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iPhone
IPhone Logo 2016.svg
IPhone 15 Pro Vector.svg
Front face of the latest flagship model, the iPhone 15 Pro
Developer Apple Inc.
Manufacturer Contract manufacturers:
Type Smartphone
Units sold 2.2 billion (as of November 1, 2018)
Operating system iOS
Power Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Storage 64, 128, 256, 512 GB or 1 TB flash memory (current models)
Sound
Online services
  • App Store
  • Apple One
  • iCloud
  • Apple Pay
Related articles

The iPhone is a line of smartphones produced by Apple Inc. that use Apple's own iOS mobile operating system. The first-generation iPhone was announced by then–Apple CEO Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007. Since then, Apple has annually released new iPhone models and iOS updates. As of November 1, 2018, more than 2.2 billion iPhones had been sold. As of 2022, the iPhone accounts for 15.6% of global smartphone market share.

The iPhone was the first mobile phone to use multi-touch technology. Since the iPhone's launch, it has gained larger screen sizes, video-recording, waterproofing, and many accessibility features. Up to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhones had a single button on the front panel, with the iPhone 5s and later integrating a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Since the iPhone X, iPhone models have switched to a nearly bezel-less front screen design with Face ID facial recognition, and app switching activated by gestures. Touch ID is still used for the budget iPhone SE series.

The iPhone is one of the two largest smartphone platforms in the world alongside Android, and is a large part of the luxury market. The iPhone has generated large profits for Apple, making it one of the world's most valuable publicly traded companies. The first-generation iPhone was described as a "revolution" for the mobile phone industry and subsequent models have also garnered praise. The iPhone has been credited with popularizing the smartphone and slate form factor, and with creating a large market for smartphone apps, or "app economy". As of January 2017, Apple's App Store contained more than 2.2 million applications for the iPhone.

History

Apple has released fifteen generations of iPhone models, each accompanied by one of the fifteen major releases of the iOS operating system. The original first-generation iPhone was a GSM phone.

Aerial view of Apple Park dllu
Aerial view of Apple Park, the corporate headquarters of Apple Inc., located in Cupertino, California
IPhone XS 1 2018-11-02
IPhone XS

The iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max were announced on September 12, 2023. Starting with this group of devices, all models switch to using USB-C as their power connector to comply with European Commission regulations, replacing Apple's proprietary Lightning connector after eleven years of use in previous models. All models also feature the return of the "Dynamic Island", previously having appeared on the iPhone 14 Pro exclusively.

Development

Steve Jobs Headshot 2010-CROP
Steve Jobs shows off the iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference

Development of what was to become the iPhone began in 2004, when Apple started to gather a team of 1,000 employees (including Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iMac and iPod) to work on the highly confidential "Project Purple." Apple CEO Steve Jobs steered the original focus away from a tablet (which Apple eventually revisited in the form of the iPad) towards a phone. Apple created the device during a secretive collaboration with Cingular Wireless (which became AT&T Mobility) at the time—at an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months.

According to Steve Jobs, the "i" word in "iMac" (and therefore "iPod", "iPhone" and "iPad") stands for internet, individual, instruct, inform, and inspire.

Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007, at the Macworld 2007 convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The two initial models, a 4 GB model priced at US$499 and an 8 GB model at US$599 (both requiring a two-year contract), 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. From 2007 to 2011, Apple spent $647 million on advertising for the iPhone in the US.

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.

As of November 1, 2018, more than 2.2 billion iPhones had been sold. As of 2022, the iPhone accounts for 15.6% of global smartphone market share.

Models

42 iPhone models have been produced. The models in bold are devices of the latest generation:

iPhone models currently in production
Release date Model System-on-a-chip
September 24, 2021 iPhone 13 Apple A15
March 18, 2022 iPhone SE (3rd generation)
September 16, 2022 iPhone 14
October 7, 2022 iPhone 14 Plus
September 22, 2023 iPhone 15 Apple A16
iPhone 15 Plus
iPhone 15 Pro Apple A17
iPhone 15 Pro Max

A comparison of iPhone sizes from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 12

Production

Steve Jobs presents iPhone
Steve Jobs presents iPhone - MacWorld Conference & Expo 2007 - San Francisco

Up to the iPhone 4, all iPhones and other devices, such as iPod Touch models and iPads, were manufactured by Foxconn, based in Taiwan. In 2011, new CEO Tim Cook changed Apple's manufacturing strategy to diversify its suppliers. The iPhone 4s in 2012 was the first model to be manufactured simultaneously by two stand-alone companies: Foxconn and Pegatron, the latter also based in Taiwan. Although Foxconn still produces more iPhones, Pegatron's orders have been slowly increased: the company made part of the iPhone 5c line in 2013, and 30% of iPhone 6 devices in 2014. The 6 Plus model was produced solely by Foxconn. In 2019, Apple investigated reports that some Foxconn managers had used rejected parts to build iPhones. In India, Apple pays Wistron, a Taiwan-based manufacturer with a plant near Bangalore, to assemble iPhones to sell in the region.

In 2022, Apple announced that a portion of the iPhone 14 would be manufactured in Tamil Nadu, India, as a response to China's "zero-COVID" policy that has negatively affected global supply chains for many industries. Apple has stated that they plan to shift 25% of iPhone production to India by 2025.

Hardware

Apple directly sub-contracts hardware production to external OEM companies, maintaining a high degree of control over the end product. The iPhone contains most of the hardware parts of a typical modern smartphone. Some hardware elements, such as 3D Touch and the Taptic Engine, are unique to the iPhone. The main hardware of the iPhone is the touchscreen, with current models offering screens of 4.7 inches and larger. All iPhones include a rear-facing camera; the front-facing camera dates back to the iPhone 4. The iPhone 7 Plus introduced multiple lenses to the rear-facing camera. A range of sensors are also included on the device, such as a proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscopic sensor, magnetometer, facial recognition sensor or fingerprint sensor (depending on the model) and barometer. In 2022, Apple added satellite communications to the iPhone, with the release of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.

Operating system

The iPhone runs iOS. It is based on macOS's Darwin and many of its userland APIs, with Cocoa replaced by Cocoa Touch, and AppKit replaced by UIKit. The graphics stack runs on Metal, Apple's low-level graphics API. The iPhone comes with a set of bundled applications developed by Apple, and supports downloading third-party applications through the App Store.

Apple provides free updates to iOS over-the-air, or through Finder and iTunes on a computer. Major iOS releases have historically accompanied new iPhone models.

Marketing

The original iPhone was heavily promoted before its official announcement, creating buzz and anticipation. Upon its release, it was marketed heavily in television, web and print ads created in partnership with TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Apple's premium market positioning has led the iPhone to be seen as a status symbol.

The Apple ecosystem has been described as a key moat that increases iPhone brand loyalty. iMessage has especially been singled out, with its "green bubbles" phenomena. In iMessage, SMS messages from Android users appear as green bubble, rather than the blue bubbles used for texts from other iPhone users. Group chats between iOS and Android are poorly supported; reactions display as text, rather than bubbles, and images are sent through MMS, which degrades image quality. Some teens have described being "ostracized" after switching to Android, which Google has labelled "bullying". This has been described by critics as a key factor leading 87% of U.S. teenagers to use iPhones.

Retail strategy

Since 2013, iPhone buyers can obtain a trade-in discount when buying a new iPhone directly from Apple. The program aims to increase the number of customers who purchase iPhones at Apple Stores rather than carrier stores. In 2015, Apple unveiled the iPhone Upgrade Program, a 24-month leasing agreement, which Fortune described as a "change [in] iPhone owners' relationships with mobile carriers".

Repairability

IPhone 6s - opened-92987
iPhone 6s's interior; the left half contains the display and the right half contains hardware and battery

Only Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers are allowed by Apple to perform genuine replacements. Apple has taken steps to make third-party repairs more difficult. iPhone components are soldered, and many are glued together. iPhones receive low repairability scores, in part due to the difficulty of obtaining genuine parts, and the difficulty undertaking each repair. This has given rise to the right to repair movement, aimed at giving users cheaper options for repairing their phones. Apple has lobbied against right to repair legistation. Multiple jurisdictions aim to introduce right to repair laws, including the EU, U.K., and U.S.

In the past, Apple bricked iPhone 6 models after their home buttons were replaced, displaying an Error 53 message; Apple called this a bug, and released an update to address the issue. On iPhones with a Touch ID sensor, the home button cannot be replaced by users or independent repair shops without losing Touch ID functionality, since Apple has not made their calibration tool public.

In more recent models, starting with the iPhone XR, Apple displays warnings in the Settings app if the battery, display, or camera are replaced by a third party. Additionally, some features are disabled when a part labelled "non-genuine" is detected, like True Tone, or the battery health measurement. iFixit notes that a proprietary, cloud-linked System Configuration tool is required to "complete" a part repair, meaning that even replacing a genuine part with another genuine part will fail Apple's "genuine parts" check unless said tool is used.

In 2022, Apple rolled out a self-service repair program, allowing any user to buy parts, rent repair tools from Apple, and obtain repair manuals. The program received a degree of praise by iFixit and repair advocates, who also critically noted that Apple maintains control over the parts supply.

Security

The iPhone is regarded by security experts as more secure against common malware than Android. Less than 1% of mobile malware targets iOS.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: IPhone para niños

  • History of the iPhone
  • Apple Newton, an early personal digital assistant and the first tablet platform developed by Apple
  • Pocket-sized computer
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