The iPhone Timeline

Introduction

What this is not: This is not an attempt at keeping track of every mention of the iPhone, concept designs, re-hashed PR, near-identical transcriptions of articles from news agencies, mentions of an Apple MVNO, links to rumor site drivel, and a lot of pie-in-the-sky ideas that are usually floated by pundits (who often have absolutely no idea of what is involved in developing phone hardware).

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The iPhone is Apple’s foray into the world of mobile phones, and the first generation device was announced in January 9th 2007 after years and years of speculation.

I decided to start keeping track of relevant (or irrelevant) mentions of it around mid-2004 or so, a few months before the ROKR launch turned the whole affair into something of a bad taste soap opera.

Although I don’t really keep track of iPod Touch news, there is a pattern of sorts to iPhone, iPod and OS announcements and releases – the iPod is usually released without any announcement delays. There’s a more detailed one on Wikipedia, too.

Year iPhone iPod Touch iPad iOS
Ann. Rel. Rel. Ann. Ann. Rel. Dev. Rel. (GM)
2007 Jan 9 Jun 29 Sep 13 1.0 – Jan 9
2008 Jun 9 (3G) Jul 11 Sep 9 2.0 – Jun 9
2009 Jun 9 (3GS) Jun 19 Sep 9 3.0 – Jun 9
2010 Jun 7 (4) Jun 24 Sep 7 Jan 27 Apr 3 4.0 – Jun 7
2011 Oct 4 (4S) Oct 14 Oct 4 Mar 2 (2) Mar 11 5.0 – Oct 4
2012 Sep 12 (5) Sep 14 Sep 14
(for Oct. rel.)
Mar 7 Mar 16 (3) 6.0 – Sep 12

Motivation

At the time I started doing this (and for a very long time up to the actual announcement), I found the notion of Apple doing a mobile phone somewhat ridiculous, since there was no clear intersection between the iPod and mobile phone markets and there was already far too much bloat on phones.

Furthermore, Apple would have to deal with a lot of regulatory (and technology) issues that were not part of their core business, and they would always have significant difficulties where it regards being able to control the entire user experience from the moment they attached something to a carrier.

The Apple Way

Steve, however, turned the entire notion on its head and, after the ROKR fiasco, decided to do precisely that: acquire the required expertise, build (or design) the hardware from the ground up and create (in opposition to the prevalent ethos of most phone manufacturers) a virtually closed, Apple-centric mobile phone.

Their going with AT&T was not an accident (what with Cingular being notoriously lacking in advanced mobile services), and their European strategy was necessarily different. Apple has, in fact, pulled a substantial stunt in the US regarding the way they manage their relationship with carriers, even though their going with EDGE at the beginning meant that the initial device had little practical interest to operators in UMTS-enabled (and HSDPA-driven) Europe – something that changed markedly with the 3G device.

The Timeline

Here it is, without further ado, broken into sections, and excluding the iPad and the iPod Touch for simplicity’s sake:

Phase Notes
iPhone 5 The widescreen display, increased processing model, with its new connector.
iPhone 4S The revised 4th generation, with its speech recognition feature, called Siri.
iPhone 4 The 4th generation, with its video calling feature, called FaceTime.
iPhone 3GS 3GS-era references.
iPhone 3G another summary table covering the 3G edition and European re-launches.
Reviews a summary table of all reviews around the US launch date
European Launch news coverage for the european launch on and around Sep 18th
Post-Launch generic news coverage on and after Jun 29th up to the european Launch on Sep 18th
From Announcement To Launch when the panic started.
The Early Years assorted rumors, mostly, with interspersed opinion. A lot of them.

I also keep a set of pages for development resources, some notes on the Safari variant that runs on the device and a few others on the hardware, now mostly outdated.

My own opinions are interspersed where appropriate, and you can also read my first impressions (post-launch) and mull on the fact that it didn’t seem to include any particular Assistive Technologies on the first release – only on the 3GS did those become a reality.


See Also

WishlistThe Instant Mess We're IniPad at a CrossroadsiPhone 6 Is a Thin, Sexy Phone with a Killer Camera
Record Pre-orders for iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 PlusIt's Too BigiPhone 6Reviving a dead synth with a Raspberry Pi
AndroidiMessage purgatoryiPhone and iPad DevelopmentHow Apple Protects Your iPhone from Your Employer
Tydlig - Calculator ReimaginedA Folio That Packs a PunchMapsThe HTC One
And Then Steve Said, "Let There Be an iPhone"First Weekend iPhone Sales Top Nine Million, Sets New RecordAnandTech's iPhone 5s ReviewThe Short Tail
ChargeKey for iPhone 5Apple - iPhone 5cMicrosoft's first act of business as Nokia owner? Cut the Lumia 1020 priceChargeCard for iPhone 5
FingerprintsHow will iPhones 5S and 5C be priced?The Long Farewell To RSSA Hack In The Wilderness
Apple quietly kills iPod touch 4, intros camera-less $229 fifth-gen modelBurn, RSS, Burn!Starbucks Still Gets Orders For 4,000 LattesPatience
The Switcher's Application GuideHow to Switch to the MacFlickr-box-o-gram+iPhone Blues
TwitterZagRatchetGoogle Nexus 4 review
iPadAnandTech - The iPhone 5 ReviewZigiPod Touch
5iPhone 5Infernal SeptemberRe-scoping, Again
Surviving RIMiOS: A visual historyNo Windows Phone 8 upgrade for current phonesMusings on the Retina Pro and the Philosophy of Highway Robbery
Supposed new iPhone casings show upAn iPhone with a 16:9 display?iPad Text Editors, ReviewedVarnishing Retinas
The 4-inch iPhoneThreePropellerhead FigureThe Trodden Path
PaddingiPhone sine qua noniPhone, iPad MagSafe and stylusesScoring 2011's predictions
SublerApple iPhone 4S: Thoroughly ReviewedThe Fifth (in November)Taking Away The Magic
Hello, AndroidApple's 4M-iPhone-4S weekend in contextInstapaper 4.0iPhone 4S Teardown
The iPhone 4SiPhone 4S Pre-Orders Top 1 Million in 24 HoursNew iPhone portfolio vs. Average Sale PriceDecluttering
The Four ScrewsThe iPhone TimelineApple Special Event October 2011iPhone 4S apparently leaked by iTunes
The Right QuestionApple overtakes Nokia in smartphone stakesCloudyWindows Phone 7
Atari’s Greatest HitsPing the MercilessSo a bar walks into an app...Hot Multitasking Action
iPhone vs Android Apps2011 is upon usSmartphone UsersMy First Week with the iPhone
In the PondI, for one, welcome my new amphibian overlordsCarpe TerramiCircuit
Premium Cluelessness3 million and then someAntenn-aid for iPhone 4So Far
AirVideoMicrosoft COO Kevin Turner: 'The iPhone 4 Might be Their Vista'iPhone 4Hideous Printing
Citrix Receiver on iPhone 4Translation From Apple's Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the 'Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4'Cisco unveils Cius Android tablet with HD video capabilitiesThere is no spoon
On iOS 4 and the Archaic iTunes ExperienceiOS 4 now available for your iPhone 3G, 3GS, newer-generation iPod touchesFind My iPhone App Now AvailablePost-Note
FaceTime video calling added to iPhone 4... and it's WiFi-onlyCut My SIMA Services Menu for iPhoneChipping Away
iPhone 3GSSmokescreenTaking a BreatherPalm Pre, Pixi and WebOS
iPhone 3G Press CoverageGoogle Me SidewaysThin ThoughtsThe real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash
Windows Live Messenger for iPhone unveiledSite DesignsMinimalismOpera Mini for iPhone different, not exactly better
Meanwhile, as I rest...Citrix Receiver for iPadSunny, with a chance of restApple holding iPhone OS 4 event, April 8th!
Rumored iPhone OS multitasking would use Exposé-like featureStale MailPaul Thurrott's Curiously Shifting Thoughts on Copy-and-PasteDe-Buzzed
The iPhone obsessionMinor AdjustmentsOn iPad Punditry and CurmudgeonsRank and File
New MobileMe Gallery App for iPhoneGordon, a Flash runtime written in pure JavaScriptRain or Shine, Trouble Is MineThe Speculative Prehistory of the iPhone
2009 in ReviewDACPOn Bits of Various Descriptions and Musicexpod
iPhone Now 50% of All Mobile TrafficInfirmwareDropbox Gets a New Home, iPhone AppBlackberry 9500 (Storm)
My Snow Leopard experience so farAssistive TechnologiesOn Evernote, FNAC customer service, and lack of tech savvy and courtesy thereofDropbox iPhone app
Vodafone to Sell iPhone in UK and IrelandStepping into the offline chasmO2 Loses iPhone Exclusivity In UKPrepare for the Worst: AT&T's MMS Friday
MKVtoolsNetbooks, revisited but still found lackingGrowliPhone OS 3.1 Update Refines iPhone Usage
Items of Note on Note-TakingPhoneViewThe Shiny, Shallow UIThere's an app for that
Maemo - The software behind your mobile computerGoogle Reader supportSchiller emailed Steven Frank, too(GSM) Service Codes
Updated plist suggests new Apple device "iProd" coming soonplaynice: make your iPhone autoupdate Google LatitudeCamerasUnsocial
Full Commodore 64 Emulator Rejected from App StoreiPhone Provisioning and ManagementOmoideReview: Apple iPhone 3G S and iPhone OS 3.0
To Pre or not to Pre?iPhone Stencil KitTomTom for iPhoneiPhone 3GS
The Spartan Way3rd generation iPhone graphical rumor round-upPhoto: iPhone Launch Versus Palm PrePalm Pre video unboxing: Inside the US box
IndigoJorge Colombo | iSketches: PressNicolas Cannasse Blog - haXe for iPhoneFrom time to accessibility, or lack thereof
Evernote for BlackBerry Is HereBlackBerry Curve 83XX overtakes iPhone 3G in US smartphone rankingsMunching Coffee BeansApple Posts $1.21 Billion Profit for Q2 2009
Phasing InNo More OpenMoko PhoneReview: Skype for iPhone. Verdict: Awesome.SpeedLimit
iPhone 3.0 Software AnnouncedWrapping up the weekAmazon's Kindle for iPhone hits the App StoreMobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998
Apple Claims Jailbreaking An iPhone Is Copyright InfringementLong Missive From The Trenches Of ParentingWill AT&T's Network FAIL Hurt the iPhone? (not bloody likely)iPhone MMS
GraphvizGoogle Calendar and Contact Sync for iPhoneBuilding CoverFlow for Safari on iPhoneThe Sony Reader
iPhone 2.2 Update Image IssueUnited States Patent: 7479949Doing Stuff, When I CanThe iPhone (and iPod touch): Apple's netbook?
Pre-ludeA Word of warning concerning EXIF and the iPhoneHappy 0x07D9!Physicalising ebooks
2008 in Review, 2009 HazyA Very Merry $HOLIDAY For You And Your FamilyCitrix To Bring Millions of Windows Apps To iPhoneNotbooks and Craptops
This post brought to you with a considerable amount of vim.More "niche" netbooks sold in 3Q2008 than iPhonesNokia unveils flagship N97 phoneFive Things Nokia Needs To Address To Beat The iPhone
Instaviz: Graph Sketching for your iPhonePhone of the YearSacks of StuffiPhone 3G (temporarily?) trounces RAZR as top consumer phone
TouchTermiPhone Backup ExtractorBanca SAPOThe real G1 experience and what the industry can learn
Wherever NoteMobileMeEvernote Offline Notes on iPhone and iPodGoogle LatLong: Google Earth now available for iPhone
Simplify MediaMobile SafariApple Reports Fourth Quarter ResultsOn Apple, Netbooks, and My Line of Work
Bridging the iPhone GAPThe Voters Have SpokenGoogle, T-Mobile Unveil New PhoneGaming in Real Life
Skyhook WirelessAbout the Mac OS X 10.5.5 Update7 Days to GoiPhone X-Plane review
App stores and APIs: It's the ecosystem, stupidTale of a NetbookSo now what?Tethering possibly coming to an iPhone near you
iPhone as sequencerTwo little tidbits..Ars Technica Propagating Non-NewsWhat's Behind the iPhone 3G Glitches
Gift Certificates for iPhone app testing, reviewsThree in a RowiTW - a TiddlyWiki for iPhoneiPhone/iPod touch 2.0.1 software
Welcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today!Palm Doc ConverterInstapaper on iPhoneActions Speak Louder Than Words
In the meantimeDelicious 2.0FailMeCloud Writing
So here's an idea or twoDoubleMeByline - Google Reader on the goExchange and iPhone, a complete mess?
iPhone 3G Battery Life Beats the Competition, Apple's Own TestsImproving iPhone 3G Battery LifeThe Early Days Of Palm 2.0iPhone Juice Pack
Five Random Notes on Apple and Related TopicsThe hidden financial impact of Apple's iPhoneiPhone Applications in PythoniPhone camera astroturfing
Nokia E71My new budget cameraApple Introduces iPhone 3G Videoconferencing Kit, ZOMG!iPhone Pre-Registration
It's just a (3G) phoneSome of the missing bitsMac OS X 10.5.3: sync Google ContactsApple takes delivery of 188 mysterious ocean containers
BlackBerry Bold's Similarities to iPhone Purely Coincidence, ReallyBrand new Google Reader for iPhone (and iPod Touch)Vodafone to Offer Apple's iPhone in Ten MarketsMe, Mini-Me, Mini Attention Spans and Mini-Laptops
iPhone - European Launch CoverageOffline DaysRoughlyDrafted disses the Blackberry 9000 - and looks childish doing soAdobe realizes SDK not enough for Flash on iPhone
Adobe says Flash is coming to the iPhoneiPhone Stats AstroturfingiCopy - Copy and Paste for your iPhone and iPod TouchCrowdsourcing Dilbert Tagging
The Joy of WebpadsMono on the iPhoneThe iPhone's Great Email DebateMusings on Photo Galleries
Sun: We'll put Java on the iPhoneiPhone - Post-Launch CoverageApple - QuickTime - Apple March 6 EventApple Announces iPhone 2.0 Software Beta
Appropriate amounts of funRestful MorningTrism : Upcoming iPhone Game by DemiforceiPhone WebClip speed dial
iPhone Software Roadmap Event, March 6thRegarding iPods, Developers and Attention SpansChinese input plugin for iPhoneSmugglers Return iPhones to China
China Mobile: 400,000 iPhones are using our networkThe Google Myth Rolls to Mobile3G iPhone and Femtocell Rumor MashupIPhone goes 16GB, iPod Touch up to 32GB
An update on my RSS setupTabulateApple Statement About Servicing iPhoneiPhone sales fall short of O2 target
KeynotesApple tells iPhone vendors not to reveal sales figuresTouching Base5 Things Nokia Needs To Learn From Apple
The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless IndustryCES: iPhone hurt mobile gaming, expert saysMobile Device of the Year, 2007Mac OS X market share sets new record at the end of 2007
2007 in Review (and hints towards 2008)Apple iPhone Already Leads Windows Mobile in US Market Share, Q3 2007emTube - YouTube Client for Series 60Sore Feet
When religion bitesGoogle (Calendar) SyncKindling Mobilitystevenf.com: All I Want For Christmas
A Month Of Seeing SpotsBritish iPhone Users Complain Of Serious Reception ProblemsFree IMAP for GmailThird Party Applications on the iPhone... Translated
Stacks on the iPhoneiPhone SDK in FebruaryApple iPhone Wid^H^H^HWebapps DirectoryApple - iPhone - Switch Ads
Nokia Share 3.0If wishes were iPhones, then beggars would callNokia Phones - Open To AnythingiPhone Human Interface Guidelines
Up next for Apple: the return of the NewtonYou don't get to kill my cow.Bricks Ain't Hard, Life IsTwo Months With An E90
Could The Apple Pundits Stop Writing About Mobility, Please?iPhone and iPod: contain or disengage?State of the NationNokia - E51 Press Release
Live from Apple's "Mum is no longer the word" event in LondonRadar Bugs I'd Like To SeeiFixit iPod Touch DisassemblyEternal September 2.0
I Dub Thee "iPad"The complete guide to PDFs in iTunesNative iPhone ebook readerApollo IM
Apple Has a Long History of Screwing Early AdoptersYou Have To Touch To SyncA Question For Steve JobsiSuppliHotAir
The Beat Goes On, The Hype SkyrocketsiPod TouchThe nPhoneApple secures Europe iPhone revenue deals
Adobe goes H.264The IPhone Is Internet Explorer 4 All Over AgainFully unlocked iPhone available in Hong Kong5 iPhone Apps I'd Like To See From Apple
Two-way Video Conferencing for iPhoneTen Nine Feeds I Stopped Reading, And WhyDas KeyboardTrick your iPhone voicemail into using voice recording data
iPoor - The Real iPhone Killermobileterminal for the iPhoneReport: Google shows phone prototype to vendorsThree in a Row
RSS Mixer Prototype : Custom Feeds for iPhone and WidgetsApple iPhone Bluetooth Headset - iLounge ReviewPopCap dips its toes in iPhone gamesFive Things I Can't Stand In Opera Mini
Telstra iPhone SIM hack videoiPhone and the analyst delusionsIPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says - New York Timesmutant's musings: The Egregious Incompetence of Motorola
iPhone IMAP security vulnerabilityW2 Wiki with iUIPeekingAmazon.co.uk: Apple iPhone 8GB
iPhone v1.0 Bugsiphonedisk - mount your iPhone filesystemOnline Game: BrickShooterFive Incongruous Things About The iPhone
WebVNC - VNC on your iPhoneRussell Beattie's New WeblogiPhone - ReviewsiPhone in depth: the Ars review
iUI Music DemoOn the iPhone SDK (or lack thereof)iPhone first impressionsFeatured Links
iPhone's AJAX SDK: No, thank you.Apple (Support?) In PortugaliMusings - the iPhone, Standards, and jQueryStray News
iPhone RemoteiPhone+AT&T Bill=Uh-OhSomeone Isn't Getting The European Mobile Market...Business Phone Scorecard
Dear Lazyweb: Mandarin on Series 60?iPhone - HardwareThe Ultimate iPhone Timeline/Roundup?iPhone - From Announcement To Launch
The Million-Dollar HTTP RedirectBundled RandomnessMy New PhoneTold You So
iPhoneyA Little PerspectiveThe Next Few Weeks of iPhone NewsBeing of Service
BlinkOn corporate security and the iPhoneNever Procrastinate Language StudiesHaving Fun With Mail Signatures
The Trojan Aqua HorseScoring StuffHyperbole On The Loose, TwicePlateau
Musical Counterpoint To The Hypothetical Humorous Aspects Of iPhone Pricing (And Other Things)The Last 48hThe Leopard That Slipped On An iPhoneOn The "Final" Wii Internet Channel
iTunes 7.1The Monday After The OscarsThe Last Phone You'll Ever WearAh, The Wonderful Internet
Re-surfacedSo, Where's My Tablet?Random DipsTwitter/Blackberry/Google/Maps/TinyURL Mashup
iPhone UpdatesiPhone - The Early YearsTeeter-TotterThe iPhone, At Long Last
Mulling Team Management ToolsLooking Forward to 20072006, From My PerspectiveRolling My Own iPhone
Santa's New PhoneThe iPhone Rumor Bullshit BingoThe Weekend that SockedI Still Hate Mondays
Too Many News Can Be No NewsSunnyHalibuts and ShrimpsAh, Mondays.
The Apple+Google Hype, iPhoto, and a Reality CheckMid-PointRandom WalksiPod (Classic)
Steve Jobs (1955-2011)ShowtimeiBreakWading In
.Mac's Missed OpportunitiesGreen RingsDipping My ToesApple
Motorola/ROKRBackNews RushSteady
10.4.3 Odds and EndsSome Folk Just Don't (Want To) UnderstandTwo BitsReturn of the Quickies
After the iPhone, Silence...SyncTunesAnd Now, The Real News: iPod nanoNext Week, We'll Know All About The iPhone
iPhone Madness, Again (and Again, and Again...)Back to WorkThe iPhone, at last?Motorola/E790
Squeeze Me, I'm StressedThe Seven Portents Of The ApplocalypseNearly Halfway ThereRandom Thresholds Of Feasibility
More BacklogOh, The StupidityBacklogMomentous Stuff
MVNOReal Newsblog.flush();28 Degrees
Saturday Morning LinksLink ModeWhere Do You Want To Groove Today?Keynote Intermezzo
Deflating HypePredictions for 20052004 in ReviewThe Sub-$500 Mac, and why it's not about the iPod
2004 Predictions, RevisitedFirst Credible News of the iPhone?Apple and IBM, Sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-GDead Tree Mode
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