Celebrating 10 years of iPhone innovation

Today the iPhone turned 10.

10 years ago today Apple released its first iPhone in US stores. To join Apple in celebrating the birth of their best-selling brainchild, we’re comparing the iPhone 1 with their latest release, the iPhone 7.

Okay, so as far as head-to-heads go this one’s clearly unfair. Much like putting a cat in a cage with a lion. But it’s super interesting to see what a long way the iPhone has come in a relatively short space of time.

Comparing the first ever iPhone with the iPhone 7.

Camera

The iPhone 1 had a 2 megapixel camera, which (believe it or not) made it one of the best phone cameras at the time. There was no video recording on the original iPhone, although third-party apps later emerged to enable this.

Now its older cousin, the iPhone 7, has a 12-megapixel camera that stabilises movement to improve image quality. The phone can do all those extra tricks we’ve come to expect from smartphones today, such as slo-mo and time-lapse video recording.

User-friendliness

With the iPhone 1, Apple wowed phone users by rejecting the physical keyboard and stylus we’d come to expect from Blackberry and Motorola phones. Instead, Apple moved to a more tactile approach by presenting us with a touchscreen. The move let phone users move from a text, to a call, to a game at a swipe of a finger.

The idea was a good one, and we interact with newly released iPhones in the same way. Of course, the iPhone 7 has added features. For example, a fingerprint scanner and the voice-activated assistant, Siri. However, the use of multi-touch screens links back to Apple’s original device.

Phone apps

At launch, the iPhone 1 didn’t support third-party apps. It wasn’t until Apple’s App Store opened the following year that iPhone users got access to new applications. Even then, the App Store hosted just 500 apps when it opened, in comparison to the hundreds of thousands available today.

Design

Apple’s first generation iPhone measured in at 4.5” x 2.4”. It makes it a wider rectangle than we’re now used to (although slimmer than its 2007 rival, the BlackBerry). As with newer models of the iPhone, the original had curved edges and volume buttons along the edge of the phone.

The main differences between the iPhone 1 and newer models like the 7 include a narrower bezel and the range of colours available. Apart from this, the original tried and tested design remains.

The ever-changing iPhone experience

Of course, our iPhone experience has come on in ways not covered by these categories. The display is far higher, with the iPhone 7 sporting a retina display that transforms the way we view videos and games. While additions here and there, such as FaceTime and voice search, have enriched the way we use iPhones.

That said, much of the design and interactivity of today’s iPhone has roots in the first-generation model. The design, touchscreen and move to a phone built on apps were all elements of the original.

Now, it’s hard to recall the hype that built up around the first edition iPhone. When you consider how much of its setup has carried forward to today, the excitement for once seems justified.