How the iPhone evolved into the iPhone 4

The launch of a new iPhone is always a big event in the tech industry, and despite the device in reality not always being the absolute cutting edge (with some arguing Apple have been late to the game on things like multitasking and a half decent camera) an iPhone launch - like it or not - tends to have a bit of the "this is the future" about it.

Whatever the future holds for Apple's new iPhone 4, we thought it might be nice to take a look back to see how the handset has evolved since its launch in 2007 - both in its form and function.

iPhone

Screen
3.5", 320 × 480 LCD

Mass
135g

Memory
128MB RAM

CPU
Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM 1176JZ running at 620 MHz

Graphics
PowerVR  MBX  Lite 3D GPU

Storage
4, 8 & 16GB

Dimensions
115 x 61 x 11.6mm (H x W x D)


June 2007: With much anticipation, built up over months and months of speculation, the original iPhone was finally revealed to hordes of slavering fan boys. It wasn't all beer and skittles for the iPhone in the beginning as soon after the first incarnation went on sale ($499 for 4GB and $599 for 8GB) Jobs decided to stop selling the 4GB and cut the price of 8GB by $200 in September - initiating an angry response from early adopters.

Both form and function of the first iPhone were different to later incarnations as apart from the dual-tone back, there were no third-party apps to get excited about. However, with Safari as a full fat browser, iTunes, a competent touchscreen, and an incredibly easy user interface it still managed to become a mobile game changer.

iPhone 3G



Screen
3.5", 320 × 480 LCD

Mass
133g

Memory
128MB RAM

CPU
Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM 1176JZ running at 620 MHz

Graphics
PowerVR  MBX  Lite 3D GPU

Storage
8 & 16GB

Dimensions
115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm (H x W x D)


July 2008: Along with the launch of the iPhone 3G came arguably a more important launch, that of the App Store. This meant that apps from third party developers could be downloaded by iPhone users, helping the 3G to become a huge success and creating a user experience never before seen.

The phone itself sold at launch for $199 and $299 and differed in that it got the new OS 2.0 to support the App Store. Gone was the two-tone back and in its place was a smooth all plastic back tapered at the edge. Along with GPS, 3G was the big development allowing for faster browsing when no Wi-Fi was near.

iPhone 3GS

Screen
3.5", 320 × 480 LCD

Mass
135g

Memory
256MB RAM

CPU
Samsung S5PC100 ARM Cortex-A8 running at 620 MHz

Graphics
PowerVR SGX GPU

Storage
16 & 32GB

Dimensions
115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm (H x W x D)


June 2009: The 3GS was launched and, as ever, there was much anticipation. It has to be said that those who were hoping for an all new handset were going to be disappointed as it wasn't to be - the 3GS seemed to be more of an update. Notably Jobs wasn't at the launch, as the Apple founder was on a medical leave of absence. Dubbed the companies "fastest, most powerful iPhone yet", at launch the cost was $199 for the 16GB version and $299 for the 32GB version. Despite the lack of new phone feel it got improved battery life, faster processor, an upgrade in RAM - oh, and a whopping 3-megapixel camera.

iPhone 4

Screen
3.5" 960 x 640 LCD

Mass
140g

Memory
256MB RAM

CPU
Apple A4 running at 1GHz

Graphics
Apple A4

Storage
16 & 32GB

Dimensions
114 x 58.7 x 9.4mm


June 2010: Where in previous launches we were subject to huge amounts of secrecy about the specs of the device and what they would look like, the launch of the iPhone 4 couldn't have been more different. Leaked specs and spyshots were prevalent in the months leading to its release, and in the most part they were accurate. Apple's latest launch being an all singing and all dancing box of tricks (how's that for a mixed metaphor?)

With a different shape, gone are the curves, the iPhone 4 is as much of a new phone as you could hope for - everything that the 3GS launch wasn't. A 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, a VGA front-facing camera and a gyroscope are just some of the improvements, but the biggie had to be the inclusion of multitasking - something none of the previous models had been able to do.

It appears then that Apple has pretty much relied on the same formulae for the last 4 years, with the basic shape remaining the same and internal changes evolving gradually over time. However, to be fair, the iPhone 4 appears to be a break from this slow evolution as it marks a bigger leap forward than any previous device.

Some would criticise Apple for resting on its laurels and relying to a degree on fandom to sell its device, and amongst all the excitement it's sometimes difficult to separate the product from the hype - as is shown here a lot of the specs have stayed the same. However, if selling phones is the aim of the game, which it is, then Apple is clearly doing something right.

If you want to know what's new on the iPhone 4 we have a whole host of wonderful and informative content on Pocket-lint, so click through to our dedicated iPhone 4 homepage and get up to speed.



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