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

iPhone 6 Is a Thin, Sexy Phone with a Killer CameraRecord Pre-orders for iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 PlusIt's Too BigiPhone 6
Reviving a dead synth with a Raspberry PiAndroidiMessage purgatoryiPhone and iPad Development
How Apple Protects Your iPhone from Your EmployerTydlig - Calculator ReimaginedA Folio That Packs a PunchMaps
The HTC OneAnd Then Steve Said, "Let There Be an iPhone"First Weekend iPhone Sales Top Nine Million, Sets New RecordAnandTech's iPhone 5s Review
The Short TailChargeKey for iPhone 5Apple - iPhone 5cMicrosoft's first act of business as Nokia owner? Cut the Lumia 1020 price
ChargeCard for iPhone 5FingerprintsHow will iPhones 5S and 5C be priced?Wishlist
The Long Farewell To RSSA Hack In The WildernessApple quietly kills iPod touch 4, intros camera-less $229 fifth-gen modelBurn, RSS, Burn!
Starbucks Still Gets Orders For 4,000 LattesPatienceThe Switcher's Application GuideHow to Switch to the Mac
Flickr-box-o-gram+iPhone BluesTwitterZag
RatchetGoogle Nexus 4 reviewiPadAnandTech - The iPhone 5 Review
ZigiPod Touch5iPhone 5
Infernal SeptemberRe-scoping, AgainSurviving RIMiOS: A visual history
No Windows Phone 8 upgrade for current phonesMusings on the Retina Pro and the Philosophy of Highway RobberySupposed new iPhone casings show upAn iPhone with a 16:9 display?
iPad Text Editors, ReviewedVarnishing RetinasThe 4-inch iPhoneThree
Propellerhead FigureThe Trodden PathPaddingiPhone sine qua non
iPhone, iPad MagSafe and stylusesScoring 2011's predictionsSublerApple iPhone 4S: Thoroughly Reviewed
The Fifth (in November)Taking Away The MagicHello, AndroidApple's 4M-iPhone-4S weekend in context
Instapaper 4.0iPhone 4S TeardownThe iPhone 4SiPhone 4S Pre-Orders Top 1 Million in 24 Hours
New iPhone portfolio vs. Average Sale PriceDeclutteringThe Four ScrewsThe iPhone Timeline
Apple Special Event October 2011iPhone 4S apparently leaked by iTunesThe Right QuestionApple overtakes Nokia in smartphone stakes
CloudyWindows Phone 7Atari’s Greatest HitsPing the Merciless
So a bar walks into an app...Hot Multitasking ActioniPhone vs Android Apps2011 is upon us
Smartphone UsersMy First Week with the iPhoneIn the PondI, for one, welcome my new amphibian overlords
Carpe TerramiCircuitPremium Cluelessness3 million and then some
Antenn-aid for iPhone 4So FarAirVideoMicrosoft COO Kevin Turner: 'The iPhone 4 Might be Their Vista'
iPhone 4Hideous PrintingCitrix 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 spoonOn iOS 4 and the Archaic iTunes ExperienceiOS 4 now available for your iPhone 3G, 3GS, newer-generation iPod touches
Find My iPhone App Now AvailablePost-NoteFaceTime video calling added to iPhone 4... and it's WiFi-onlyCut My SIM
A Services Menu for iPhoneChipping AwayiPhone 3GSSmokescreen
Taking a BreatherPalm Pre, Pixi and WebOSiPhone 3G Press CoverageGoogle Me Sideways
Thin ThoughtsThe real reason why Steve Jobs hates FlashWindows Live Messenger for iPhone unveiledSite Designs
MinimalismOpera Mini for iPhone different, not exactly betterMeanwhile, as I rest...Citrix Receiver for iPad
Sunny, with a chance of restApple holding iPhone OS 4 event, April 8th!Rumored iPhone OS multitasking would use Exposé-like featureStale Mail
Paul Thurrott's Curiously Shifting Thoughts on Copy-and-PasteDe-BuzzedThe iPhone obsessionMinor Adjustments
On iPad Punditry and CurmudgeonsRank and FileNew MobileMe Gallery App for iPhoneGordon, a Flash runtime written in pure JavaScript
Rain or Shine, Trouble Is MineThe Speculative Prehistory of the iPhone2009 in ReviewDACP
On Bits of Various Descriptions and MusicexpodiPhone Now 50% of All Mobile TrafficInfirmware
Dropbox Gets a New Home, iPhone AppBlackberry 9500 (Storm)My Snow Leopard experience so farAssistive Technologies
On Evernote, FNAC customer service, and lack of tech savvy and courtesy thereofDropbox iPhone appVodafone to Sell iPhone in UK and IrelandStepping into the offline chasm
O2 Loses iPhone Exclusivity In UKPrepare for the Worst: AT&T's MMS FridayMKVtoolsNetbooks, revisited but still found lacking
GrowliPhone OS 3.1 Update Refines iPhone UsageItems of Note on Note-TakingPhoneView
The Shiny, Shallow UIThere's an app for thatMaemo - The software behind your mobile computerGoogle Reader support
Schiller emailed Steven Frank, too(GSM) Service CodesUpdated plist suggests new Apple device "iProd" coming soonplaynice: make your iPhone autoupdate Google Latitude
CamerasUnsocialFull Commodore 64 Emulator Rejected from App StoreiPhone Provisioning and Management
OmoideReview: Apple iPhone 3G S and iPhone OS 3.0To Pre or not to Pre?iPhone Stencil Kit
TomTom for iPhoneiPhone 3GSThe Spartan Way3rd generation iPhone graphical rumor round-up
Photo: iPhone Launch Versus Palm PrePalm Pre video unboxing: Inside the US boxIndigoJorge Colombo | iSketches: Press
Nicolas Cannasse Blog - haXe for iPhoneFrom time to accessibility, or lack thereofEvernote for BlackBerry Is HereBlackBerry Curve 83XX overtakes iPhone 3G in US smartphone rankings
Munching Coffee BeansApple Posts $1.21 Billion Profit for Q2 2009Phasing InNo More OpenMoko Phone
Review: Skype for iPhone. Verdict: Awesome.SpeedLimitiPhone 3.0 Software AnnouncedWrapping up the week
Amazon's Kindle for iPhone hits the App StoreMobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998Apple Claims Jailbreaking An iPhone Is Copyright InfringementLong Missive From The Trenches Of Parenting
Will AT&T's Network FAIL Hurt the iPhone? (not bloody likely)iPhone MMSGraphvizGoogle Calendar and Contact Sync for iPhone
Building CoverFlow for Safari on iPhoneThe Sony ReaderiPhone 2.2 Update Image IssueUnited States Patent: 7479949
Doing Stuff, When I CanThe iPhone (and iPod touch): Apple's netbook?Pre-ludeA Word of warning concerning EXIF and the iPhone
Happy 0x07D9!Physicalising ebooks2008 in Review, 2009 HazyA Very Merry $HOLIDAY For You And Your Family
Citrix To Bring Millions of Windows Apps To iPhoneNotbooks and CraptopsThis post brought to you with a considerable amount of vim.More "niche" netbooks sold in 3Q2008 than iPhones
Nokia unveils flagship N97 phoneFive Things Nokia Needs To Address To Beat The iPhoneInstaviz: Graph Sketching for your iPhonePhone of the Year
Sacks of StuffiPhone 3G (temporarily?) trounces RAZR as top consumer phoneTouchTermiPhone Backup Extractor
Banca SAPOThe real G1 experience and what the industry can learnWherever NoteMobileMe
Evernote Offline Notes on iPhone and iPodGoogle LatLong: Google Earth now available for iPhoneSimplify MediaMobile Safari
Apple Reports Fourth Quarter ResultsOn Apple, Netbooks, and My Line of WorkBridging the iPhone GAPThe Voters Have Spoken
Google, T-Mobile Unveil New PhoneGaming in Real LifeSkyhook WirelessAbout the Mac OS X 10.5.5 Update
7 Days to GoiPhone X-Plane reviewApp stores and APIs: It's the ecosystem, stupidTale of a Netbook
So now what?Tethering possibly coming to an iPhone near youiPhone as sequencerTwo little tidbits..
Ars Technica Propagating Non-NewsWhat's Behind the iPhone 3G GlitchesGift Certificates for iPhone app testing, reviewsThree in a Row
iTW - a TiddlyWiki for iPhoneiPhone/iPod touch 2.0.1 softwareWelcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today!Palm Doc Converter
Instapaper on iPhoneActions Speak Louder Than WordsIn the meantimeDelicious 2.0
FailMeCloud WritingSo here's an idea or twoDoubleMe
Byline - Google Reader on the goExchange and iPhone, a complete mess?iPhone 3G Battery Life Beats the Competition, Apple's Own TestsImproving iPhone 3G Battery Life
The Early Days Of Palm 2.0iPhone Juice PackFive Random Notes on Apple and Related TopicsThe hidden financial impact of Apple's iPhone
iPhone Applications in PythoniPhone camera astroturfingNokia E71My new budget camera
Apple Introduces iPhone 3G Videoconferencing Kit, ZOMG!iPhone Pre-RegistrationIt's just a (3G) phoneSome of the missing bits
Mac OS X 10.5.3: sync Google ContactsApple takes delivery of 188 mysterious ocean containersBlackBerry 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-LaptopsiPhone - European Launch CoverageOffline Days
RoughlyDrafted disses the Blackberry 9000 - and looks childish doing soAdobe realizes SDK not enough for Flash on iPhoneAdobe says Flash is coming to the iPhoneiPhone Stats Astroturfing
iCopy - Copy and Paste for your iPhone and iPod TouchCrowdsourcing Dilbert TaggingThe Joy of WebpadsMono on the iPhone
The iPhone's Great Email DebateMusings on Photo GalleriesSun: We'll put Java on the iPhoneiPhone - Post-Launch Coverage
Apple - QuickTime - Apple March 6 EventApple Announces iPhone 2.0 Software BetaAppropriate amounts of funRestful Morning
Trism : Upcoming iPhone Game by DemiforceiPhone WebClip speed dialiPhone Software Roadmap Event, March 6thRegarding iPods, Developers and Attention Spans
Chinese input plugin for iPhoneSmugglers Return iPhones to ChinaChina Mobile: 400,000 iPhones are using our networkThe Google Myth Rolls to Mobile
3G iPhone and Femtocell Rumor MashupIPhone goes 16GB, iPod Touch up to 32GBAn update on my RSS setupTabulate
Apple Statement About Servicing iPhoneiPhone sales fall short of O2 targetKeynotesApple tells iPhone vendors not to reveal sales figures
Touching Base5 Things Nokia Needs To Learn From AppleThe Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless IndustryCES: iPhone hurt mobile gaming, expert says
Mobile Device of the Year, 2007Mac OS X market share sets new record at the end of 20072007 in Review (and hints towards 2008)Apple iPhone Already Leads Windows Mobile in US Market Share, Q3 2007
emTube - YouTube Client for Series 60Sore FeetWhen religion bitesGoogle (Calendar) Sync
Kindling Mobilitystevenf.com: All I Want For ChristmasA Month Of Seeing SpotsBritish iPhone Users Complain Of Serious Reception Problems
Free IMAP for GmailThird Party Applications on the iPhone... TranslatedStacks on the iPhoneiPhone SDK in February
Apple iPhone Wid^H^H^HWebapps DirectoryApple - iPhone - Switch AdsNokia Share 3.0If wishes were iPhones, then beggars would call
Nokia Phones - Open To AnythingiPhone Human Interface GuidelinesUp next for Apple: the return of the NewtonYou don't get to kill my cow.
Bricks Ain't Hard, Life IsTwo Months With An E90Could The Apple Pundits Stop Writing About Mobility, Please?iPhone and iPod: contain or disengage?
State of the NationNokia - E51 Press ReleaseLive from Apple's "Mum is no longer the word" event in LondonRadar Bugs I'd Like To See
iFixit iPod Touch DisassemblyEternal September 2.0I Dub Thee "iPad"The complete guide to PDFs in iTunes
Native iPhone ebook readerApollo IMApple Has a Long History of Screwing Early AdoptersYou Have To Touch To Sync
A Question For Steve JobsiSuppliHotAirThe Beat Goes On, The Hype SkyrocketsiPod Touch
The nPhoneApple secures Europe iPhone revenue dealsAdobe goes H.264The IPhone Is Internet Explorer 4 All Over Again
Fully unlocked iPhone available in Hong Kong5 iPhone Apps I'd Like To See From AppleTwo-way Video Conferencing for iPhoneTen Nine Feeds I Stopped Reading, And Why
Das KeyboardTrick your iPhone voicemail into using voice recording dataiPoor - The Real iPhone Killermobileterminal for the iPhone
Report: Google shows phone prototype to vendorsThree in a RowRSS Mixer Prototype : Custom Feeds for iPhone and WidgetsApple iPhone Bluetooth Headset - iLounge Review
PopCap dips its toes in iPhone gamesFive Things I Can't Stand In Opera MiniTelstra iPhone SIM hack videoiPhone and the analyst delusions
IPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says - New York Timesmutant's musings: The Egregious Incompetence of MotorolaiPhone IMAP security vulnerabilityW2 Wiki with iUI
PeekingAmazon.co.uk: Apple iPhone 8GBiPhone v1.0 Bugsiphonedisk - mount your iPhone filesystem
Online Game: BrickShooterFive Incongruous Things About The iPhoneWebVNC - VNC on your iPhoneRussell Beattie's New Weblog
iPhone - ReviewsiPhone in depth: the Ars reviewiUI Music DemoOn the iPhone SDK (or lack thereof)
iPhone first impressionsFeatured LinksiPhone's AJAX SDK: No, thank you.Apple (Support?) In Portugal
iMusings - the iPhone, Standards, and jQueryStray NewsiPhone RemoteiPhone+AT&T Bill=Uh-Oh
Someone Isn't Getting The European Mobile Market...Business Phone ScorecardDear Lazyweb: Mandarin on Series 60?iPhone - Hardware
The Ultimate iPhone Timeline/Roundup?iPhone - From Announcement To LaunchThe Million-Dollar HTTP RedirectBundled Randomness
My New PhoneTold You SoiPhoneyA Little Perspective
The Next Few Weeks of iPhone NewsBeing of ServiceBlinkOn corporate security and the iPhone
Never Procrastinate Language StudiesHaving Fun With Mail SignaturesThe Trojan Aqua HorseScoring Stuff
Hyperbole On The Loose, TwicePlateauMusical Counterpoint To The Hypothetical Humorous Aspects Of iPhone Pricing (And Other Things)The Last 48h
The Leopard That Slipped On An iPhoneOn The "Final" Wii Internet ChanneliTunes 7.1The Monday After The Oscars
The Last Phone You'll Ever WearAh, The Wonderful InternetRe-surfacedSo, Where's My Tablet?
Random DipsTwitter/Blackberry/Google/Maps/TinyURL MashupiPhone UpdatesiPhone - The Early Years
Teeter-TotterThe iPhone, At Long LastMulling Team Management ToolsLooking Forward to 2007
2006, From My PerspectiveRolling My Own iPhoneSanta's New PhoneThe iPhone Rumor Bullshit Bingo
The Weekend that SockedI Still Hate MondaysToo Many News Can Be No NewsSunny
Halibuts and ShrimpsAh, Mondays.The Apple+Google Hype, iPhoto, and a Reality CheckMid-Point
Random WalksiPod (Classic)Steve Jobs (1955-2011)Showtime
iBreakWading In.Mac's Missed OpportunitiesGreen Rings
Dipping My ToesAppleMotorola/ROKRBack
News RushSteady10.4.3 Odds and EndsSome Folk Just Don't (Want To) Understand
Two BitsReturn of the QuickiesAfter the iPhone, Silence...SyncTunes
And Now, The Real News: iPod nanoNext Week, We'll Know All About The iPhoneiPhone Madness, Again (and Again, and Again...)Back to Work
The iPhone, at last?Motorola/E790Squeeze Me, I'm StressedThe Seven Portents Of The Applocalypse
Nearly Halfway ThereRandom Thresholds Of FeasibilityMore BacklogOh, The Stupidity
BacklogMomentous StuffMVNOReal News
blog.flush();28 DegreesSaturday Morning LinksLink Mode
Where Do You Want To Groove Today?Keynote IntermezzoDeflating HypePredictions for 2005
2004 in ReviewThe Sub-$500 Mac, and why it's not about the iPod2004 Predictions, RevisitedFirst Credible News of the iPhone?
Apple and IBM, Sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-GDead Tree ModePage Not Found