Apple introduced the first iPhone 15 years ago. Here’s a look back at everything that’s changed.

Fifteen years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. From its humble beginnings as a bulky device dismissed by naysayers for being too expensive for mass markets, to something many people can’t imagine living without. It’s been a wild ride, in fact it feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the 10th anniversary. Speculation for the iPhone 14 has already started, but let’s take a minute to look back and celebrate the iPhone’s 15th birthday. 2007: The very first iPhoneThe iPhone was such a novel concept that Steve Jobs introduced it by describing it as a touchscreen iPod that makes calls and also has the internet. But with a puny 4GB of storage and a $499 price tag, the world would forever be changed.

Introduced at the MacWorld Expo 15 years ago today.
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2008: The iPhone we know and love starts to take form iPhone 3G The the first iPhone was really about introducing the concept, but the second generation of iPhone came with the iconic features that are now ubiquitous to smartphone users: GPS tracking, the App Store, and push notifications.

Imagine, only $199 for an iPhone.
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2009: “Twice as fast, at half the price” iPhone 3GS The third generation unveiled an early iteration of voice control, sophisticated camera features that established the iPhone as the gold standard of this feature for many years to come, and baseline storage of 16GB for $199.

The iPhone 3GS was the first iPhone to be sold in South Korea.
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2010: A new design comes with new problemsiPhone 4 It’s hard to imagine a phone without a front-facing camera, but thanks to the iPhone 4, we don’t have to. This iPhone’s squared-off edges was a departure from its rounded predecessors. Unfortunately, the design came at a cost. Because of the internal placement of the antenna, holding the iPhone inhibited network reception. With its new retina display, there were also many complaints of a yellowish discoloration that prompted an official statement from Apple.

By this point, Jobs was already battling pancreatic cancer, and his appearance was notable thinner.
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2011: The world says hello to Siri, but farewell to Steve Jobs iPhone 4S Apple introduced several new features that still impact the way we interact with technology: Siri — an evolved but not perfect — form of the previous virtual assistant, iCloud storage, and iMessage. After stepping down as CEO several weeks earlier, a day after the iPhone 4s was released, Steve Jobs died of complications from pancreatic cancer.

For the first time as new CEO, Tim Cook introduces the iPhone 4S.
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2012: This year’s big reveal is… a lightning port? iPhone 5 This year’s iPhone was thinner, lighter, and featured a lightning port instead of the 30-pin dock connector. The somewhat underwhelming announcements prompted people to wonder about the future of Apple without Steve Jobs.

The iPhone 5 with its smaller and more powerful lightning port compared to the iPhone 4 with a 30-pin dock connector.
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2013: Apple experiments with the two-tiered modeliPhone 5c and iPhone 5s This was the first year that Apple unveiled two iPhones to appeal to budget-friendly consumers. The iPhone 5s came with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the home button, AirDrop, and new camera features like Burst Mode and Slo-Mo videos. The iPhone 5s had mostly the same features but was with made plastic casing instead of metal. The iPhone 5s and 5c failed to impress investors which reignited concerns about Apple without Jobs.

The iPhone 5c with some interesting color choices at an Apple Store in Palo Alto, CA.
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2014: The iPhone goes big iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 PlusWith the 5c and 5s also on the market, there were now four different models of the iPhone, which would become commonplace as Apple continued to release several new models ever year. At 4.7 and 5.5 inches respectively, the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were a big hit especially in Chinese markets. Apple also introduced us to Apple Pay and the Health app.

Going bigger was a global success for Apple
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2015: Rose gold captures the hearts of millennials everywhereiPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus For a few years now, the annual iPhone events revealed less groundbreaking features and more all-around advances and improvements. This year was no different, unless you consider the rose gold color option as groundbreaking.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in [gasp] rose gold.
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2016: RIP headphone jackiPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone SE Apple removed the headphone jack to apparently make room for other internal components, which caused an uproar. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus came with a headphone adaptor, but as Mashable accurately described, “It’s a miserable compromise that adds a bouncy white phallus to your otherwise sleek iPhone.” Ouch.

Phil Schiller, senior VP of marketing introduces the controversial headphone adapter.
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2017: You can now unlock your phone with your faceiPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X With the iPhone X, Apple introduced Face ID, which also meant the removal of the home screen button but the addition of the controversial notch. In case this was too much of a change for Apple users, there was also the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus that had a more classic design.

The iPhone X has a sleeker look without the home screen button, but introduced the dreaded notch.
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2018: All-around upgrades are enough to please the massesiPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, iPhone XRBig edge-to-edge screens (5.8-inch for the iPhone Xs and 6.5-inch for the iPhone Xs Max), OLED display and advanced camera features made this generation a worthy improvement of the iPhone X.

Phil Schiller introduces the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max.
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2019: Sure, let’s add another lensiPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max All jokes aside about the flashy three-lens design, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro received favorable reviews and is still considered a good buy several generations later, thanks to its camera features and long battery life.

Despite some jokes, the iPhone 11’s three-lens design has creates amazing images.
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2020: The iPhone gets 5GiPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE 2nd Gen This was touted as the first iPhone with built-in 5G, but insiders knew that was mostly a marketing ploy since 5G wasn’t (and still isn’t) that useful yet. Apple also released a mini version of the standard size, but it lagged in sales, suggesting that sometimes bigger is better.

Both ends of the iPhone 12 size spectrum on display.
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2021: The iPhone may have jumped the shark, but it doesn’t really matteriPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max While not a game-changer, all-around improvements to battery life, camera, and battery life has made the iPhone 13 generally a hit, despite its hefty price tag, that stubborn notch, and criticisms that the tech giant has been coasting for a while. Regardless, the world will be watching to see what Apple comes up with next.

The iPhone 13 lineup in all its glory.
Credit: Getty

Happy birthday iPhone, here’s to 15 more.

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