Tech Family Tree: The iPhone

Summary: The iPhone launched in 2007, and the mobile phone market was never the same again. Explore the technological heritage of Apple's smartphone via our interactive timeline — now updated with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iOS 8.


Tech Family Tree: The iPhone

The iPhone launched in 2007, and the mobile phone market was never the same again. Explore the technological heritage of Apple's iconic smartphone via our interactive timeline.


Topics: iPhone, Apple, Reviews, Smartphones

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  • Very lame that it lists no MSFT products at all; how could that be? That they mentioned the Apple Lisa but not MS-DOS or WinMo. Very biased.
    • Because MSDOS and WinMo had NOTHING to do with the iPhone heritage.

  • Well, the trouble with most Microsoft products is that they are very rarely the first of anything and they rarely influence anything, except where they define an ecosystem.

    People don't take Microsoft innovations and build on them that much, unless they have to. As Microsoft has made little impact on mobile tech, there's little of that company's DNA in there. Lisa was the first affordable GUI-based device, for example, and without GUIs there'd be no smartphone. MS-DOS wasn't the first anything - it was a CP/M derivative - and there's no trace of it in smartphones.

    Which Microsoft technology or product do you think led to a feature on current smartphones?
  • mmmm I concur with David Cristofaro.
    There's little mention of all the other products that must have steered Apple. Notably the many MP3 players available before the iPod, computers and mobile phones too. Indeed I had a phone years ago that could do 3G video calls - no wifi required! Oh and I could share stuff via Bluetooth, like photos with other mobiles of different makes!

    I had an Archos capable of colour screen, video recording and playback, when the iPod still had B&W screen and no video! Oh and you could use it to backup from Smart Media and Compact Flash on the move (handy for photographers).

    I refuse to believe that other products didn't spark of the innovative improvements.

    The one thing Apple get right way above the rest is their marketing and branding - it's impeccable - luring folks in and brainwashing them into the fold.

    Just remember - other devices are available, what ever company your allegiance lies with.
  • Again, there isn't enough space to trace the development of an idea through lots of products into the iPhone. As far as I know, you still can't do video recording on any Apple iOS product, so in that respect the Archos isn't an antecedent anyway. The major intention behind the TFT was to identify the start of the ideas that led into smartphones, not necessarily their subsequent development, although with core aspects such as the wireless standards we thought there was a good case to cover that in some detail.

    So in the case of the Simon - that wasn't just a smartphone with a touchscreen, it was the first such. Of all the many hundreds (thousands?) that have come since, it is very difficult to say what influenced what, and if we'd tried the result would have been massively unwieldy and largely incomprehensible.
    • Um, what?!?

      "As far as I know, you still can't do video recording on any Apple iOS product"
      That bit of nonsense and the complete ignorance of the iOS line it evinces, invalidates the rest of your point.
  • Not only does this timeline skip products that influenced the Apple tech (like other MP3 players, colour video players, MANY other phones), but it completely ignores the Apple "mistakes"

    No mention at all of the Apple Newton, which COMPLETELY FAILED in the market-place, because it wasn't "ready" as a product, or the market wasn't ready for an under-developed product that didn't work very well

    The iPhone certainly wasn't the first phone that allowed browsing, it wasn't the first touch screen phone - the IBM Simon pre-dates it by about 15 years!!!

    Apple isn't all shiny and bright in it's past, and it has certainly copied ideas from other people, yet this timeline makes it look like Apple made everything good in the history of phones :-P
    • What are you talking about?!?

      First, the NEwton did not fail. How about you research items to get your facts straight before you type instead of just regurgitating internet memes with NO foundation in reality, huh? Newton actually did quite well, turned a profit, and was only cut because when Jobs returned, he wanted to concentrate on the iMac.
      The rest falls apart from there.
  • The IBM Simon is in there, so I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say, Mr Fill.

    Also, this is a family tree of the iPhone - which is to say, it's standing in for smartphones as a whole. It's not a family tree of Apple products. If we included everything that failed along the way towards the modern smartphone, Apple or no, we'd need a sheet twenty yards square. Likewise, if we included everything that was successful. What this is isn't a comprehensive encyclopedia of mobile technology, because you can't do that on a poster.

    I hope this timeline shows not just that Apple used concepts from outside, but how many it used and where they came from - how the modern smartphone came to be. That's the entire point of this particular exercise. If you have specific technologies or products in mind that did influence the modern smartphone and aren't in the timeline or on the poster, please let us know - but ones that didn't influence things because they weren't successful, or others that had no unique features, won't make the cut.
  • @MrFill
    Scroll to 1993 in the timeline and you'll find an entry on Apple's MessagePad 100 — the first Newton device
    Charles McLellan
  • Re:Tech Family Tree: The iPhone


    It May be old Post , i read this , it Gives Nice information family tree of iPhone
  • LG Prada

    First shown publicly 6 months before the IPhone:

    Which was more pivotal: the one that was actually first, or the one with the biggest PR machine?
    • And the iPhone was under development first

      and in addition, actually did things, unlike the Prada. Which is why the Prada failed, not only to create a new category, but even to sell on its own.
      And they are al predated by the iPad anyway, which began development BEFORE the iPhone.
      • Re: And the iPhone was under development first

        Says who?
  • Says the people working on the original iPad project