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

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?WishlistThe Long Farewell To RSS
A 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 Lattes
PatienceThe Switcher's Application GuideHow to Switch to the MacFlickr-box-o-gram+
iPhone BluesTwitterZagRatchet
Google Nexus 4 reviewiPadAnandTech - The iPhone 5 ReviewZig
iPod Touch5iPhone 5Infernal September
Re-scoping, AgainSurviving RIMiOS: A visual historyNo Windows Phone 8 upgrade for current phones
Musings on the Retina Pro and the Philosophy of Highway RobberySupposed new iPhone casings show upAn iPhone with a 16:9 display?iPad Text Editors, Reviewed
Varnishing RetinasThe 4-inch iPhoneThreePropellerhead Figure
The Trodden PathPaddingiPhone sine qua noniPhone, iPad MagSafe and styluses
Scoring 2011's predictionsSublerApple iPhone 4S: Thoroughly ReviewedThe Fifth (in November)
Taking Away The MagicHello, AndroidApple's 4M-iPhone-4S weekend in contextInstapaper 4.0
iPhone 4S TeardownThe iPhone 4SiPhone 4S Pre-Orders Top 1 Million in 24 HoursNew iPhone portfolio vs. Average Sale Price
DeclutteringThe Four ScrewsThe iPhone TimelineApple Special Event October 2011
iPhone 4S apparently leaked by iTunesThe Right QuestionApple overtakes Nokia in smartphone stakesCloudy
Windows Phone 7Atari’s Greatest HitsPing the MercilessSo a bar walks into an app...
Hot Multitasking ActioniPhone vs Android Apps2011 is upon usSmartphone Users
My First Week with the iPhoneIn the PondI, for one, welcome my new amphibian overlordsCarpe Terram
iCircuitPremium Cluelessness3 million and then someAntenn-aid for iPhone 4
So FarAirVideoMicrosoft COO Kevin Turner: 'The iPhone 4 Might be Their Vista'iPhone 4
Hideous 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 capabilities
There is no spoonOn iOS 4 and the Archaic iTunes ExperienceiOS 4 now available for your iPhone 3G, 3GS, newer-generation iPod touchesFind My iPhone App Now Available
Post-NoteFaceTime video calling added to iPhone 4... and it's WiFi-onlyCut My SIMA Services Menu for iPhone
Chipping AwayiPhone 3GSSmokescreenTaking a Breather
Palm Pre, Pixi and WebOSiPhone 3G Press CoverageGoogle Me SidewaysThin Thoughts
The real reason why Steve Jobs hates FlashWindows Live Messenger for iPhone unveiledSite DesignsMinimalism
Opera Mini for iPhone different, not exactly betterMeanwhile, as I rest...Citrix Receiver for iPadSunny, with a chance of rest
Apple 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-Paste
De-BuzzedThe iPhone obsessionMinor AdjustmentsOn iPad Punditry and Curmudgeons
Rank and FileNew MobileMe Gallery App for iPhoneGordon, a Flash runtime written in pure JavaScriptRain or Shine, Trouble Is Mine
The Speculative Prehistory of the iPhone2009 in ReviewDACPOn Bits of Various Descriptions and Music
expodiPhone Now 50% of All Mobile TrafficInfirmwareDropbox Gets a New Home, iPhone App
Blackberry 9500 (Storm)My Snow Leopard experience so farAssistive TechnologiesOn Evernote, FNAC customer service, and lack of tech savvy and courtesy thereof
Dropbox iPhone appVodafone to Sell iPhone in UK and IrelandStepping into the offline chasmO2 Loses iPhone Exclusivity In UK
Prepare for the Worst: AT&T's MMS FridayMKVtoolsNetbooks, revisited but still found lackingGrowl
iPhone OS 3.1 Update Refines iPhone UsageItems of Note on Note-TakingPhoneViewThe Shiny, Shallow UI
There's an app for thatMaemo - The software behind your mobile computerGoogle Reader supportSchiller emailed Steven Frank, too
(GSM) Service CodesUpdated plist suggests new Apple device "iProd" coming soonplaynice: make your iPhone autoupdate Google LatitudeCameras
UnsocialFull Commodore 64 Emulator Rejected from App StoreiPhone Provisioning and ManagementOmoide
Review: Apple iPhone 3G S and iPhone OS 3.0To Pre or not to Pre?iPhone Stencil KitTomTom for iPhone
iPhone 3GSThe Spartan Way3rd generation iPhone graphical rumor round-upPhoto: iPhone Launch Versus Palm Pre
Palm Pre video unboxing: Inside the US boxIndigoJorge Colombo | iSketches: PressNicolas Cannasse Blog - haXe for iPhone
From time to accessibility, or lack thereofEvernote for BlackBerry Is HereBlackBerry Curve 83XX overtakes iPhone 3G in US smartphone rankingsMunching Coffee Beans
Apple Posts $1.21 Billion Profit for Q2 2009Phasing InNo More OpenMoko PhoneReview: Skype for iPhone. Verdict: Awesome.
SpeedLimitiPhone 3.0 Software AnnouncedWrapping up the weekAmazon's Kindle for iPhone hits the App Store
Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998Apple 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 MMSGraphvizGoogle Calendar and Contact Sync for iPhoneBuilding CoverFlow for Safari on iPhone
The Sony ReaderiPhone 2.2 Update Image IssueUnited States Patent: 7479949Doing Stuff, When I Can
The iPhone (and iPod touch): Apple's netbook?Pre-ludeA Word of warning concerning EXIF and the iPhoneHappy 0x07D9!
Physicalising ebooks2008 in Review, 2009 HazyA Very Merry $HOLIDAY For You And Your FamilyCitrix To Bring Millions of Windows Apps To iPhone
Notbooks and CraptopsThis post brought to you with a considerable amount of vim.More "niche" netbooks sold in 3Q2008 than iPhonesNokia unveils flagship N97 phone
Five Things Nokia Needs To Address To Beat The iPhoneInstaviz: Graph Sketching for your iPhonePhone of the YearSacks of Stuff
iPhone 3G (temporarily?) trounces RAZR as top consumer phoneTouchTermiPhone Backup ExtractorBanca SAPO
The real G1 experience and what the industry can learnWherever NoteMobileMeEvernote Offline Notes on iPhone and iPod
Google LatLong: Google Earth now available for iPhoneSimplify MediaMobile SafariApple Reports Fourth Quarter Results
On Apple, Netbooks, and My Line of WorkBridging the iPhone GAPThe Voters Have SpokenGoogle, T-Mobile Unveil New Phone
Gaming in Real LifeSkyhook WirelessAbout the Mac OS X 10.5.5 Update7 Days to Go
iPhone X-Plane reviewApp stores and APIs: It's the ecosystem, stupidTale of a NetbookSo now what?
Tethering possibly coming to an iPhone near youiPhone as sequencerTwo little tidbits..Ars Technica Propagating Non-News
What's Behind the iPhone 3G GlitchesGift Certificates for iPhone app testing, reviewsThree in a RowiTW - a TiddlyWiki for iPhone
iPhone/iPod touch 2.0.1 softwareWelcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today!Palm Doc ConverterInstapaper on iPhone
Actions Speak Louder Than WordsIn the meantimeDelicious 2.0FailMe
Cloud WritingSo here's an idea or twoDoubleMeByline - Google Reader on the go
Exchange and iPhone, a complete mess?iPhone 3G Battery Life Beats the Competition, Apple's Own TestsImproving iPhone 3G Battery LifeThe Early Days Of Palm 2.0
iPhone Juice PackFive Random Notes on Apple and Related TopicsThe hidden financial impact of Apple's iPhoneiPhone Applications in Python
iPhone camera astroturfingNokia E71My new budget cameraApple Introduces iPhone 3G Videoconferencing Kit, ZOMG!
iPhone Pre-RegistrationIt's just a (3G) phoneSome of the missing bitsMac OS X 10.5.3: sync Google Contacts
Apple 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 Markets
Me, Mini-Me, Mini Attention Spans and Mini-LaptopsiPhone - European Launch CoverageOffline DaysRoughlyDrafted disses the Blackberry 9000 - and looks childish doing so
Adobe realizes SDK not enough for Flash on iPhoneAdobe says Flash is coming to the iPhoneiPhone Stats AstroturfingiCopy - Copy and Paste for your iPhone and iPod Touch
Crowdsourcing Dilbert TaggingThe Joy of WebpadsMono on the iPhoneThe iPhone's Great Email Debate
Musings on Photo GalleriesSun: We'll put Java on the iPhoneiPhone - Post-Launch CoverageApple - QuickTime - Apple March 6 Event
Apple Announces iPhone 2.0 Software BetaAppropriate amounts of funRestful MorningTrism : Upcoming iPhone Game by Demiforce
iPhone WebClip speed dialiPhone Software Roadmap Event, March 6thRegarding iPods, Developers and Attention SpansChinese input plugin for iPhone
Smugglers Return iPhones to ChinaChina Mobile: 400,000 iPhones are using our networkThe Google Myth Rolls to Mobile3G iPhone and Femtocell Rumor Mashup
IPhone goes 16GB, iPod Touch up to 32GBAn update on my RSS setupTabulateApple Statement About Servicing iPhone
iPhone sales fall short of O2 targetKeynotesApple tells iPhone vendors not to reveal sales figuresTouching Base
5 Things Nokia Needs To Learn From AppleThe Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless IndustryCES: iPhone hurt mobile gaming, expert saysMobile Device of the Year, 2007
Mac 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 2007emTube - YouTube Client for Series 60
Sore FeetWhen religion bitesGoogle (Calendar) SyncKindling Mobility
stevenf.com: All I Want For ChristmasA Month Of Seeing SpotsBritish iPhone Users Complain Of Serious Reception ProblemsFree IMAP for Gmail
Third Party Applications on the iPhone... TranslatedStacks on the iPhoneiPhone SDK in FebruaryApple iPhone Wid^H^H^HWebapps Directory
Apple - iPhone - Switch AdsNokia Share 3.0If wishes were iPhones, then beggars would callNokia Phones - Open To Anything
iPhone Human Interface GuidelinesUp next for Apple: the return of the NewtonYou don't get to kill my cow.Bricks Ain't Hard, Life Is
Two Months With An E90Could The Apple Pundits Stop Writing About Mobility, Please?iPhone and iPod: contain or disengage?State of the Nation
Nokia - E51 Press ReleaseLive from Apple's "Mum is no longer the word" event in LondonRadar Bugs I'd Like To SeeiFixit iPod Touch Disassembly
Eternal September 2.0I Dub Thee "iPad"The complete guide to PDFs in iTunesNative iPhone ebook reader
Apollo IMApple Has a Long History of Screwing Early AdoptersYou Have To Touch To SyncA Question For Steve Jobs
iSuppliHotAirThe Beat Goes On, The Hype SkyrocketsiPod TouchThe nPhone
Apple secures Europe iPhone revenue dealsAdobe goes H.264The IPhone Is Internet Explorer 4 All Over AgainFully unlocked iPhone available in Hong Kong
5 iPhone Apps I'd Like To See From AppleTwo-way Video Conferencing for iPhoneTen Nine Feeds I Stopped Reading, And WhyDas Keyboard
Trick your iPhone voicemail into using voice recording dataiPoor - The Real iPhone Killermobileterminal for the iPhoneReport: Google shows phone prototype to vendors
Three in a RowRSS Mixer Prototype : Custom Feeds for iPhone and WidgetsApple iPhone Bluetooth Headset - iLounge ReviewPopCap dips its toes in iPhone games
Five Things I Can't Stand In Opera MiniTelstra iPhone SIM hack videoiPhone and the analyst delusionsIPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says - New York Times
mutant's musings: The Egregious Incompetence of MotorolaiPhone IMAP security vulnerabilityW2 Wiki with iUIPeeking
Amazon.co.uk: Apple iPhone 8GBiPhone v1.0 Bugsiphonedisk - mount your iPhone filesystemOnline Game: BrickShooter
Five Incongruous Things About The iPhoneWebVNC - VNC on your iPhoneRussell Beattie's New WeblogiPhone - Reviews
iPhone in depth: the Ars reviewiUI Music DemoOn the iPhone SDK (or lack thereof)iPhone first impressions
Featured LinksiPhone's AJAX SDK: No, thank you.Apple (Support?) In PortugaliMusings - the iPhone, Standards, and jQuery
Stray NewsiPhone RemoteiPhone+AT&T Bill=Uh-OhSomeone Isn't Getting The European Mobile Market...
Business Phone ScorecardDear Lazyweb: Mandarin on Series 60?iPhone - HardwareThe Ultimate iPhone Timeline/Roundup?
iPhone - From Announcement To LaunchThe Million-Dollar HTTP RedirectBundled RandomnessMy New Phone
Told You SoiPhoneyA Little PerspectiveThe Next Few Weeks of iPhone News
Being of ServiceBlinkOn corporate security and the iPhoneNever Procrastinate Language Studies
Having Fun With Mail SignaturesThe Trojan Aqua HorseScoring StuffHyperbole On The Loose, Twice
PlateauMusical Counterpoint To The Hypothetical Humorous Aspects Of iPhone Pricing (And Other Things)The Last 48hThe Leopard That Slipped On An iPhone
On The "Final" Wii Internet ChanneliTunes 7.1The Monday After The OscarsThe Last Phone You'll Ever Wear
Ah, The Wonderful InternetRe-surfacedSo, Where's My Tablet?Random Dips
Twitter/Blackberry/Google/Maps/TinyURL MashupiPhone UpdatesiPhone - The Early YearsTeeter-Totter
The iPhone, At Long LastMulling Team Management ToolsLooking Forward to 20072006, From My Perspective
Rolling My Own iPhoneSanta's New PhoneThe iPhone Rumor Bullshit BingoThe Weekend that Socked
I Still Hate MondaysToo Many News Can Be No NewsSunnyHalibuts and Shrimps
Ah, Mondays.The Apple+Google Hype, iPhoto, and a Reality CheckMid-PointRandom Walks
iPod (Classic)Steve Jobs (1955-2011)ShowtimeiBreak
Wading In.Mac's Missed OpportunitiesGreen RingsDipping My Toes
AppleMotorola/ROKRBackNews Rush
Steady10.4.3 Odds and EndsSome Folk Just Don't (Want To) UnderstandTwo Bits
Return of the QuickiesAfter the iPhone, Silence...SyncTunesAnd Now, The Real News: iPod nano
Next Week, We'll Know All About The iPhoneiPhone Madness, Again (and Again, and Again...)Back to WorkThe iPhone, at last?
Motorola/E790Squeeze Me, I'm StressedThe Seven Portents Of The ApplocalypseNearly Halfway There
Random Thresholds Of FeasibilityMore BacklogOh, The StupidityBacklog
Momentous StuffMVNOReal Newsblog.flush();
28 DegreesSaturday Morning LinksLink ModeWhere Do You Want To Groove Today?
Keynote IntermezzoDeflating HypePredictions for 20052004 in Review
The 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-G
Dead Tree ModePage Not Found