Apple is unveiling the iPhone 15 on September 12th, 2023. While the new model may not have many new features, it marks a major milestone – the switch from Lightning to USB-C ports. This will make the iPhone compatible with the universal charging standard shared by Android phones for the first time.
Let’s take a look back at the key moments in iPhone history leading up to this launch. These iconic models paved the way for the iPhone 15.
iPhone 3G: The App Store Arrives
The original iPhone in 2007 was a landmark device, but the iPhone 3G truly brought smartphones into the mainstream. Released in 2008, it was the first iPhone sold in France.
More importantly, iPhone OS 2 introduced the App Store. This let millions of developers create their own apps, kickstarting the app economy. The 3G model also brought faster cellular data speeds. In France, the 8GB version launched at €509.
iPhone 4: Premium Design and Front Cameras
The iPhone 4 made a design statement, replacing plastic with glass and metal. Steve Jobs unveiled the luxurious new look before passing later that year. Prices increased substantially, with the 16GB iPhone 4 starting at €629 in France.
Another major addition was the front-facing “selfie” camera, allowing users to take photos of themselves for the first time. The iPhone 4 was also the last model to launch in June. From the iPhone 5 onward, September keynotes became the norm.
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus: Bigger Screens Arrive
By 2014, the smartphone market was moving toward larger screens. Apple embraced this trend, releasing the 4.7″ iPhone 6 and 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus. This marked their first phablet-sized phone.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus introduced one of Apple’s most iconic and enduring designs. The look lives on in the budget iPhone SE nearly 10 years later. The 6 Plus also kicked off a multi-year trend of ever-increasing screen sizes.
iPhone X: A Vision of the Future
The iPhone X remains one of the most important iPhones for design. Unveiled in 2017, it ditched the home button and adopted an edge-to-edge display with a notch. Face ID replaced Touch ID, and the luxurious stainless steel and glass form factor looked unlike any prior iPhone.
It also featured an OLED display for the first time on an iPhone, greatly improving image quality. Wireless charging debuted on the iPhone X as well. It came at a hefty price – €1,159 for 64GB of storage. But it gave customers a glimpse into Apple’s vision for the next decade of iPhones.
What Made These iPhones So Groundbreaking?
- iPhone 3G: Brought the App Store, faster 3G data speeds, and greater accessibility
- iPhone 4: Established premium glass-and-metal design, introduced front camera
- iPhone 6 & 6 Plus: Marked the transition to larger screen sizes
- iPhone X: Radical bezel-less design, Face ID, OLED display
These iconic models transformed capabilities, design, and user experiences. They paved the way for important developments like Face ID, Animoji, augmented reality, computational photography, and more.
The iPhone 15 inherits the legacy of innovation set into motion by these revolutionary devices. While the changes may seem subtle year to year, Apple has established a clear trajectory towards an increasingly powerful, personalized, and intelligent smartphone experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the first iPhone with a front-facing camera?
The iPhone 4, released in 2010, was the first iPhone model to feature a front-facing “selfie” camera.
When did Apple switch to releasing new iPhones in September instead of June?
September keynotes began with the iPhone 5 in 2012. The iPhone 4 in June 2010 was the last model to launch in the summer.
What was the first iPhone with an OLED display?
The iPhone X, released in 2017, was the first iPhone with an OLED display. This allowed a bezel-less, edge-to-edge design.
How much did the cheapest iPhone 3G model cost at launch?
The 8GB iPhone 3G sold for €509 when it launched in France in 2008. The 16GB version was €619.
What’s unique about the design of the iPhone 6 & 6 Plus?
These models marked Apple’s transition to larger 4.7″ and 5.5″ screen sizes in 2014. Their design language still influences Apple’s budget iPhone SE models today.