How Apple Changed the World of Smartphones One Update at a Time

It's been ten years since Apple (AAPL - Get Report) founder Steve Jobs got on stage at the Macworld event in San Francisco on Jan. 9, 2007 to unveil the original iPhone.

Since then the company's valuation has soared mainly on the back of its flagship device and on Monday, the 10th anniversary of the device's unveiling, the company hit a fresh 52-week high. Call it iPhone hype with no actual iPhone.

But when Jobs touted the iPhone in 2007 as "revolutionary mobile phone" and a "breakthrough internet communications device" its hard to image he could have predicted just how much the iPhone would changed the way we live, play and interact with others--let alone catch Pokemon or do our taxes. 

Since the release of the original iPhone, there have been 11 generations of the iPhone, each equipped with new and engaging features (both software and software) amid slight tweaks to the overall look of the phone. 

In upgrades to both software and hardware the company has launched and made common place features like Touch ID, the front-facing camera, geotagging, the App store and Apple. It's set industry standards for smartphone-making competitors like Samsung, Alphabet's (GOOGL - Get Report) Google, Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and other phone-makers who have tried, albeit relatively unsuccessfully, to offer lower price options to capture market share.

On the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement that "the best is yet to come" depicting a future for the Cupertino, Calif., company to continue to dominate the collective psyche when it comes to smaartphone.

What better time to take a look at the history of the iPhone and the many times its helped us upgrade our lives either personally, financially or just as another means for entertainment. So, here we are to take a look back at the iPhone through its first decade of existence.

Shares of Apple, a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, hit a new 52-week high on Monday, after Morgan Stanley named the company as its "Top Hardware Pick for 2017." Shares topped out at $119.43 Monday settling to a close of $118.99 per share, up about a percent on the day.

The Original iPhone (iPhone 2G) -- 2007
The Original iPhone (iPhone 2G) -- 2007

The original iPhone, still for sale on eBay  (EBAY - Get Report) today, was announced on Jan. 9, 2007 after years of rumors and conjectures. The newly-unveiled iPhone immediately grabbed the attention of consumers and industry insiders. Up until this point, most phones had a physical keyboard exemplified by BlackBerry (BBRY) or a stylus, but the iPhone distinguished itself with the introduction of a multi-touch screen.

The iPhone was officially released on June 29, 2007 in New York and selected locations in the United States where thousands of people have camped outside Apple and AT&T (T - Get Report) retail stores days before the sale.

Besides the multi-screen touch, the original iPhone had an operating system called iPhone OS 1, marketed as OS X, and included Visual Voicemail, HTML email, Safari web browser, threaded text messaging, and YouTube.

Time Magazine believed it to be the phone that has changed phones forever, crowning it the "Invention of the Year" for 2007.

iPhone 3G -- 2008
iPhone 3G -- 2008

The successor to the original iPhone and the second generation of its kind, iPhone 3G was introduced on June 9, 2008 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Released officially into the market a month later, the new iPhone had two storage options, 8GB and 16GB, plus new hardware features like GPS and 3G data in concurrent with software features such as a new operating system: iPhone OS 2.0., the App Store, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support, Apple's MobileMe service, and push email support.

The launch of the App store, in particular, has not only led Apple to reap record-breaking profits from mobile app downloads but also driven the success of some of the most successful mobile app-based startups such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Snapchat and Angry Birds.

Since the App Store launched in 2008, developers have earned over $60 billion. In 2016 alone, developers earned over $20 billion, up over 40 percent from 2015, according to a statement from Apple.

iPhone 4 -- 2010
iPhone 4 -- 2010

First unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 7, 2010, iPhone 4 was touted by Apple's then CEO Steve Jobs as "the thinnest smartphone in the world at the time."

When it was officially released just a few weeks later, there were over 600,000 pre-orders within the first 24 hours, the largest number of pre-orders Apple had received up until then.

iPhone 4 also introduced Apple's new high-resolution "Retina Display," referring to devices and monitors that have a resolution and pixel density so high that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance.

Along with iPhone4 also came iOS 4, which added the Facetime video chat functionality. The iPhone 4 was also the first iPhone to include a front-facing camera.

The iPhone 4 is said to have the longest life span among any of Apple's flagship iPhone models, lasting for almost four years before it was succeeded by iPhone 4S.

iPhone 4s -- 2011
iPhone 4s -- 2011

The announcement of iPhone 4s on October 4, 2011 was also accompanied by the sad news of the death of former Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs on the following day.

The iPhone 4S, where "S" stood for Siri, ushered in the age of virtual intelligent assistant for smartphones. The "humble personal assistant" Siri allows iPhone 4s users to control phone functions through voice commands and even answers questions.

Externally similar to the iPhone 4, the 4s hosted major internal upgrades such as an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording and a faster processor. The newly launched iOS 5 also introduced features including iCloud, iMessage, Notification Center, Reminders, and Twitter integration.

iPhone 5 / 5C/ 5S -- 2013
iPhone 5 / 5C/ 5S -- 2013

The 6th generation of iPhone is also the first generation under the leadership of new CEO Tim Cook after the death of Steve Jobs.

The iPhone 5 featured underwent significant design changes, including an aluminum-based body that made the iPhone 5 thinner and lighter, a new compact dock connector and a taller screen.

While initial demand for the iPhone 5 was extremely high, miscellaneous hardware issues and the phone's prone-to-chipping coatings and other flaws led the iPhone 5 to be officially discontinued by Apple on Sept. 10, 2013, merely 12 months after its official launch.

The short-lived iPhone 5 was replaced by its successors, the iPhone 5S and its low-cost counterpart iPhone 5C, ten days later at Apple's Cupertino headquarters. The 5S received a new white or gold color scheme, a redesigned home button with Touch ID, a fingerprint recognition system which can be used to unlock the phone and authenticate App Store and iTunes Store purchases.

The iPhone 5C has similar hardware specifications but a hard-coated polycarbonate shell instead of the aluminium of the original iPhone 5. It comes in a variety of colors including blue, green, yellow, pink and white with a different coating finish.

iPhone 6/ 6 Plus -- 2014
iPhone 6/ 6 Plus -- 2014

Both released on Sept. 19, 2014, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both received improvements like larger displays, a faster processor and upgraded cameras. Pre-orders of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded four million within the first 24 hours while 10 million were sold out in the first three days.

Despite their popularity, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus found themselves at the center of several hardware issues, the most serious of which being "Bendgate" and "Touch Disease." Reports of the phone being susceptible to bend under pressure were prominent while the phenomenon of the touchscreen internal hardware being susceptible to losing its connection to the phone's logic board was nicknamed by users as "Touch Disease."

iPhone 6S / 6S Plus and SE -- 2015
iPhone 6S / 6S Plus and SE -- 2015

The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus went on sale on Sept. 25, 2015. With similar design to the 6 series, the 6s and 6 plus enjoy updated hardware such as a strengthened chassis and upgraded system-on-chip, a 12-megapixel camera, improved fingerprint recognition sensor, and LTE Advanced support. The iPhone 6S, in particular, received a new "3D Touch" feature which allows pressure-sensitive touch inputs.

Although Apple sold out a record-breaking 13 million models during the iPhone 6S' launch weekend, iPhone 6S and 6S plus saw the first decline in iPhone sales as the smartphone market becomes ever more saturated across the globe.

Serving as a better-designed phone with longer battery life replacement for the iPhone 5s, the iPhone SE receives selected hardware upgrades from the larger iPhone 6S model such as its updated processor, rear camera, and support for iOS 9 software features such as Apple Pay, always-on Siri activation, and Live Photos.

iPhone 7/ 7 Plus -- 2016
iPhone 7/ 7 Plus -- 2016

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the current flagship devices. With generally similar design to the iPhone 6S, the 7 series differentiate themselves from previous models with the removal of the headphone jack, an update that has caused negative reviews.

Another feature that's said to have set the 7 series apart is the dual rear camera on the Plus model but consumers also complained that iPhone 7 did not make significant changes to the display or build quality compared to the 6 series.

iPhone 8 -- 2017
iPhone 8 -- 2017

Although recent news regarding Apple cutting back on the production of iPhone 7 have shaken some investors' confidence in the prospect of the company given the significant role iPhone sales play in the overall revenue of Apple, rumors about the new iPhone 8 ,set to be released later this year, have swirled. 

From the most widely speculated feature, a larger, bezel-less screen with an organic LED (OLED) display, to a wireless charging function that could be manufactured by companies such as Energous (WATT - Get Report) , Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) or Broadcom (AVGO - Get Report) , there are a number of new features expected with Apple's coming release. The new iPhone could also come with facial recognition or retinal scanning as well as features for enhanced augmented reality. 

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