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The iPhone 5, the newest type of iPhone, as it appears in advertisements.
Developer Apple Inc.
Manufacturer Foxconn ( on contract)
Type smartphone
Release date 1st gen: June 29, 2007 (2007-06-29)
3G: July 11, 2008 (2008-07-11)
3GS: June 19, 2009 (2009-06-19)
4: June 24, 2010 (2010-06-24)
4S: October 14, 2011 (2011-10-14)
5: September 21, 2012 (2012-09-21)
Units sold 250 million
Operating system iOS
Power Built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery
1st gen: 3.7 V 5.18  W·h (1400  mA·h)
3G: 3.7 V 4.12 W·h (1150 mA·h)
3GS 3.7 V 4.51 W·h (1219 mA·h)
4: 3.7 V 5.25 W·h (1420 mA·h)
4S: 3.7 V 5.3 W·h (1432 mA·h)
5: 3.8 V 5.45 W·h (1440 mA·h)
System-on-chip used 1st gen:
4: Apple A4
4S: Apple A5
5: Apple A6
CPU 1st gen and 3G:
Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM 1176JZ(F)-S v1.0
600 MHz ARM Cortex-A8
ARM Cortex-A8
800 MHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9
1.3 GHz dual core Apple A6
Storage capacity 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64 GB flash memory
Memory 1st gen and 3G:
128  MB LPDDR DRAM (137 MHz)
256 MB LPDDR DRAM (200 MHz)
512 MB LPDDR2 DRAM (200 MHz)
Display 1st gen and 3G:
3.5 in (89 mm)
3:2 aspect ratio, scratch-resistant glossy glass covered screen, 262,144-colour ( 18-bit) TN LCD, 480 × 320 px ( HVGA) at 163 ppi, 200:1 contrast ratio
In addition to prior, features a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, and 262,144-colour (18-bit) TN LCD with hardware spatial dithering
4 and 4S:
3.5 in (89 mm), 3:2 aspect ratio, aluminosilicate glass covered 16,777,216-colour (24-bit) IPS LCD screen, 960 × 640 px at 326  ppi, 800:1 contrast ratio, 500 cd max brightness
4.0 in (100 mm);16:9 aspect ratio;1136 x 640 px screen resolution at 326  ppi
Graphics 1st gen and 3G:
PowerVR MBX Lite 3D GPU (103 MHz)
PowerVR SGX535 GPU
(150 MHz)
PowerVR SGX535 GPU
(200 MHz)
PowerVR SGX543MP2 (2-core) GPU
PowerVR SGX543MP3 (3-core) GPU
802.11 a/ b/ g/ n

1st gen and 3G:
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

GSM models also include
850, 1900, 2100  MHz
850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
CDMA model also includes
800, 1900 MHz

Bluetooth 4.0 technology

GSM models also include
700, 2100 MHz
850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
CDMA model also includes
700 MHz
800, 1900 MHz
850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
Online services iTunes Store, App Store, iCloud, iBooks, Passbook
Dimensions 1st gen:
115 mm (4.5 in) H
61 mm (2.4 in) W
11.6 mm (0.46 in) D
3G and 3GS:
115.5 mm (4.55 in) H
62.1 mm (2.44 in) W
12.3 mm (0.48 in) D
4 and 4S:
115.2 mm (4.54 in) H
58.6 mm (2.31 in) W
9.3 mm (0.37 in) D
123.8 mm (4.87 in) H
58.6 mm (2.31 in) W
7.6 mm (0.30 in) D
Weight 1st gen and 3GS:
135 g (4.8 oz)
133 g (4.7 oz)
137 g (4.8 oz)
140 g (4.9 oz)
112 g (4.0 oz)
Related articles iPad, iPod Touch ( Comparison)

The iPhone (pron.: / ˈ f n / EYE-fohn) is a line of smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. It runs Apple's iOS mobile operating system, known as the "iPhone OS" until June 2010, with the release of iOS 4. The first generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007; the most recent iPhone, the sixth-generation iPhone 5, on September 21, 2012. The user interface is built around the device's multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard. The iPhone has Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity ( 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE).

An iPhone can shoot video (though this was not a standard feature until the iPhone 3GS), take photos, play music, send and receive email, browse the web, send texts, and receive visual voicemail. Other functions—games, reference, GPS navigation, social networking, etc.—can be enabled by downloading apps; as of 2012, the App Store offered more than 775,000 apps by Apple and third parties.

There are six generations of iPhone models, each accompanied by one of the six major releases of iOS. The original 1st generation iPhone was a GSM phone, and established design precedents, such as a button placement that has persisted through all models and a screen size maintained until the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012. The iPhone 3G added 3G cellular network capabilities and A-GPS location. The iPhone 3GS added a faster processor and a higher-resolution camera that could record video at 480p. The iPhone 4 featured a higher-resolution 960 × 640 "retina display", a VGA front-facing camera for video calling and other apps, and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with 720p video capture. The iPhone 4S upgrades to an 8- megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, a dual-core processor, and a natural language voice control system called Siri. iPhone 5 features the new A6 processor, increases the size of the Retina display to 4 inches, and replaces the 30-pin connector with an all-digital Lightning connector.

The resounding sales of the iPhone have been credited with reshaping the smartphone industry and helping make Apple one of the world's most valuable publicly trading companies in 2011–12. However, there has been criticism of the company's outsourcing and move of jobs from the US to China. Apple and its manufacturing contractor Foxconn have received criticism due to poor working conditions at the assembly plant in China.

History and availability

Development of what was to become the iPhone began in 2004, when Apple started to gather a team of 1000 employees to work on the highly confidential "Project Purple", including Sir Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iPhone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs steered the original focus away from a tablet, like the iPad, and towards a phone. Apple created the device during a secretive collaboration with AT&T Mobility—Cingular Wireless at the time—at an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months.

Apple rejected the " design by committee" approach that had yielded the Motorola ROKR E1, a largely unsuccessful collaboration with Motorola. Instead, Cingular gave Apple the liberty to develop the iPhone's hardware and software in-house and even paid Apple a fraction of its monthly service revenue (until the iPhone 3G), in exchange for four years of exclusive US sales, until 2011.

Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007, at the Macworld 2007 convention at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco. The two initial models, a 4 GB model priced at US$ 499 and a 8 GB model at US$ 599, went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007, at 6:00 pm local time, while hundreds of customers lined up outside the stores nationwide. The passionate reaction to the launch of the iPhone resulted in sections of the media dubbing it the 'Jesus phone'. The 1st generation iPhone was made available in the UK, France, and Germany in November 2007, and Ireland and Austria in the spring of 2008.

Before the release of the iPhone, handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola were enjoying record sales of cell phones based more on fashion and brand rather than technological innovation. The iPhone however fundamentally changed the industry, with Steve Jobs proclaiming in 2007 that "the phone was not just a communication tool but a way of life". The dominant mobile operating systems at the time such as Symbian, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Mobile were not designed to handle additional tasks beyond communication and basic functions; iPhone OS (renamed iOS in 2010) was designed as a robust OS with capabilities such as multitasking and graphics in order to meet future consumer demands. These operating systems never focused on applications and developers, and due to infighting among manufacturers as well as the complex bureaucracy and bloatness of the OS, they never developed a thriving ecosystem like Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play. Rival manufacturers have been forced to spend more on software and development costs in order to catch up to the iPhone. The iPhone's success has led to a demise in high-end fashion phones and business-oriented smartphones such as Vertu and BlackBerry, respectively.

Worldwide iPhone availability:
  iPhone was available since its original release
  iPhone was available since the release of iPhone 3G
  Coming soon

On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six. Apple released the iPhone 3G in upwards of eighty countries and territories. Apple announced the iPhone 3GS on June 8, 2009, along with plans to release it later in June, July, and August, starting with the US, Canada and major European countries on June 19. Many would-be users objected to the iPhone's cost, and 40% of users have household incomes over US$100,000.

The back of the original 1st generation iPhone was made of aluminium with a black plastic accent. The iPhone 3G and 3GS feature a full plastic back to increase the strength of the GSM signal. The iPhone 3G was available in an 8 GB black model, or a black or white option for the 16 GB model. The iPhone 3GS was available in both colors, regardless of storage capacity.

The iPhone 4 has an aluminosilicate glass front and back with a stainless steel edge that serves as the antennas. It was at first available in black; the white version was announced, but not released until April 2011, 10 months later.

The iPhone has garnered positive reviews from such critics as David Pogue and Walt Mossberg. The iPhone attracts users of all ages, and besides consumer use, the iPhone has also been adopted for business purposes.

Users of the iPhone 4 reported dropped/disconnected telephone calls when holding their phones in a certain way. This became known as antennagate.

On January 11, 2011, Verizon announced during a media event that it had reached an agreement with Apple and would begin selling a CDMA2000 iPhone 4. Verizon said it would be available for pre-order on February 3, with a release set for February 10. In February 2011, the Verizon iPhone accounted for 4.5% of all iPhone ad impressions in the US on Millennial Media's mobile ad network.

From 2007 to 2011, Apple spent $647 million on advertising for the iPhone in the US.

On Tuesday, September 27, Apple sent invitations for a press event to be held October 4, 2011, at 10:00 am at the Cupertino Headquarters to announce details of the next generation iPhone, which turned out to be iPhone 4S. Over 1 million 4S models were sold in the first 24 hours after its release in October 2011. Due to large volumes of the iPhone being manufactured and its high selling price, Apple became the largest mobile handset vendor in the world by revenue, in 2011, surpassing long-time leader Nokia. American carrier C Spire Wireless announced that it would be carrying the iPhone 4S on October 19, 2011.

In January 2012, Apple reported its best quarterly earnings ever, with 53% of its revenue coming from the sale of 37 million iPhones, at an average selling price of nearly $660. The average selling price has remained fairly constant for most of the phones lifespan, hovering between $622 and $660. The production price of the iPhone 4S was estimated by IHS iSuppli, in October 2011, to be $188, $207 and $245, for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, respectively. Labor costs are estimated at between $12.5 and $30 per unit, with workers on the iPhone assembly line making $1.78 an hour.

In February 2012, ComScore reported that 12.4% of US mobile subscribers use an iPhone. Approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the US alone.

On September 12, 2012, Apple announced the iPhone 5. It has a 4-inch display, up from its predecessors' 3.5-inch screen. The device comes with the same 326 pixels per inch found in the iPhone 4 and 4S. The iPhone 5 has the soc A6 processor, the chip is 22% smaller than the iPhone 4S' A5 and is twice as fast, doubling the graphics performance of its predecessor. The device is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S, measuring 7.6mm, and is 20% lighter at 112 grams.

Sales and profits

Before the release of the iPhone, handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola were enjoying record sales of cell phones based more on fashion and brand rather than technological innovation. However, the iPhone fundamentally changed the industry, with Steve Jobs proclaiming in 2007 that "the phone was not just a communication tool but a way of life". The dominant mobile operating systems at the time such as Symbian, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Mobile were not designed to handle additional tasks beyond communication and basic functions. These operating systems did not emphasis application developers much, and due to infighting among manufacturers as well as the complex bureaucracy and bloatness of the OS, they never developed a thriving ecosystem like Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play. By contrast, iPhone OS (renamed iOS in 2010) was designed as a robust OS with capabilities such as multitasking and graphics in order to meet future consumer demands. Rival manufacturers have been forced to spend more on software and development costs in order to catch up to the iPhone's. The iPhone's success has led to a demise in high-end fashion phones and business-oriented smartphones such as Vertu and BlackBerry, respectively. Apple sold 6.1 million 1st generation iPhone units over five quarters. Sales in Q4 2008 surpassed temporarily those of Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry sales of 5.2 million units, which made Apple briefly the third largest mobile phone manufacturer by revenue, after Nokia and Samsung (it must be noted that some of this income is deferred). Recorded sales grew steadily thereafter, and by the end of fiscal year 2010, a total of 73.5 million iPhones were sold.

By 2010, the iPhone had a market share of barely 4% of all cellphones, however Apple pulled in more than 50% of the total profit that global cellphone sales generate. Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones in Q3 2010, representing a 91% unit growth over the year-ago quarter, which was well ahead of IDC’s latest published estimate of 64% growth for the global smartphone market in the September quarter. Apple's sales surpassed that of Research in Motion’s 12.1 million BlackBerry units sold in their most recent quarter ended August 2010. In the United States market alone for Q3 2010, while there were 9.1 million Android-powered smartphones shipped for 43.6% of the market, Apple iOS was the number two phone operating system with 26.2% but the 5.5 million iPhones sold made it the most popular single device.

On March 2, 2011, at the iPad 2 launch event, Apple announced that they had sold 100 million iPhones worldwide. As a result of the success of the iPhone sales volume and high selling price, headlined by the iPhone 4S, Apple became the largest mobile handset vendor in the world by revenue in 2011, surpassing long-time leader Nokia. While the Samsung Galaxy S II has proven more popular than the iPhone 4S in parts of Europe, the iPhone 4S is dominant in the United States.

In January 2012, Apple reported its best quarterly earnings ever, with 53% of its revenue coming from the sale of 37 million iPhones, at an average selling price of nearly $660. The average selling price has remained fairly constant for most of the phones lifespan, hovering between $622 and $660.

For the eight largest phone manufacturers in Q1 2012, according to Horace Dediu at Asymco, Apple and Samsung combined to take 99% of industry profits (HTC took the remaining 1%, while RIM, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia all suffered losses), with Apple earning 73 cents out of every dollar earned by the phone makers. As the industry profits grew from $5.3 billion in Q1, 2010 to $14.4 billion in Q1, 2012 (quadruple the profits in 2007), Apple had managed to increase its share of these profits. This is due to increasing carrier subsidies and the high selling prices of the iPhone, which had a negative effect on the wireless carriers (AT&T Mobility, Verizon, and Sprint) who have seen their EBITDA service margins drop as they sold an increasing number of iPhones. By the quarter ended March 31, 2012, Apple's sales from the iPhone alone (at $22.7 billion) exceeded the total of Microsoft from all of its businesses ($17.4 billion).

In Q4 2012, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S were the best-selling handsets with sales of 27.4 million (13% of smartphones worldwide) and 17.4 million units, respectively, with the Samsung Galaxy S III in third with 15.4 million. According to Strategy Analytics’ data, this was an ”an impressive performance, given the iPhone portfolio’s premium pricing”, adding that the Galaxy SIII’s global popularity “appears to have peaked” (the Galaxy S III was touted as an iPhone-killer by some in the press when it was released). While Samsung has led in worldwide sales of smartphones, Apple's iPhone line has still managed to top Samsung's smartphone offerings in the United States, with 21.4% share and 37.8% in that market, respectively. iOS grew 3.5% to a 37.8%, while Android slid 1.3% to fall to 52.3% share.

The continued top popularity of the iPhone despite growing Android competition was also attributed to Apple being able to deliver iOS updates over the air, while Android updates are frequently impeded by carrier testing requirements and hardware tailoring, forcing consumers to purchase new Android smartphone in order to get the latest version of that OS.

For additional sales information, see the table of quarterly sales.


Screen and input

The touchscreen on the first five generations is a 9 cm (3.5 in) liquid crystal display with scratch-resistant glass, while the one on the iPhone 5 is 4 inches. The capacitive touchscreen is designed for a bare finger, or multiple fingers for multi-touch sensing. The screens on the first three generations have a resolution of 320 × 480 ( HVGA) at 163 ppi; those on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S have a resolution of 640 × 960 at 326 ppi, and the iPhone 5, 640 × 1136 at 326 ppi. The iPhone 5 model's screen results in an aspect ratio of nearly exactly 16:9.

The touch and gesture features of the iPhone are based on technology originally developed by FingerWorks. Most gloves and styli prevent the necessary electrical conductivity; although capacitive styli can be used with iPhone's finger-touch screen. The iPhone 3GS and later also feature a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating.

The top and side of an iPhone 3GS, externally identical to the iPhone 3G. From left to right, sides: wake/sleep button, SIM card slot, headphone jack, silence switch, volume controls. The switches were black plastic on the 1st generation iPhone. Top: earpiece, screen.

The iPhone has a minimal hardware user interface, featuring five buttons. The only physical menu button is situated directly below the display, and is called the "Home button" because it closes the active app and navigates to the home screen of the interface. The home button is denoted not by a house, as on many other similar devices, but a rounded square, reminiscent of the shape of icons on the home screen.

A multifunction sleep/wake button is located on the top of the device. It serves as the unit's power button, and also controls phone calls. When a call is received, pressing the sleep/wake button once silences the ringtone, and when pressed twice transfers the call to voicemail. Situated on the left spine are the volume adjustment controls. The iPhone 4 has two separate circular buttons to increase and decrease the volume; all earlier models house two switches under a single plastic panel, known as a rocker switch, which could reasonably be counted as either one or two buttons.

Directly above the volume controls is a ring/silent switch that when engaged mutes telephone ringing, alert sounds from new & sent emails, text messages, and other push notifications, camera shutter sounds, Voice Memo sound effects, phone lock/unlock sounds, keyboard clicks, and spoken autocorrections. This switch does not mute alarm sounds from the Clock application, and in some countries or regions it will not mute the camera shutter or Voice Memo sound effects. All buttons except Home were made of plastic on the original 1st generation iPhone and metal on all later models. The touchscreen furnishes the remainder of the user interface.

A software update in January 2008 allowed the first-generation iPhone to use cell tower and Wi-Fi network locations trilateration, despite lacking GPS hardware. Since the iPhone 3G generation, the smartphone employ A-GPS operated by the United States. Since the iPhone 4S generation the device supports in addition the GLONASS global positioning system, which is operated by Russia.


The display responds to three sensors (four since the iPhone 4). Moving the iPhone around triggers two other sensors (three since the iPhone 4), which are used to enable motion-controlled gaming applications and location-based services.

Proximity sensor

A proximity sensor deactivates the display and touchscreen when the device is brought near the face during a call. This is done to save battery power and to prevent inadvertent inputs from the user's face and ears.

Ambient light sensor

An ambient light sensor adjusts the display brightness which in turn saves battery power.


A 3-axis accelerometer senses the orientation of the phone and changes the screen accordingly, allowing the user to easily switch between portrait and landscape mode. Photo browsing, web browsing, and music playing support both upright and left or right widescreen orientations. Unlike the iPad, the iPhone does not rotate the screen when turned upside-down, with the Home button above the screen, unless the running program has been specifically designed to do so. The 3.0 update added landscape support for still other applications, such as email, and introduced shaking the unit as a form of input. The accelerometer can also be used to control third-party apps, notably games.


A magnetometer is built-in since the iPhone 3GS generation, which is used to measure the strength and/or direction of the magnetic field in the vicinity of the device. Sometimes certain devices or radio signals can interfere with the magnetometer requiring users to either move away from the interference or re-calibrate by moving the device in a figure 8 motion. Since the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone also features a Compass app which was unique at time of release, showing a compass that points in the direction of the magnetic field.

Gyroscopic sensor

Beginning with the iPhone 4 generation, Apple's smartphones also include a gyroscopic sensor, enhancing its perception of how it is moved.

Audio and output

One of two speakers (left) and the microphone (right) surround the dock connector on the base of the 1st generation iPhone. If a headset is plugged in, sound is played through it instead.

On the bottom of the iPhone there is a speaker to the left of the dock connector and a microphone to the right. There is an additional loudspeaker above the screen that serves as an earpiece during phone calls. The iPhone 4 includes an additional microphone at the top of the unit for noise cancellation, and switches the placement of the microphone and speaker on the base on the unit—the speaker is on the right. Volume controls are located on the left side of all iPhone models and as a slider in the iPod application.

The 3.5 mm TRRS connector for the headphones is located on the top left corner of the device. The headphone socket on the 1st generation iPhone is recessed into the casing, making it incompatible with most headsets without the use of an adapter. Subsequent generations eliminated the issue by using a flush-mounted headphone socket. Cars equipped with an auxiliary jack allow for handsfree use of the iPhone while driving as a substitute for Bluetooth.

While the iPhone is compatible with normal headphones, Apple provides a headset with additional functionality. A multipurpose button near the microphone can be used to play or pause music, skip tracks, and answer or end phone calls without touching the iPhone. A small number of third-party headsets specifically designed for the iPhone also include the microphone and control button. The current headsets also provide volume controls, which are only compatible with more recent models. These features are achieved by a fourth ring in the audio jack that carries this extra information.

The built-in Bluetooth 2.x+EDR supports wireless earpieces and headphones, which requires the HSP profile. Stereo audio was added in the 3.0 update for hardware that supports A2DP. While non-sanctioned third-party solutions exist, the iPhone does not officially support the OBEX file transfer protocol. The lack of these profiles prevents iPhone users from exchanging multimedia files, such as pictures, music and videos, with other Bluetooth-enabled cell phones.

Composite or component video at up to 576i and stereo audio can be output from the dock connector using an adapter sold by Apple. iPhone 4 also supports 1024 × 768 VGA output without audio, and HDMI output, with stereo audio, via dock adapters. The iPhone did not support voice recording until the 3.0 software update.


Replacing the battery requires disassembling the iPhone unit and exposing the internal hardware

The iPhone features an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Like an iPod, but unlike most other mobile phones, the battery is not user-replaceable. The iPhone can be charged when connected to a computer for syncing across the included USB to dock connector cable, similar to charging an iPod. Alternatively, a USB to AC adapter (or "wall charger," also included) can be connected to the cable to charge directly from an AC outlet.

Apple runs tests on preproduction units to determine battery life. Apple's website says that the battery life "is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 400 full charge and discharge cycles", which is comparable to iPod batteries.

The battery life of early models of the iPhone has been criticized by several technology journalists as insufficient and less than Apple's claims. This is also reflected by a J. D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction survey, which gave the "battery aspects" of the iPhone 3G its lowest rating of 2 out of 5 stars.

If the battery malfunctions or dies prematurely, the phone can be returned to Apple and replaced for free while still under warranty. The warranty lasts one year from purchase and can be extended to two years with AppleCare. The battery replacement service and its pricing was not made known to buyers until the day the product was launched, it is similar to how Apple (and third parties) replace batteries for iPods. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer advocate group, has sent a complaint to Apple and AT&T over the fee that consumers have to pay to have the battery replaced.

Since July 2007, third-party battery replacement kits have been available at a much lower price than Apple's own battery replacement program. These kits often include a small screwdriver and an instruction leaflet, but as with many newer iPod models the battery in the 1st generation iPhone has been soldered in. Therefore a soldering iron is required to install the new battery. The iPhone 3G uses a different battery fitted with a connector that is easier to replace.

The iPhone 4 is the first generation to have two cameras. The LED flash for the rear-facing camera (top) and the forward-facing camera (bottom) are both unique to that model.


The 1st generation iPhone and iPhone 3G feature a built-in fixed focus 2.0  megapixel camera located on the back for still digital photos. It has no optical zoom, flash or autofocus, and does not support video recording (iPhone 3G does support video recording via third-party App available on the App Store), however jailbreaking allows users to do so. Version 2.0 of iPhone OS introduced the capability to embed location data in the pictures, producing geocoded photographs.

The iPhone 3GS has a 3.2 megapixel camera, manufactured by OmniVision, featuring autofocus, auto white balance, and auto macro (up to 10 cm). It is also capable of capturing 640 × 480 ( VGA resolution) video at 30 frames per second, although compared to higher-end CCD based video cameras it does exhibit the rolling shutter effect. The video can then be cropped on the device itself and directly uploaded to YouTube, MobileMe, or other services.

The iPhone 4 introduced a 5.0  megapixel camera (2592 × 1936 pixels), also located on the back, which is equipped with a backside illuminated sensor capable of capturing pictures in low-light conditions, as well as an LED flash capable of staying lit for video recording at 720p resolution, considered high-definition. iPhone 4 is the first iPhone that has the high dynamic range photography feature. In addition the iPhone 4 has a second camera on the front capable of VGA photos and SD video recording.

Regardless of the source, saved recordings may be synced to the host computer, attached to email, or (where supported) sent by MMS. Videos may be uploaded to YouTube directly.

The camera on the iPhone 4S is capable of shooting 8MP stills and recording 1080p videos. The camera can now be accessed directly from the lock screen, and the volume up button as a shutter trigger. The built-in gyroscope is able to stabilize the camera while recording video.

The iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, running iOS 6 or later, have the ability to take panoramas using the built-in camera app, and the iPhone 5 also has the ability to take still photos while recording video.

On all five model generations, the phone can be configured to bring up the camera app by quickly pressing the home key twice. On all iPhones running iOS 5 it can also be accessed from the lock screen directly.

The camera on the iPhone 5 reportedly shows purple haze when light source is just out of frame. However Consumer Reports states "[the iPhone 5] is no more prone to purple hazing on photos shot into a bright light source than its predecessor or than several Android phones with fine cameras..."

Storage and SIM

An iPhone 3G with the SIM slot open. The SIM ejector tool is still placed in the eject hole.

The iPhone was initially released with two options for internal storage size: 4 GB or 8 GB. On September 5, 2007, Apple discontinued the 4 GB models. On February 5, 2008, Apple added a 16 GB model. The iPhone 3G was available in 16 GB and 8 GB. The iPhone 3GS came in 16 GB and 32 GB variants and remained available in 8 GB until September 2012, more than three years after its launch.

The iPhone 4 is available in 16 GB and 32 GB variants, as well as an 8 GB variant to be sold alongside the iPhone 4S at a reduced price point. The iPhone 4S is available in three sizes: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. All data is stored on the internal flash drive; the iPhone does not support expanded storage through a memory card slot, or the SIM card. The iPhone 5 is available in the same three sizes previously available to the iPhone 4S: 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB.

GSM models of the iPhone use a SIM card to identify themselves to the GSM network. The SIM sits in a tray, which is inserted into a slot at the top of the device. The SIM tray can be ejected with a paper clip or the "SIM ejector tool" (a simple piece of die-cut sheet metal) included with the iPhone 3G and 3GS in the United States and with all models elsewhere in the world. Some iPhone models shipped with a SIM ejector tool which was fabricated from an alloy dubbed " Liquidmetal". In most countries, the iPhone is usually sold with a SIM lock, which prevents the iPhone from being used on a different mobile network.

The GSM iPhone 4 features a MicroSIM card that is located in a slot on the right side of the device.

The CDMA model of the iPhone 4, just the same as any other CDMA-only cell phone, does not use a SIM card or have a SIM card slot.

An iPhone 4S activated on a CDMA carrier, however, does have a SIM card slot but does not rely on a SIM card for activation on that CDMA network. A CDMA-activated iPhone 4S usually has a carrier-approved roaming SIM preloaded in its SIM slot at the time of purchase that is used for roaming on certain carrier-approved international GSM networks only. The SIM slot is locked to only use the roaming SIM card provided by the CDMA carrier.
In the case of Verizon, for example, one can request that the SIM slot be unlocked for international use by calling their support number and requesting an international unlock if their account has been in good standing for the past 60 days. This method only unlocks the iPhone 4S for use on international carriers. An iPhone 4S that has been unlocked in this way will reject any non international SIM cards (AT&T Mobility or T-Mobile USA, for example).

The iPhone 5 uses the nano-SIM, in order to save more space for internal components.

Liquid contact indicators

All iPhones (and many other devices by Apple) have a small disc at the bottom of the headphone jack that changes from white to red on contact with water; iPhone 3G and later models also have a similar indicator at the bottom of the dock connector. Because Apple warranties do not cover water damage, employees examine the indicators before approving warranty repair or replacement.

The iPhone's indicators are more exposed than those in some mobile phones from other manufacturers, which carry them in a more protected location, such as beneath the battery behind a battery cover. The iPhone's can be triggered during routine use, by an owner's sweat, steam in a bathroom, and other light environmental moisture. Criticism led Apple to change its water damage policy for iPhones and similar products, allowing customers to request further internal inspection of the phone to verify if internal liquid damage sensors were triggered.

Included items

The contents of the box of an iPhone 4. From left to right: iPhone 4 in plastic holder, written documentation, and (top to bottom) headset, USB cable, wall charger.

All iPhone models include written documentation, and a dock connector to USB cable. The 1st generation and 3G iPhones also came with a cleaning cloth. The 1st generation iPhone included a stereo headset ( earbuds and a microphone) and a plastic dock to hold the unit upright while charging and syncing. The iPhone 3G includes a similar headset plus a SIM eject tool (the 1st generation model requires a paperclip). The iPhone 3GS includes the SIM eject tool and a revised headset, which adds volume buttons (not functional with previous iPhone versions).

The iPhone 3G and 3GS are compatible with the same dock, sold separately, but not the 1st generation model's dock. All versions include a USB power adapter, or "wall charger," which allows the iPhone to charge from an AC outlet. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS sold in North America, Japan, Colombia, Ecuador, or Peru include an ultracompact USB power adapter.


The iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad run an operating system known as iOS (formerly iPhone OS). It is a variant of the same Darwin operating system core that is found in Mac OS X. Also included is the " Core Animation" software component from Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard. Together with the PowerVR hardware (and on the iPhone 3GS, OpenGL ES 2.0), it is responsible for the interface's motion graphics. The operating system takes up less than half a gigabyte.

It is capable of supporting bundled and future applications from Apple, as well as from third-party developers. Software applications cannot be copied directly from Mac OS X but must be written and compiled specifically for iOS.

Like the iPod, the iPhone is managed from a computer using iTunes. The earliest versions of the OS required version 7.3 or later, which is compatible with Mac OS X version 10.3.9 Panther or later, and 32-bit Windows XP or Vista. The release of iTunes 7.6 expanded this support to include 64-bit versions of XP and Vista, and a workaround has been discovered for previous 64-bit Windows operating systems.

Apple provides free updates to the OS for the iPhone through iTunes, and major updates have historically accompanied new models. Such updates often require a newer version of iTunes—for example, the 3.0 update requires iTunes 8.2—but the iTunes system requirements have stayed the same. Updates include bug fixes, security patches and new features. For example, iPhone 3G users initially experienced dropped calls until an update was issued.

Version 3.1 required iTunes 9.0, and iOS 4 required iTunes 9.2. iTunes 10.5, which is required to sync and activate iOS 5, requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or Leopard on G4 or G5 computers on 800 MHz or higher; versions 10.3 and 10.4 and 10.5–10.5.7 are no longer supported.


The interface is based around the home screen, a graphical list of available applications. iPhone applications normally run one at a time (not including iOS 4 and iOS 5, which includes running applications in the background), although most functionality is still available when making a call or listening to music. The home screen can be accessed at any time by a hardware button below the screen, closing the open application in the process.

By default, the Home screen contains the following icons: Messages ( SMS and MMS messaging), Calendar, Photos, Camera, YouTube, Stocks, Maps (Google Maps), Weather, Voice Memos, Notes, Clock, Calculator, Settings, iTunes (store), App Store, (on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4) Compass, FaceTime and GameCenter were added in iOS 4.0 and 4.1 respectively. In iOS 5, Reminders and Newsstand were added, as well as the iPod application split into separate Music and Videos applications. iOS 6 added Passbook as well as an updated version of Maps that relies on data provided by TomTom as well as other sources. iOS 6 also added a Clock application onto the iPad's homescreen. Docked at the base of the screen, four icons for Phone, Mail, Safari (Internet), and Music delineate the iPhone's main purposes. On January 15, 2008, Apple released software update 1.1.3, allowing users to create "Web Clips", home screen icons that resemble apps that open a user-defined page in Safari. After the update, iPhone users can rearrange and place icons on up to nine other adjacent home screens, accessed by a horizontal swipe.

Users can also add and delete icons from the dock, which is the same on every home screen. Each home screen holds up to twenty icons, and the dock holds up to four icons. Users can delete Web Clips and third-party applications at any time, and may select only certain applications for transfer from iTunes. Apple's default programs, however, may not be removed. The 3.0 update adds a system-wide search, known as Spotlight, to the left of the first home screen.

Almost all input is given through the touch screen, which understands complex gestures using multi-touch. The iPhone's interaction techniques enable the user to move the content up or down by a touch-drag motion of the finger. For example, zooming in and out of web pages and photos is done by placing two fingers on the screen and spreading them farther apart or bringing them closer together, a gesture known as " pinching".

Scrolling through a long list or menu is achieved by sliding a finger over the display from bottom to top, or vice versa to go back. In either case, the list moves as if it is pasted on the outer surface of a wheel, slowly decelerating as if affected by friction. In this way, the interface simulates the physics of a real object.

Other user-centered interactive effects include horizontally sliding sub-selection, the vertically sliding keyboard and bookmarks menu, and widgets that turn around to allow settings to be configured on the other side. Menu bars are found at the top and bottom of the screen when necessary. Their options vary by program, but always follow a consistent style motif. In menu hierarchies, a "back" button in the top-left corner of the screen displays the name of the parent folder.


The iPhone allows audio conferencing, call holding, call merging, caller ID, and integration with other cellular network features and iPhone functions. For example, if music is playing when a call is received, the music fades out, and fades back in when the call has ended.

The proximity sensor shuts off the screen and touch-sensitive circuitry when the iPhone is brought close to the face, both to save battery and prevent unintentional touches. The iPhone does not support video calling or videoconferencing on versions prior to the fourth generation, as there is only one camera on the opposite side of the screen.

The iPhone 4 supports video calling using either the front or back camera over Wi-Fi, a feature Apple calls FaceTime. The first two models only support voice dialing through third-party applications. Voice control, available only on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, allows users to say a contact's name or number and the iPhone will dial.

The iPhone includes a visual voicemail (in some countries) feature allowing users to view a list of current voicemail messages on-screen without having to call into their voicemail. Unlike most other systems, messages can be listened to and deleted in a non-chronological order by choosing any message from an on-screen list.

A music ringtone feature was introduced in the United States on September 5, 2007. Users can create custom ringtones from songs purchased from the iTunes Store for a small additional fee. The ringtones can be 3 to 30 seconds long from any part of a song, can fade in and out, pause from half a second to five seconds when looped, or loop continuously. All customizing can be done in iTunes, or alternatively with Apple's GarageBand software 4.1.1 or later (available only on Mac OS X) or third-party tools.

With the release of iOS 6, which was released on September 19, 2012, Apple added features that enable the user to have options to decline a phone call when a person is calling them. The user has the capability to reply with a message, or to set a reminder to call them back at a later time.

On September 12, 2012, Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, the sixth iteration of the iPhone. New features included a bigger 4 inch screen, thinner design and 4G LTE.

Internet connectivity

Wikipedia Main Page on the iPhone Safari web browser in landscape mode

Internet access is available when the iPhone is connected to a local area Wi-Fi or a wide area GSM or EDGE network, both second-generation ( 2G) wireless data standards. The iPhone 3G introduced support for third-generation UMTS and HSDPA 3.6, only the iPhone 4S supports HSUPA networks (14.4 Mbit/s), and only the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 support HSDPA 7.2.

AT&T introduced 3G in July 2004, but as late as 2007, Steve Jobs stated that it was still not widespread enough in the US, and the chipsets not energy efficient enough, to be included in the iPhone. Support for 802.1X, an authentication system commonly used by university and corporate Wi-Fi networks, was added in the 2.0 version update.

By default, the iPhone will ask to join newly discovered Wi-Fi networks and prompt for the password when required. Alternatively, it can join closed Wi-Fi networks manually. The iPhone will automatically choose the strongest network, connecting to Wi-Fi instead of EDGE when it is available. Similarly, the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 prefer 3G to 2G, and Wi-Fi to either.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G (on the iPhone 3G onwards) can all be deactivated individually. Airplane mode disables all wireless connections at once, overriding other preferences. However, once in Airplane mode, one can explicitly enable Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth modes to join and continue to operate over one or both of those networks while the cellular network transceivers remain off.

The iPhone 3GS has a maximum download rate of 7.2  Mbit/s. Furthermore, email attachments as well as apps and media from Apple's various stores must be smaller than 20 MB to be downloaded over a cellular network. Larger files, often email attachments or podcasts, must be downloaded over Wi-Fi (which has no file size limits). If Wi-Fi is unavailable, one workaround is to open the files directly in Safari.

Safari is the iPhone's native web browser, and it displays pages similar to its Mac and Windows counterparts. Web pages may be viewed in portrait or landscape mode and the device supports automatic zooming by pinching together or spreading apart fingertips on the screen, or by double-tapping text or images. It is worth mentioning that Safari doesn't allow file downloads except for predefined extensions. The iPhone does not support Flash.

Consequently, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority adjudicated that an advertisement claiming the iPhone could access "all parts of the internet" should be withdrawn in its current form, on grounds of false advertising. In a rare public letter in April 2010, Apple CEO Steve Jobs outlined the reasoning behind the absence of Flash on the iPhone (and iPad). The iPhone supports SVG, CSS, HTML Canvas, and Bonjour.

Google Chrome was introduced to the iOS on June 26, 2012. In a review by Chitika on July 18, 2012, they announced that the Google Chrome web browser has 1.5% of the iOS web browser market since its release.

The maps application can access Google Maps in map, satellite, or hybrid form. It can also generate directions between two locations, while providing optional real-time traffic information. During the iPhone's announcement, Jobs demonstrated this feature by searching for nearby Starbucks locations and then placing a prank call to one with a single tap. Support for walking directions, public transit, and street view was added in the version 2.2 software update, but no voice-guided navigation.

The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 can orient the map with its digital compass. Apple also developed a separate application to view YouTube videos on the iPhone, which streams videos after encoding them using the H.264 codec. Simple weather and stock quotes applications also tap into the Internet.

iPhone users can and do access the Internet frequently, and in a variety of places. According to Google, in 2008, the iPhone generated 50 times more search requests than any other mobile handset. According to Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann, "The average Internet usage for an iPhone customer is more than 100  megabytes. This is 30 times the use for our average contract-based consumer customers." Nielsen found that 98% of iPhone users use data services, and 88% use the internet. In China, the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS were built and distributed without Wi-Fi.

With the introduction of the Verizon iPhone in January 2011, the issue of using internet while on the phone has been brought to the public's attention. Under the two US carriers, internet and phone could be used simultaneously on AT&T networks, whereas Verizon networks only support the use of each separately.

Text input

The virtual keyboard on the iPhone (1st gen) touchscreen.

For text input, the iPhone implements a virtual keyboard on the touchscreen. It has automatic spell checking and correction, predictive word capabilities, and a dynamic dictionary that learns new words. The keyboard can predict what word the user is typing and complete it, and correct for the accidental pressing of keys near the presumed desired key.

The keys are somewhat larger and spaced farther apart when in landscape mode, which is supported by only a limited number of applications. Touching a section of text for a brief time brings up a magnifying glass, allowing users to place the cursor in the middle of existing text. The virtual keyboard can accommodate 21 languages, including character recognition for Chinese.

Alternate characters with accents can be typed from the keyboard by pressing the letter for 2 seconds and selecting the alternate character from the popup. The 3.0 update brought support for cut, copy, or pasting text, as well as landscape keyboards in more applications. On iPhone 4S, Siri allows dictation.

Email and text messages

The iPhone also features an email program that supports HTML email, which enables the user to embed photos in an email message. PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint attachments to mail messages can be viewed on the phone. Apple's MobileMe platform offers push email, which emulates the functionality of the popular BlackBerry email solution, for an annual subscription. Yahoo! offers a free push-email service for the iPhone. IMAP (although not Push-IMAP) and POP3 mail standards are also supported, including Microsoft Exchange and Kerio Connect.

In the first versions of the iPhone firmware, this was accomplished by opening up IMAP on the Exchange server. Apple has also licensed Microsoft ActiveSync and now supports the platform (including push email) with the release of iPhone 2.0 firmware. The iPhone will sync email account settings over from Apple's own Mail application, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Entourage, or it can be manually configured on the device itself. With the correct settings, the email program can access almost any IMAP or POP3 account.

Text messages are presented chronologically in a mailbox format similar to Mail, which places all text from recipients together with replies. Text messages are displayed in speech bubbles (similar to iChat) under each recipient's name. The iPhone has built-in support for email message forwarding, drafts, and direct internal camera-to-email picture sending. Support for multi-recipient SMS was added in the 1.1.3 software update. Support for MMS was added in the 3.0 update, but not for the original 1st generation iPhone and not in the US until September 25, 2009.

Third-party applications

At WWDC 2007 on June 11, 2007, Apple announced that the iPhone would support third-party web applications using Ajax that share the look and feel of the iPhone interface. On October 17, 2007, Steve Jobs, in an open letter posted to Apple's "Hot News" weblog, announced that a software development kit (SDK) would be made available to third-party developers in February 2008. The iPhone SDK was officially announced and released on March 6, 2008, at the Apple Town Hall facility.

It is a free download, with an Apple registration, that allows developers to develop native applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, then test them in an "iPhone simulator". However, loading an application onto a real device is only possible after paying an Apple Developer Connection membership fee. Developers are free to set any price for their applications to be distributed through the App Store, of which they will receive a 70% share.

Developers can also opt to release the application for free and will not pay any costs to release or distribute the application beyond the membership fee. The App Store was launched with the release of iOS 2.0, on July 11, 2008. The update was free for iPhone users; owners of older iPod Touches were required to pay US$10 for it.

Once a developer has submitted an application to the App Store, Apple holds firm control over its distribution. Apple can halt the distribution of applications it deems inappropriate, for example, I Am Rich, a US$1000 program that simply demonstrated the wealth of its user. Apple has been criticized for banning third-party applications that enable a functionality that Apple does not want the iPhone to have: In 2008, Apple rejected Podcaster, which allowed iPhone users to download podcasts directly to the iPhone claiming it duplicated the functionality of iTunes. Apple has since released a software update that grants this capability.

NetShare, another rejected app, would have enabled users to tether their iPhone to a laptop or desktop, using its cellular network to load data for the computer. Many carriers of the iPhone later globally allowed tethering before Apple officially supported it with the upgrade to the iOS 3.0, with AT&T Mobility being a relative latecomer in the United States. In most cases, the carrier charges extra for tethering an iPhone.

Before the SDK was released, third-parties were permitted to design "Web Apps" that would run through Safari. Unsigned native applications are also available for "jailbroken" phones. The ability to install native applications onto the iPhone outside of the App Store is not supported by Apple, the stated reason being that such native applications could be broken by any software update, but Apple has stated it will not design software updates specifically to break native applications other than those that perform SIM unlocking.

As of January 2011, Apple has passed 10 billion app downloads.


The iPhone can enlarge text to make it more accessible for vision-impaired users, and can accommodate hearing-impaired users with closed captioning and external TTY devices. The iPhone 3GS also features white on black mode, VoiceOver (a screen reader), and zooming for impaired vision, and mono audio for limited hearing in one ear. Apple regularly publishes Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates which explicitly state compliance with the US regulation " Section 508".


In 2007, 2010, and 2011, developers released a series of tools called JailbreakMe that used security vulnerabilities in Mobile Safari rendering in order to jailbreak the device (which allows users to install any compatible software on the device instead of only App Store apps). These exploits were each soon fixed by iOS updates from Apple. Theoretically these flaws could have also been used for malicious purposes.

In July 2011, Apple released iOS 4.3.5 (4.2.10 for CDMA iPhone) to fix a security vulnerability with certificate validation.

Model comparison

This table highlights key differences between "generations" of the iPhone.

Model iPhone (1st generation) iPhone 3G iPhone 3GS iPhone 4 iPhone 4S iPhone 5
Status Discontinued Available Available Available
Glass LCD display 89 mm (3.5 in), 3:2 aspect ratio 4 in, 16:9 aspect ratio
480 × 320 px ( HVGA) at 163  ppi 960 × 640 px at 326 ppi 1136 × 640 px at 326 ppi
Storage 4, 8, or 16  GB 8 or 16 GB 8, 16, or 32 GB 16, 32, or 64 GB
CPU core 620  MHz ( underclocked to 412 MHz)
ARM 1176JZ(F)-S
833 MHz (underclocked to 600 MHz)
ARM Cortex-A8
1 GHz (underclocked to 800 MHz)
Apple A4
1 GHz (underclocked to 800 MHz)
Dual-core Apple A5
1.3 GHz dual core Apple A6
GPU PowerVR MBX Lite 3D
(103 MHz)
PowerVR SGX535
(150 MHz)
PowerVR SGX535
(200 MHz)
PowerVR SGX543MP2 PowerVR SGX543MP3
Memory 128  MB DRAM 256 MB DRAM 512 MB DRAM 1 GB DRAM
Cellular connectivity GSM ( 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) GSM/ EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) (GSM model only) GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
N/A UMTS/ HSDPA ( 850, 1900, 2100 MHz) UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz) (GSM model only) UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz) UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
N/A N/A N/A LTE (Bands 4 and 17) (American GSM model only)
LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5) (International GSM model only)
LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25) (CDMA model only)
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz) (CDMA model only) CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz) CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz) (CDMA model only)
New features USB 2.0/ dock connector, earphones with mic and button Assisted GPS, Voice control, digital compass ( magnetometer), Nike+, camera tap to focus ( iOS 4.0+), volume controls on earphones 3-axis gyroscope, dual-microphone noise suppression, micro-SIM, rear camera LED flash Siri (beta) voice assistant, GLONASS support Larger screen, 4G LTE, Lightning connector, nano-SIM, Apple EarPods
Camera 2.0 Megapixel, f/2.8
Still images only
3.0 Megapixel, f/2.8
VGA video at 30 frame/s
Rear: 5.0 Megapixel, f/2.8
720p HD video at 30 frame/s
Rear: 8.0 Megapixel, f/2.4
1080p Full HD video at 30 frame/s
Front: 0.3 Megapixel (VGA)
480p VGA video at 30 frame/s
Front: 1.2 Megapixel 720p HD video at 30 frame/s
Materials Aluminium, glass and black plastic Glass, plastic, and steel; black or white
(white not available for 8 GB models)
Black or white aluminosilicate glass and stainless steel Black or white glass and "slate" or "silver" colored aluminium
Dimensions 115.0 mm (4.53 in) H
61.0 mm (2.40 in) W
11.6 mm (0.46 in) D
115.5 mm (4.55 in) H
62.1 mm (2.44 in) W
12.3 mm (0.48 in) D
115.2 mm (4.54 in) H
58.66 mm (2.309 in) W
9.3 mm (0.37 in) D
123.8 mm (4.87 in) H
58.6 mm (2.31 in) W
7.6 mm (0.30 in) D
Weight 135 g (4.8 oz) 133 g (4.7 oz) 135 g (4.8 oz) 137 g (4.8 oz) 140 g (4.9 oz) 112 g (3.95 oz)
Power Built-in, non removable, rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery
Announced January 9, 2007 June 9, 2008 June 8, 2009 June 7, 2010 October 4, 2011 September 12, 2012
Released 4 and 8 GB: June 29, 2007
16 GB: February 5, 2008
July 11, 2008 16 and 32 GB: June 19, 2009
Black 8 GB: June 24, 2010
GSM (Black): June 24, 2010
CDMA (Black): February 10, 2011
White: April 28, 2011
8 GB: October 4, 2011 (Available from Oct 14, 2011)
October 14, 2011 September 21, 2012
Discontinued 4 GB: September 5, 2007
8 and 16 GB: July 11, 2008
16 GB: June 8, 2009
Black 8 GB: June 4, 2010
16 and 32 GB: June 24, 2010
Black 8 GB: September 12, 2012
16 and 32 GB (unlocked only): October 4, 2011
Black and White 8 GB: In production
32 and 64 GB : September 12, 2012
Black and White 16 GB: In production
In production
Model iPhone (1st generation) iPhone 3G iPhone 3GS iPhone 4 iPhone 4S iPhone 5

Intellectual property

Apple has filed more than 200 patent applications related to the technology behind the iPhone.

LG Electronics claimed the design of the iPhone was copied from the LG Prada. Woo-Young Kwak, head of LG Mobile Handset R&D Centre, said at a press conference: "we consider that Apple copied Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006."

On September 3, 1993, Infogear filed for the US trademark "I PHONE" and on March 20, 1996, applied for the trademark "IPhone". "I Phone" was registered in March 1998, and "IPhone" was registered in 1999. Since then, the I PHONE mark had been abandoned. Infogear trademarks cover "communications terminals comprising computer hardware and software providing integrated telephone, data communications and personal computer functions" (1993 filing), and "computer hardware and software for providing integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks" (1996 filing).

Infogear released a telephone with an integrated web browser under the name iPhone in 1998. In 2000, Infogear won an infringement claim against the owners of the domain name. In June 2000, Cisco Systems acquired Infogear, including the iPhone trademark. On December 18, 2006, they released a range of re-branded Voice over IP (VoIP) sets under the name iPhone.

In October 2002, Apple applied for the "iPhone" trademark in the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, and the European Union. A Canadian application followed in October 2004, and a New Zealand application in September 2006. As of October 2006, only the Singapore and Australian applications had been granted. In September 2006, a company called Ocean Telecom Services applied for an "iPhone" trademark in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, following a filing in Trinidad and Tobago.

As the Ocean Telecom trademark applications use exactly the same wording as the New Zealand application of Apple, it is assumed that Ocean Telecom is applying on behalf of Apple. The Canadian application was opposed in August 2005, by a Canadian company called Comwave who themselves applied for the trademark three months later. Comwave has been selling VoIP devices called iPhone since 2004.

Shortly after Steve Jobs' January 9, 2007, announcement that Apple would be selling a product called iPhone in June 2007, Cisco issued a statement that it had been negotiating trademark licensing with Apple and expected Apple to agree to the final documents that had been submitted the night before. On January 10, 2007, Cisco announced it had filed a lawsuit against Apple over the infringement of the trademark iPhone, seeking an injunction in federal court to prohibit Apple from using the name. More recently, Cisco claimed that the trademark lawsuit was a "minor skirmish" that was not about money, but about interoperability.

On February 2, 2007, Apple and Cisco announced that they had agreed to temporarily suspend litigation while they held settlement talks, and subsequently announced on February 20, 2007, that they had reached an agreement. Both companies will be allowed to use the "iPhone" name in exchange for "exploring interoperability" between their security, consumer, and business communications products.

The iPhone has also inspired several leading high-tech clones, driving both the popularity of Apple and consumer willingness to upgrade iPhones quickly.

On October 22, 2009, Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple for infringement of its GSM, UMTS and WLAN patents. Nokia alleges that Apple has been violating ten of the patents of Nokia since the iPhone initial release.

In December 2010, Reuters reported that some iPhone and iPad users were suing Apple Inc. because some applications were passing user information to third-party advertisers without permission. Some makers of the applications such as Textplus4, Paper Toss, The Weather Channel,, Talking Tom Cat and Pumpkin Maker have also been named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.

In August 2012, Apple won a smartphone patent lawsuit in the USA against Samsung, the world's largest maker of smartphones.

In March 2013, an Apple patent for a wraparound display was revealed.

Secret tracking

Since April 20, 2011, a hidden unencrypted file on the iPhone and other iOS devices has been widely discussed in the media. It was alleged that the file, labeled "consolidated.db", constantly stores the iPhone user's movement by approximating geographic locations calculated by triangulating nearby cell phone towers, a technology proven to be inaccurate at times. The file was released with the June 2010 update of Apple iOS4 and may contain almost one year's worth of data. Previous versions of iOS stored similar information in a file called "h-cells.plist".

F-Secure discovered that the data is transmitted to Apple twice a day and postulate that Apple is using the information to construct their global location database similar to the ones constructed by Google and Skyhook through wardriving. Nevertheless, unlike the Google "Latitude" application, which performs a similar task on Android phones, the file is not dependent upon signing a specific EULA or even the user's knowledge, but it is stated in the 15,200 word-long terms and conditions of the iPhone that "Apple and [their] partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of [the user's] Apple computer or device".

The file is also automatically copied onto the user's computer once synchronized with the iPhone. An open source application named "iPhoneTracker", which turns the data stored in the file into a visual map, was made available to the public in April 2011. While the file cannot be erased without jailbreaking the phone, it can be encrypted.

Apple gave an official response on their web site on April 27, 2011, after questions were submitted by users, the Associated Press and others. Apple indicated that the data is a crowd-sourced location database cache, used to make location services faster, and that the volume of data retained was an error; they issued an update for iOS (version 4.3.3, or 4.2.8 for the CDMA iPhone 4) which reduced the size of the cache, stopped it being backed up to iTunes, and erased it entirely whenever location services were turned off. The upload to Apple can also be selectively disabled from "System services", "Cell Network Search."


Apple tightly controls certain aspects of the iPhone. According to Jonathan Zittrain, the emergence of closed devices like the iPhone have made computing more proprietary than early versions of Microsoft Windows.

The hacker community has found many workarounds, most of which are disallowed by Apple and threaten to void the device's warranty. " Jailbreaking" allows users to install apps not available on the App Store or modify basic functionality. SIM unlocking allows the iPhone to be used on a different carrier's network.

The iPhone also has an area and settings where parents can set restriction or parental controls on apps that can be downloaded or used within the iPhone. The restrictions area will require a password.


The iPhone normally prevents access to its media player and web features unless it has also been activated as a phone with an authorized carrier. On July 3, 2007, Jon Lech Johansen reported on his blog that he had successfully bypassed this requirement and unlocked the iPhone's other features with a combination of custom software and modification of the iTunes binary. He published the software and offsets for others to use.

Unlike the 1st generation iPhone, the iPhone 3G must be activated in the store in most countries. This makes the iPhone 3G more difficult, but not impossible, to hack. The need for in-store activation, as well as the huge number of first-generation iPhone and iPod Touch users upgrading to iPhone OS 2.0, caused a worldwide overload of Apple's servers on July 11, 2008, the day on which both the iPhone 3G and iPhone OS 2.0 updates as well as MobileMe were released. After the update, devices were required to connect to Apple's servers to authenticate the update, causing many devices to be temporarily unusable.

Users on the O2 network in the United Kingdom, however, can buy the phone online and activate it via iTunes as with the previous model. Even where not required, vendors usually offer activation for the buyer's convenience. In the US, Apple has begun to offer free shipping on both the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS (when available), reversing the in-store activation requirement. Best Buy and Walmart will also sell the iPhone.

Unapproved third-party software and jailbreaking

The iPhone's operating system is designed to only run software that has an Apple-approved cryptographic signature. This restriction can be overcome by "jailbreaking" the phone, which involves replacing the iPhone's firmware with a slightly modified version that does not enforce the signature check. Doing so may be a circumvention of Apple's technical protection measures. Apple, in a statement to the United States Copyright Office in response to Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) lobbying for a DMCA exception for this kind of hacking, claimed that jailbreaking the iPhone would be copyright infringement due to the necessary modification of system software. However in 2010 Jailbreaking was declared officially legal in the United States by the DMCA. Jailbroken iPhones may be susceptible to computer viruses, but few such incidents have been reported.

iOS and Android 2.3.3 'Gingerbread' may be set up to dual boot on a jailbroken iPhone with the help of OpeniBoot or iDroid.

SIM unlocking

United States

iPhone 3G shown with the SIM tray partially ejected.

Most iPhones were and are still sold with a SIM lock, which restricts the use of the phone to one particular carrier, a common practice with subsidized GSM phones. Unlike most GSM phones however, the phone cannot be officially unlocked by entering a code. The locked/unlocked state is maintained on Apple's servers per IMEI and is set when the iPhone is activated.

While the iPhone was initially sold in the US only on the AT&T network with a SIM lock in place, various hackers have found methods to " unlock" the phone from a specific network. Although AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are the only authorized iPhone carriers in the United States, unlocked iPhones can be used with other carriers after unlocking. For example, an unlocked iPhone may be used on the T-Mobile network in the US but, while an unlocked iPhone is compatible with T-Mobile's voice network, it may not be able to make use of 3G functionality (i.e., no mobile web or e-mail, etc.). More than a quarter of the original 1st generation iPhones sold in the US were not registered with AT&T. Apple speculates that they were likely shipped overseas and unlocked, a lucrative market before the iPhone 3G's worldwide release.

On March 26, 2009, AT&T in the United States began selling the iPhone without a contract, though still SIM-locked to their network. The up-front purchase price of such iPhone units is often twice as expensive as those bundled with contracts. Outside of the United States, policies differ, especially in US territories and insular areas like Guam, where GTA TeleGuam is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone, since none of the three US carriers (AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon) has a presence in the area.

Beginning April 8, 2012, AT&T began offering a factory SIM unlock option (which Apple calls a "whitelisting", allowing it to be used on any carrier the phone supports) for iPhone owners.

It has been reported that the Verizon iPhone 5 comes factory unlocked. After such discovery, Verizon announced that the Verizon iPhone 5 would remain unlocked, due to the regulations that the FCC had placed on the 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which is utilized by Verizon.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, networks O2, EE, 3, Vodafone, as well as MVNO Tesco Mobile sell the device under subsidised contracts, or for use on pay as you go. They are locked to the network initially, though are usually able to be unlocked either after a certain period of contract length has passed, or for a small fee. However, all current versions of iPhone are available for purchase SIM-free from the Apple Store or Apple's Online Store, consequently, they are unlocked for use on any GSM network too.

Australia and other countries

Five major carriers in Australia, ( Three, Optus, Telstra, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone), offer legitimate unlocking, now at no cost for all iPhone devices, both current and prior models. The iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 can also be bought unlocked from Apple Retail Stores or the Apple Online Store.

Internationally, policies vary, but many carriers sell the iPhone unlocked for full retail price.

Fights over brand name


In 2003, four years before the iPhone was officially introduced, the trademark iFone was registered in Mexico by a communications systems and services company, iFone. Apple tried to gain control over its brandname, but a Mexican court refused the request. The case began in 2009, when the Mexican firm sued Apple.


Also in Brazil the brand IPHONE has been registered in 2000 by the company then called Gradiente Eletrônica S.A., now IGB Eletrônica S.A. According to the filing, Gradiente foresaw the revolution in the convergence of voice and data over the Internet at the time.

In Brazil, the final battle over the brandname was finished in 2008. In December 18, 2012, IGB launched its own line of Android smartphones under the tradename to which it has exclusive rights in the local market.

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