This week marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a look back at how the hardware in Apple’s iconic smartphone has changed and evolved over time?
We’ve gone back and tabulated the specs on all 10 generations of iPhones (plus a couple of spinoffs) for your viewing pleasure. Obviously, the modern iPhone 7 and 7 Plus win out across the board when it comes to almost any metric, but this is less of a competition and more a retrospective — one that highlights what’s become one of the key components of Apple’s success.
The fact of the matter is that none of the iPhone models have ever been the best smartphone when it comes to pure hardware. And even looking at raw numbers, it’s oftentimes hard to pinpoint differences between successive generations. Apple’s strength has always depended on the company’s ability to optimize its hardware and software together for incredible performance. This allows each iPhone version to keep up with — if not surpass — their contemporaries, despite lacking the base firepower of competitors on paper.
It’s hard to say for sure what the next 10 years of iPhones will bring, but if the incredible gap in hardware from the original iPhone and the iPhone 7 is anything to go by, the iPhone of 2027 could be surprisingly similar and yet dramatically more capable.
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iPhone Specification Comparison
|Specification||iPhone||iPhone 3G||iPhone 3GS||iPhone 4||iPhone 4S||iPhone 5||iPhone 5S||iPhone 5C||iPhone 6||iPhone 6S||iPhone SE||iPhone 7||iPhone 7 Plus|
|Display||3.5 inches||3.5 inches||3.5 inches||3.5 inches||3.5 inches||4 inches||4 inches||4 inches||4.7 inches||4.7 inches||4 inches||4.7 inches||5.5 inches|
|Resolution||320 x 480||320 x 480||320 x 480||960 × 640||960 × 640||1136 × 640||1136 × 640||1136 × 640||1334 x 750||1334 x 750||1136 x 640||1334 x 750||1920 x 1080|
|Processor||APL0098 (412 MHz)||APL0098 (412 MHz)||APL0298 (533 MHz)||Apple A4 (800 MHz)||Apple A5 (800 MHz, dual-core)||Apple A6 (1.3 GHz, dual-core)||Apple A7 (1.3 GHz, dual-core)||Apple A6 (1.3 GHz, dual-core)||Apple A8 (1.4 GHz, dual-core)||Apple A9 (1.85 GHz, dual-core)||Apple A9 (1.85 GHz, dual-core)||A10 Fusion (2.34 GHz, quad-core)||A10 Fusion (2.34 GHz, quad-core)|
|Storage||4GB, 8GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB, 32GB||8GB, 16GB, 32GB||8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB||16GB, 32GB, 64GB||16GB, 32GB, 64GB||8GB, 16GB, 32GB||16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB||16GB, 64GB, 128GB||16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB||32GB, 128GB, 256GB||32GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|Rear camera||2 megapixel||2 megapixel||3 megapixel||5 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||12 megapixel||12 megapixel||12 megapixel||12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide)|
|Front camera||N/A||N/A||N/A||0.3 megapixel||0.3 megapixel||1.2 megapixel||1.2 megapixel||1.2 megapixel||1.2 megapixel||5 megapixel||1.2 megapixel||7 megapixel||7 megapixel|
|Battery||1,400mAh||1,150mAh||1,220 mAh||1,420 mAh||1,432mAh||1,440mAh||1,560 mAh||1,510 mAh||1,810mAh||1,715mAh||1,624mAh||1,960mAh||2,900mAh|
|Weight||0.30 pounds||0.29 pounds||0.30 pounds||0.30 pounds||0.31 pounds||0.25 pounds||0.25 pounds||0.29 poounds||0.28 pounds||0.31 pounds||0.25 pounds||0.30 pounds||0.41 pounds|
|Dimensions (in.)||4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46||4.55 x 2.44 x 0.48||4.55 x 2.44 x 0.48||4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37||4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37||4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30||4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30||4.90 x 2.33 x 0.35||5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27||5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28||4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30||5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28||6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29|
|Cellular support||2.5G networks||3G networks||3G networks||3G networks||3G networks||3G and LTE||3G and LTE||3G and LTE||3G and LTE||3G and LTE||3G and LTE||3G and LTE||3G and LTE|
|Release date||June 29th, 2007||July 11th, 2008||June 19th, 2009||June 24th, 2010||October 14th, 2011||September 21th, 2012||September 20th, 2013||September 20th, 2013||September 19th, 2014||September 25th, 2015||March 31st, 2016||September 16th, 2016||September 16th, 2016|
|Misc.||No third-party apps, brought multitouch touchscreen to market||Introduced the App Store with iPhone OS 2, first iPhone with 3G||Improved camera and faster processor||Introduced high-pixel density "Retina Display"||First iPhone with Siri||Taller 4-inch screen was a first for iPhone line, as was LTE||Introduced Touch ID fingerprint sensor||Cheaper, plastic variant of the iPhone 5 released alongside the 5S||Also available in larger 5.5-inch Plus model, which features a larger battery||“3D Touch”, also available in larger 5.5-inch Plus model, which features a larger battery||Fingerprint sensor||IP67 water resistance, "Force Touch" home button, no headphone jack||Dual-camera system, IP67 water resistance, "Force Touch" home button, no headphone jack|
Correction: iPhone 4S release date and the spelling of ‘Lightning’ have been fixed.