Five long years ago, Steve Jobs stood on stage at Macworld and changed the world. It seems as if the iPhone has existed much longer than that, though. Now that damn-near all phones are variations on a theme, it’s hard to believe that we were dealing with the awful Treo, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry phones not so long ago.
When the iPhone first launched, it was only available in the United States on one carrier: AT&T (recently renamed from Cingular). It only supported EDGE and 802.11 a/b/g. Most importantly, it didn’t support third party apps. What Apple gave you was what you could use. Despite all of these limitations, the original iPhone was, hands down, the best phone on the market by a long shot.
In July of 2008, we saw the iPhone 3G launch along with the App Store. In came 3G data and GPS support, but the metal back was replaced with plastic. The iPhone 3G was a welcome advancement, but the App Store was the real news. Even today, Apple’s competition is scrambling to attain a fraction of the quality and quantity of apps in the App Store.
In June of 2009, the iPhone 3GS hit the market. It was the first time the CPU, GPU, and RAM all got increased. Also worth noting is that the camera’s sensor was improved, and the ability to record video was introduced. It’s completely head-rattling to think how new these features are — features that we now take for granted.
Now comes June of 2010, and the iPhone 4 makes a huge leap ahead. The Retina display makes its debut, and the power of the A4 chip was shown off as well. A substantially better camera with 720p video, a front facing camera, twice the RAM, and the beautiful new industrial design made the iPhone 4 irresistible. Lucky for CDMA fans, the Verizon iPhone 4 came in February of 2011 and broke AT&T’s death grip on the iPhone in the US market.
Most recently, the iPhone 4S came into being in October of 2011. While keeping the glass-backed design of the iPhone 4, it received quite an update under the hood. It now sports the dual-core A5 chip, and a much better camera with 1080p video support. However, the feature that got the most attention is the inclusion of Apple’s digital assistant: Siri.
That takes us to the present. It’s been an incredible ride the past five years, and I can still remember the incredible excitement I felt as I watched the iPhone being unveiled to the world. It’s a memory I won’t soon forget. Happy birthday, iPhone. You’ve made the world a better place.
Image Credit: Marvin Kuo