability with 5S.

Not-so-positive – Nothing in particular.

iPhone 6/6 Plus

Release date: September 19th 2014

Slogan: Bigger than bigger

iPhone 6 And Iphone 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were unveiled together in September 2014. These iPhones had big alterations in both design and features. First the screen size went from 4 to 4.7 inches in the 6, while the 6 Plus had a 5.5 inch screen. Then the resolution was improved, image quality was flawless despite the screen size increase and lastly the iPhone structure was more ergonomically friendly. The iOS 8 was released with this launch. Apparently, these were the phones that broke the company’s records for pre-orders on the night of the launch itself!

This launch also brought in Apple Pay and a new improved 8 MP camera. Both phones included NFC chips for the Apple Pay feature. They used a new technology called “dual domain pixels” which contributes to the amazing images on the screen.

Positive – Many! Bigger screen. Ergo friendly. Apple Pay. Improved image quality.

Not-so-positive – iOS 8 had issues and bugs come up soon after the launch

iPhone 6S/6S Plus

Release date: September 25th 2015

Slogan: The only thing that’s changed is everything

Slogan: One powerful phone

iPhone 6S

September 2015 welcomed the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. As far as external features are concerned, these phones are exactly the same as their predecessors. The same screen sizes, resolutions and all metal bodies. The only change is the additional choice of colour – the pretty Rose Gold.

Internally however, the phones have a lot to be talked about. The cool new “3D Touch” feature in these iPhones lets the user choose functionality using the pressure of their fingers. For example, if a user presses hard on a topic on the screen it will bring up additional menus or open in a different window. Other than this, there is the new A9 chip, the 12 MP camera with Live Photo feature and the 7000 series aluminum bodies.

Positive – 3D Touch. Better processor. New choice of colour.

Not-so-positive – Nothing much.

iPhone SE

Release date: March 31st 2016

Slogan: A big step for small

iPhone SE

Apple made another mid-year launch with the iPhone SE in March 2016. It was marketed as a ideal choice for someone looking for a smaller sized, budget phone.

The iPhone SE had a 4-inch screen, lower cost and great battery life. All other physical features were like the iPhone 5S. Inner specifications were those of the iPhone 6S. It has a 12MP camera, iOS 9 and 64 GB storage capacity.

Positive – Budget friendly. Good battery.

Not-so-positive – Nothing worth mentioning.

iPhone 7/7 Plus

Release date: September 16th 2016

Slogan: This is 7

iPhone 7 And Iphone 7 Plus

At the yearly launch in September 2016, Apple presented the iPhones 7 and 7 Plus. A noteworthy feature of these phones is the outstanding camera with telephoto lens that gives the phones the capacity to take 2x zoom photos without any compromises in quality. Both these phones are waterproof, which is definitely a great quality to have. Additional changes include the new lightening connector for the headphones in place of the headphone jack and no more “home” buttons.

The 7 Plus comes with two rear cameras to aide taking great quality portrait photos.

Positive – Greatly improved camera. Waterproof.

Not-so-positive – Some customers are unhappy with the design of the new headphones.

iPhone 8/8Plus

Release date: September 22nd 2017

Slogan: A new generation of iPhone

iPhone 8 And Iphone 8 Plus

In September 2017, Apple skipped the iPhone 7S/7S Plus and launched the iPhone 8/8 Plus models instead.

The showstopper of this launch was – Wireless Charging capability! Other improvements include a 12 MP camera with dual snapper on the rear of the phones and a A11 Bionic processor.

Positive – Wireless charging capability.

Not-so-positive – No big deal breakers here – but, the phones look very similar to the 7/7 Plus models and the resolution of the screen is the same.

Click here to view our wireless chargers.

iPhone X

Release date: November 3rd 2017

Slogan: Say hello to the future

iPhone X

Shortly after the iPhone 8/8 Plus models, was the launch of the iPhone X. Popularly known as the “most important iPhone ever launched”, the iPhone X launch on 3 November 2017. The name is pronounced as iPhone “Ten” not the letter “X” the “X” being number 10 in Roman numerals. The iPhone X celebrates the iPhone’s tenth anniversary.

There are significant changes in the physical appearance of the iPhone with the iPhone X. The 5.8-inch screen with Super Retina HD display is just the start of it. There is no “Home” button on this phone and the swipe up gesture from the bottom of the screen is used in place of it. No more fingerprint scanning either. Face ID using the facial recognition technique is used for identification. This iPhone introduces OLED display in iPhones. Last but definitely not the least – this is the most expensive iPhone ever.

Positive – Bigger screen. OLED display. Facial recognition.

Not-so-positive – Expensive.

iPhone XS/XS Max

Release date: September 21, 2018

Slogan: Welcome to the big screens

iPhone XS

Releasing less than a year after the iPhone X, the iPhone XS and XS Max is the continuation of that line of phone. Sitting at the same price the original iPhone X launched at for 64 GB of memory, the XS is still a very expensive phone. The XS has a 5.8” Super Retina HD display, while the XS Max sits at 6.5”. There are no other differences between the two phones.

The iPhone XS/XS Max boasts having the most accurate color display in the phone industry. The OLED screen also features High Dynamic Range and the most durable screen in any iPhone yet. The stainless steel now also has a gold variant added on to the normal Apple silver and black and is more resistant to water and dust.

This is the most powerful iPhone yet. The iPhone XS/XS Max have 4 GB of RAM and the A12 Bionic chipset that Apple was talking up during its announcement is no joke. That chipset makes the iPhone XS the definitive way to witness augmented reality capabilities on a phone. The Neural Engine makes the iPhone XS the fastest phone on the market, while also learning what the user wants. It is an 8-core system that speeds all processing up, while also having efficiency cores available for power usage savings.

The camera has also been updated, although it might be difficult to see firsthand. The pixels have been enlarged to allow a greater sensitivity to light for better low-light photography. The camera also has double the speed sensors over the original iPhone X. This allows it to have Smart HDR, and portrait mode allows you to control the amount of depth to your photos. Video recording has extended dynamic range for up to 30 fps.

Face ID and wireless charging have returned from the original iPhone X and the phone is now resistant to up to 2 meters of water, as compared to the 1 meter for the original. The storage size has been extended as well, coming available at 64 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB. While still not a top of the line battery, the iPhone XS/XS Max do outlive the iPhone X, lasting up to a half hour longer.

While the iPhone XS/XS Mas are mostly standard improvements upon a phone from a year ago, they have now taken the place of their older brother. The iPhone X has been discontinued.

Positive: Most powerful iPhone yet, faster, more durable

Not-so-positive: Very expensive, With the original iPhone X being discontinued so soon, these are now your only choice for a top of the line iPhone, no headset adapter for 3.5 mm jack fans included

iPhone XR

Release date: October 26, 2018

Slogan: Brilliant. In every way

iPhone XR

The iPhone XR is the “cheap” version of the iPhone X line. If you consider $750 cheap compared to the $1,000 start for the XS. While it may be considered a downgrade when compared to the XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR is still a very capable phone.

The iPhone XR is powered by the A12 Bionic chipset and the next generation Neural Engine that also resides in the XS and XS Max. This allows the XR to be a very fast processing phone, while only having 3 GB of RAM compared to the 4 in the XS. It has a 6.1” Liquid Retina HD display and supports Face ID and wireless charging. With 64GB, 128GB or 256GB storage options, there is a little more manageable decisions to be made for your storage. With the XS, you either have 64 GB, which may be too little, 256 GB which may be too much, or 512 GB which can seem astronomical for a phone. The choice for 128 GB is a good middle ground.

To cut cost on this phone, the iPhone XR has the only one camera when compared to the dual system in the XS. While it still gives a good picture, when compared to the XS it cannot zoom in as close and controlling the amount of depth in the background is handled differently than with the XS. The iPhone XR uses its single-lens camera and Neural Engine to keep people in the foreground in sharp focus against a blurred background. The XR can give incredible detail and brightness in its photos, but the XS and XS Max are just on another level having the extra camera sensor.

Like the other iPhone X models, the XR has 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps and 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps. Smart HDR is present as in the XS models, which allows it to capture better darks and lights in its video.

The Liquid Retina display is an LCD screen that is supposed to feel as close to an OLED screen as LCD can get. The entire front is all screen just like the X and XS, but a little larger. It is also the most durable LCD screen ever with the added benefit of being water and dust resistant. While the screen is not capable of handling HDR, it is still a crisp picture. Just do not compared the picture with the XS.

The phone also comes in multiple colors. As opposed to the gold, silver, and black for the XS, the XR comes in blue, white, black, yellow, coral, and red. iOS 12 is still the operating system used in the iPhone XR allowing for some cool augmented reality experiences. Popular AR experiences like Memoji work great on the phone, allowing you to put cartoonish faces on yourself while in a Facetime call.

The iPhone XR’s battery is where it is going to sell itself for a lot of people. Compared to the iPhone 8 Plus, the XR can last an hour and a half longer. Compared to the XS, it can handle talk time and audio playback five hours longer and internet use three hours longer.

While still an expensive phone, the iPhone XR is a great alternative for people who do not need the absolute top of the line phone when it comes to camera and display. It still has a great, durable screen and a very good battery for ¼ of the price for the iPhone XS.

Positive: Great battery, very durable, multiple color choices

Not-so-positive: Still an expensive phone, when compared with the XS not as powerful both display and camera-wise

iPhone 11

Release date: September 20, 2019

Slogan: Just the right amount of everything

iPhone 11

Apple announced on the 10th September (USA time) their 2019 range of iPhones. Preorders for these devices commencing on 13th September 2019 and a launch date of 20th September 2019. It was widely thought that Apple would move to USB-C charging (especially after the 2018 iPad Pros making use of the USB Type C connector) Apple has stayed with their Lightning charging connectors.

The iPhone 11 was inspired by the XR to be a “cheaper” iPhone that adds more power and uses than other phones. The new iPhone come in six different colors: Purple, White, Yellow, Green, Black and Product Red. Once again, no 3.5 mm jack will be in the devices. Like the iPhone XR that the 11 base model is supposed to be a reference to, it has a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display. Apple is touting the iPhone 11 to have the “toughest glass in a smartphone” and water resistant up to 2 meters for up to a half hour. The base model will have 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB storage.

iPhone 11 Pro And iPhone 11 Pro Max

Release date: September 20, 2019

iPhone 11 Pro Slogan: Just the right amount of everything

iPhone 11 Pro Max logan: The Most Advanced iPhone Yet

iPhone 11 Pro And iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8 inch Super Retina XDR display with the Pro Max at 6.5 inch put together in a textured matte glass and stainless-steel design. It has 458 pixels per inch and puts out better dark colors than iPhones in the past have done. The Pro’s battery will last four hours longer than the iPhone XS and the Pro Max will last five hours longer than the XS Max. Both phones come with a 18W faster adapter. It is water resistant up to 4 meters for a half hour. Both the Pro and Pro Max come in Gold, Silver, Space Grey, and Midnight Green.

The iPhone 11 (and its Pro brothers) will have the newest Apple processor: the A13 Bionic. According to Apple it will use power in a more efficient way to save battery life, allowing 17 hours of uninterrupted video playback. Apple says it has the fastest CPU and GPU in any smartphone.

For the base model, the camera has received a big update from the iPhone XR. For the first time on the “cheaper” model, the camera has a dual lens sensor. A 12MP wide camera with a 26mm lens is accompanied by another 12MP ultra-wide camera with 120 degrees field of view. On the video side of things, the camera records at 4K resolution, 60 fps. According to Apple, if you zoom in while recording the audio will zoom in as well, focusing on the subject making the noise. The 2MP TrueDepth selfie camera will also have 4K resolution for the first time.

As for the 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the big draw to jump from the base iPhone 11 to the Pro is the triple camera set-up. Triple 12MP Ultra-Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras all with Night mode are equipped here. The telephoto lens gets you the best zoom-in while the ultra-wide lens gives you 4x the area of the telephoto lens. That telephoto lens also gives the phone 40% more light capture.

The A13 Bionic set processes video in real-time and shoots in 4K, 60 fps like the base model. The Pro model however will let you edit videos like you edit photos. You can rotate, crop, auto-enhance, add filters, and more to your shoots.

Smart HDR brings out more colors in your photos and videos. The camera in the iPhone 11 Pro will show more realistic skin tones and will automatically capture detail between the subject and the background.

Night Mode has been introduced to all versions of the iPhone 11. Without the use of flash, the A13 Bionic chip allows videos and photos in dark areas to appear lighter on the phone with better colors.

Positive: Better battery, base model cheaper than the XR, very durable

Not-so-positive: Still expensive phones when you get the Pro or Pro Max

iPhone SE 2020

Release date: April 24, 2020

iPhone SE Slogan: Lots to love. Less to spend

The iPhone SE 2020 aka iPhone SE or iPhone SE (2nd generation), is the first SE model of iPhone since 2016, being the most budget friendly device Apple has announced in years. Releasing on April 24th, 2020, the phone starts out at $749 in Australia, a very fair price considering the SE 2020 has the same A13 Bionic processor that runs the iPhone 11 Pro, the fastest chip yet in a smartphone. With the A13 Bionic inside, the SE 2020 is guaranteed to be supported for at least three years.

The phone has a 4.7-inch Retina HD screen with 1,334×750 resolution and 326 ppi density. It comes available in red, black, or white, and storage-wise starts out at 64 GB, but is also available with 128 or 256 GB.

The iPhone SE 2020 has a 12-megapixel camera on the back and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera, that when combined with the processor is best at taking portrait photos. It will focus on the subject of the shot while blurring the background, no matter which side you are shooting with. You can control how much the background is blurred both before and after you take the picture. You also will have access to six lighting effects, Studio Light, Natural Light, Contour Light, Stage Light Mono, Stage Light, and High-Key Light Mono.

Smart HDR makes its way over from the most recent iPhone releases, bringing out more colors in your photos and videos with 4K resolutions. It also relights photos to capture more natural looking contours and skin tones, finessing highlights and shadow detail in the background.

Other features that make their way to the iPhone SE 2020 are Touch ID, QuickTake, water resistance up to 1 metre for 30 minutes, and a battery that supports up to 13 hours of video on a single charge, with fast charge capabilities.

Positives: A13 Bionic makes its way over, cheaper price (for Apple products)

Not-so-positives: Not as impressive of a camera or battery as recent phones, no expandable storage

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