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Approaching iPhone 7: Evolution of Apple's flagship

A tour of how the iPhone has changed over the years, starting with the first-generation iPhone released back in 2007.

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Topic: Hardware
Evolution of the iPhone
1 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

When Apple unveiled the iPhone back in 2007, it forever changed the smartphone landscape. The current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the latest in a series of yearly evolutionary jumps, beginning with the humble first-generation iPhone.

Let's take a look at how the iPhone has changed over the years.

iPhone
2 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone

Released: June 29, 2007

Discontinued: July 15, 2008

Innovation: 3.5-inch multitouch display.

Slogan: "This is only the beginning."

Processor: Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM 1176JZ(F)-S underclocked to 412MHz

Battery: 1400mAh

Notes: 6.1 million units were sold during the first year. Back then iOS didn't exist, it was called iPhone OS. Initially released in the US alone.

iPhone 3
3 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 3

Release: July 11, 2008

Discontinued: June 7, 2010

Innovation: The Apple App Store.

Processor: Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM 1176JZ(F)-S underclocked to 412MHz

Battery: 1150mAh

Slogan: "The first phone to beat the iPhone." "Twice as fast, for half the price."

Notes: 1 million sold during the first weekend.

iPhone 3GS
4 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 3GS

Release: July 19, 2009

Discontinued: September 12, 2012

Innovation: Significant performance upgrade compared to the iPhone 3.

Processor: 32-bit ARM Cortex-A8 600MHz

Battery: 1220mAh

Slogan: "The fastest, most powerful iPhone yet."

Notes: The first of the "iPhone Xs" releases (which according to Apple stood for "speed"), which was apt given that the iPhone 3GS was twice as fast as its predecessor. Once again Apple sold 1 million sold during the first weekend. RAM increased from 128MB in the previous model to 256MB.

iPhone 4
5 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 4

Release: July 24, 2010

Discontinued: September 10, 2013

Innovation: FaceTime.

Processor: 32-bit ARM Cortex-A8 underclocked to 800MHz

Battery: 1420mAh

Slogan: "This changes everything. Again."

Notes: This was the handset responsible for the "Antennagate" furor. It was also the iPhone with the longest sales lifespan, and wasn't discontinued until September 2013. CDMA model introduced. RAM increased from 256MB in the previous model to 512MB.

iPhone 4s
6 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 4s

Release: October 14, 2011

Discontinued: September 9, 2014

Innovation: Retina display.

Processor: 32-bit dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 underclocked to 800MHz

Battery: 1430mAh

Slogan: "The most amazing iPhone yet."

Notes: This was the first iPhone to feature a dual-core processor. Over a million were sold within 24 hours of the handset being available for preorder, and over four million were sold on launch day.

iPhone 5
7 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 5

Release: September 21, 2012

Innovation: Jump in screen size from 3-5-inch to 4-inch.

Processor: Apple A6 32-bit dual-core ARMv7 A 1.3GHz

Battery: 1440mAh

Slogan: "The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone."

Notes: The iPhone 5 had the shortest lifespan of any iPhone made, with the plug being pulled after a year. Two million were sold within 24 hours of the handset being available for preorder, and over five million were sold during the first three days of availability. Also, the RAM was increased from 512MB in the previous model to 1GB.

iPhone 5s
8 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 5s

Release: September 20, 2013

Discontinued: 64GB - September 9, 2014; Gold models - September 9, 2015; Space Gray and Silver 16/32 GB models still in production

Innovation: Fingerprint sensor.

Processor: Apple A7 64-bit dual-core 1.3GHz

Battery: 1560mAh

Slogan: "Forward thinking."

Notes: According to Apple this was the first smartphone to make use a 64-bit processor.

iPhone 5c
9 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 5c

Release: September 20, 2013

Discontinued: September 9, 2015

Innovation: Apple makes a cheaper iPhone in a range of fun colors.

Processor: Apple A6 32-bit dual-core ARMv7 A 1.3GHz

Battery: 1510mAh

Slogan: "For the colorful"

Notes: The iPhone 5c was essentially an iPhone 5 in a different shell.

iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus
10 of 11 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus

Release: September 19, 2014

Innovation: Apple Pay.

Processor: Apple A8 64-bit dual-core 1.4GHz

Battery: 1810mAh (iPhone 6); 2915mAh (iPhone 6 Plus)

Slogan: "Bigger than bigger."

Notes: With the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple bumped the display from 4-inches to 4.7- and 5.5-inches

iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus
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iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus

Release: September 25, 2015

Innovation: Force-sensitive "3D Touch" display.

Processor: Apple A9 64-bit dual-core 1.85GHz

Battery: 1715mAh (iPhone 6s); 2750mAh (iPhone 6s Plus)

Slogan: "The only thing that's changed is everything."

Notes: RAM increased from 1GB in the previous model to 2GB.

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