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

iPad at a CrossroadsiPhone 6 Is a Thin, Sexy Phone with a Killer CameraRecord Pre-orders for iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 PlusIt's Too Big
iPhone 6Reviving a dead synth with a Raspberry PiAndroidiMessage purgatory
iPhone and iPad DevelopmentHow Apple Protects Your iPhone from Your EmployerTydlig - Calculator ReimaginedA Folio That Packs a Punch
MapsThe HTC OneAnd Then Steve Said, "Let There Be an iPhone"First Weekend iPhone Sales Top Nine Million, Sets New Record
AnandTech's iPhone 5s ReviewThe Short TailChargeKey for iPhone 5Apple - iPhone 5c
Microsoft's first act of business as Nokia owner? Cut the Lumia 1020 priceChargeCard for iPhone 5FingerprintsHow will iPhones 5S and 5C be priced?
WishlistThe Long Farewell To RSSA Hack In The WildernessApple quietly kills iPod touch 4, intros camera-less $229 fifth-gen model
Burn, RSS, Burn!Starbucks Still Gets Orders For 4,000 LattesPatienceThe Switcher's Application Guide
How to Switch to the MacFlickr-box-o-gram+iPhone BluesTwitter
ZagRatchetGoogle Nexus 4 reviewiPad
AnandTech - The iPhone 5 ReviewZigiPod Touch5
iPhone 5Infernal SeptemberRe-scoping, AgainSurviving RIM
iOS: A visual historyNo Windows Phone 8 upgrade for current phonesMusings on the Retina Pro and the Philosophy of Highway RobberySupposed new iPhone casings show up
An iPhone with a 16:9 display?iPad Text Editors, ReviewedVarnishing RetinasThe 4-inch iPhone
ThreePropellerhead FigureThe Trodden PathPadding
iPhone sine qua noniPhone, iPad MagSafe and stylusesScoring 2011's predictionsSubler
Apple iPhone 4S: Thoroughly ReviewedThe Fifth (in November)Taking Away The MagicHello, Android
Apple's 4M-iPhone-4S weekend in contextInstapaper 4.0iPhone 4S TeardownThe iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S Pre-Orders Top 1 Million in 24 HoursNew iPhone portfolio vs. Average Sale PriceDeclutteringThe Four Screws
The iPhone TimelineApple Special Event October 2011iPhone 4S apparently leaked by iTunesThe Right Question
Apple overtakes Nokia in smartphone stakesCloudyWindows Phone 7Atari’s Greatest Hits
Ping the MercilessSo a bar walks into an app...Hot Multitasking ActioniPhone vs Android Apps
2011 is upon usSmartphone UsersMy First Week with the iPhoneIn the Pond
I, for one, welcome my new amphibian overlordsCarpe TerramiCircuitPremium Cluelessness
3 million and then someAntenn-aid for iPhone 4So FarAirVideo
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner: 'The iPhone 4 Might be Their Vista'iPhone 4Hideous PrintingCitrix Receiver on iPhone 4
Translation 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 Experience
iOS 4 now available for your iPhone 3G, 3GS, newer-generation iPod touchesFind My iPhone App Now AvailablePost-NoteFaceTime video calling added to iPhone 4... and it's WiFi-only
Cut My SIMA Services Menu for iPhoneChipping AwayiPhone 3GS
SmokescreenTaking a BreatherPalm Pre, Pixi and WebOSiPhone 3G Press Coverage
Google Me SidewaysThin ThoughtsThe real reason why Steve Jobs hates FlashWindows Live Messenger for iPhone unveiled
Site DesignsMinimalismOpera Mini for iPhone different, not exactly betterMeanwhile, 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 feature
Stale MailPaul Thurrott's Curiously Shifting Thoughts on Copy-and-PasteDe-BuzzedThe iPhone obsession
Minor AdjustmentsOn iPad Punditry and CurmudgeonsRank and FileNew MobileMe Gallery App for iPhone
Gordon, a Flash runtime written in pure JavaScriptRain or Shine, Trouble Is MineThe Speculative Prehistory of the iPhone2009 in Review
DACPOn Bits of Various Descriptions and MusicexpodiPhone Now 50% of All Mobile Traffic
InfirmwareDropbox Gets a New Home, iPhone AppBlackberry 9500 (Storm)My Snow Leopard experience so far
Assistive TechnologiesOn Evernote, FNAC customer service, and lack of tech savvy and courtesy thereofDropbox iPhone appVodafone to Sell iPhone in UK and Ireland
Stepping into the offline chasmO2 Loses iPhone Exclusivity In UKPrepare for the Worst: AT&T's MMS FridayMKVtools
Netbooks, revisited but still found lackingGrowliPhone OS 3.1 Update Refines iPhone UsageItems of Note on Note-Taking
PhoneViewThe Shiny, Shallow UIThere's an app for thatMaemo - The software behind your mobile computer
Google Reader supportSchiller emailed Steven Frank, too(GSM) Service CodesUpdated plist suggests new Apple device "iProd" coming soon
playnice: make your iPhone autoupdate Google LatitudeCamerasUnsocialFull Commodore 64 Emulator Rejected from App Store
iPhone Provisioning and ManagementOmoideReview: Apple iPhone 3G S and iPhone OS 3.0To Pre or not to Pre?
iPhone Stencil KitTomTom for iPhoneiPhone 3GSThe Spartan Way
3rd generation iPhone graphical rumor round-upPhoto: iPhone Launch Versus Palm PrePalm Pre video unboxing: Inside the US boxIndigo
Jorge Colombo | iSketches: PressNicolas Cannasse Blog - haXe for iPhoneFrom time to accessibility, or lack thereofEvernote for BlackBerry Is Here
BlackBerry Curve 83XX overtakes iPhone 3G in US smartphone rankingsMunching Coffee BeansApple Posts $1.21 Billion Profit for Q2 2009Phasing In
No More OpenMoko PhoneReview: Skype for iPhone. Verdict: Awesome.SpeedLimitiPhone 3.0 Software Announced
Wrapping up the weekAmazon's Kindle for iPhone hits the App StoreMobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998Apple Claims Jailbreaking An iPhone Is Copyright Infringement
Long Missive From The Trenches Of ParentingWill AT&T's Network FAIL Hurt the iPhone? (not bloody likely)iPhone MMSGraphviz
Google Calendar and Contact Sync for iPhoneBuilding CoverFlow for Safari on iPhoneThe Sony ReaderiPhone 2.2 Update Image Issue
United States Patent: 7479949Doing Stuff, When I CanThe iPhone (and iPod touch): Apple's netbook?Pre-lude
A Word of warning concerning EXIF and the iPhoneHappy 0x07D9!Physicalising ebooks2008 in Review, 2009 Hazy
A Very Merry $HOLIDAY For You And Your FamilyCitrix 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 iPhonesNokia unveils flagship N97 phoneFive Things Nokia Needs To Address To Beat The iPhoneInstaviz: Graph Sketching for your iPhone
Phone of the YearSacks of StuffiPhone 3G (temporarily?) trounces RAZR as top consumer phoneTouchTerm
iPhone Backup ExtractorBanca SAPOThe real G1 experience and what the industry can learnWherever Note
MobileMeEvernote Offline Notes on iPhone and iPodGoogle LatLong: Google Earth now available for iPhoneSimplify Media
Mobile SafariApple Reports Fourth Quarter ResultsOn Apple, Netbooks, and My Line of WorkBridging the iPhone GAP
The Voters Have SpokenGoogle, T-Mobile Unveil New PhoneGaming in Real LifeSkyhook Wireless
About the Mac OS X 10.5.5 Update7 Days to GoiPhone X-Plane reviewApp stores and APIs: It's the ecosystem, stupid
Tale of a NetbookSo now what?Tethering possibly coming to an iPhone near youiPhone as sequencer
Two little tidbits..Ars Technica Propagating Non-NewsWhat's Behind the iPhone 3G GlitchesGift Certificates for iPhone app testing, reviews
Three in a RowiTW - a TiddlyWiki for iPhoneiPhone/iPod touch 2.0.1 softwareWelcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today!
Palm Doc ConverterInstapaper on iPhoneActions Speak Louder Than WordsIn the meantime
Delicious 2.0FailMeCloud WritingSo here's an idea or two
DoubleMeByline - Google Reader on the goExchange and iPhone, a complete mess?iPhone 3G Battery Life Beats the Competition, Apple's Own Tests
Improving iPhone 3G Battery LifeThe Early Days Of Palm 2.0iPhone Juice PackFive Random Notes on Apple and Related Topics
The hidden financial impact of Apple's iPhoneiPhone Applications in PythoniPhone camera astroturfingNokia E71
My new budget cameraApple Introduces iPhone 3G Videoconferencing Kit, ZOMG!iPhone Pre-RegistrationIt's just a (3G) phone
Some of the missing bitsMac OS X 10.5.3: sync Google ContactsApple takes delivery of 188 mysterious ocean containersBlackBerry Bold's Similarities to iPhone Purely Coincidence, Really
Brand 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 Coverage
Offline DaysRoughlyDrafted disses the Blackberry 9000 - and looks childish doing soAdobe realizes SDK not enough for Flash on iPhoneAdobe says Flash is coming to the iPhone
iPhone Stats AstroturfingiCopy - Copy and Paste for your iPhone and iPod TouchCrowdsourcing Dilbert TaggingThe Joy of Webpads
Mono on the iPhoneThe iPhone's Great Email DebateMusings on Photo GalleriesSun: We'll put Java on the iPhone
iPhone - Post-Launch CoverageApple - QuickTime - Apple March 6 EventApple Announces iPhone 2.0 Software BetaAppropriate amounts of fun
Restful MorningTrism : Upcoming iPhone Game by DemiforceiPhone WebClip speed dialiPhone Software Roadmap Event, March 6th
Regarding iPods, Developers and Attention SpansChinese input plugin for iPhoneSmugglers Return iPhones to ChinaChina Mobile: 400,000 iPhones are using our network
The Google Myth Rolls to Mobile3G iPhone and Femtocell Rumor MashupIPhone goes 16GB, iPod Touch up to 32GBAn update on my RSS setup
TabulateApple Statement About Servicing iPhoneiPhone sales fall short of O2 targetKeynotes
Apple tells iPhone vendors not to reveal sales figuresTouching Base5 Things Nokia Needs To Learn From AppleThe Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry
CES: iPhone hurt mobile gaming, expert saysMobile 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 2007emTube - YouTube Client for Series 60Sore FeetWhen religion bites
Google (Calendar) SyncKindling Mobilitystevenf.com: All I Want For ChristmasA Month Of Seeing Spots
British iPhone Users Complain Of Serious Reception ProblemsFree IMAP for GmailThird Party Applications on the iPhone... TranslatedStacks on the iPhone
iPhone SDK in FebruaryApple iPhone Wid^H^H^HWebapps DirectoryApple - iPhone - Switch AdsNokia Share 3.0
If wishes were iPhones, then beggars would callNokia Phones - Open To AnythingiPhone Human Interface GuidelinesUp next for Apple: the return of the Newton
You 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 London
Radar Bugs I'd Like To SeeiFixit iPod Touch DisassemblyEternal September 2.0I Dub Thee "iPad"
The complete guide to PDFs in iTunesNative iPhone ebook readerApollo IMApple Has a Long History of Screwing Early Adopters
You Have To Touch To SyncA Question For Steve JobsiSuppliHotAirThe Beat Goes On, The Hype Skyrockets
iPod TouchThe nPhoneApple secures Europe iPhone revenue dealsAdobe goes H.264
The IPhone Is Internet Explorer 4 All Over AgainFully unlocked iPhone available in Hong Kong5 iPhone Apps I'd Like To See From AppleTwo-way Video Conferencing for iPhone
Ten Nine Feeds I Stopped Reading, And WhyDas KeyboardTrick your iPhone voicemail into using voice recording dataiPoor - The Real iPhone Killer
mobileterminal for the iPhoneReport: Google shows phone prototype to vendorsThree in a RowRSS Mixer Prototype : Custom Feeds for iPhone and Widgets
Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset - iLounge ReviewPopCap dips its toes in iPhone gamesFive Things I Can't Stand In Opera MiniTelstra iPhone SIM hack video
iPhone and the analyst delusionsIPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says - New York Timesmutant's musings: The Egregious Incompetence of MotorolaiPhone IMAP security vulnerability
W2 Wiki with iUIPeekingAmazon.co.uk: Apple iPhone 8GBiPhone v1.0 Bugs
iphonedisk - mount your iPhone filesystemOnline Game: BrickShooterFive Incongruous Things About The iPhoneWebVNC - VNC on your iPhone
Russell Beattie's New WeblogiPhone - ReviewsiPhone in depth: the Ars reviewiUI Music Demo
On the iPhone SDK (or lack thereof)iPhone first impressionsFeatured LinksiPhone's AJAX SDK: No, thank you.
Apple (Support?) In PortugaliMusings - the iPhone, Standards, and jQueryStray NewsiPhone Remote
iPhone+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 Redirect
Bundled RandomnessMy New PhoneTold You SoiPhoney
A Little PerspectiveThe Next Few Weeks of iPhone NewsBeing of ServiceBlink
On corporate security and the iPhoneNever Procrastinate Language StudiesHaving Fun With Mail SignaturesThe Trojan Aqua Horse
Scoring StuffHyperbole On The Loose, TwicePlateauMusical 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 ChanneliTunes 7.1
The Monday After The OscarsThe Last Phone You'll Ever WearAh, The Wonderful InternetRe-surfaced
So, Where's My Tablet?Random DipsTwitter/Blackberry/Google/Maps/TinyURL MashupiPhone Updates
iPhone - The Early YearsTeeter-TotterThe iPhone, At Long LastMulling Team Management Tools
Looking Forward to 20072006, From My PerspectiveRolling My Own iPhoneSanta's New Phone
The iPhone Rumor Bullshit BingoThe Weekend that SockedI Still Hate MondaysToo Many News Can Be No News
SunnyHalibuts and ShrimpsAh, Mondays.The Apple+Google Hype, iPhoto, and a Reality Check
Mid-PointRandom WalksiPod (Classic)Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
ShowtimeiBreakWading In.Mac's Missed Opportunities
Green RingsDipping My ToesAppleMotorola/ROKR
BackNews RushSteady10.4.3 Odds and Ends
Some Folk Just Don't (Want To) UnderstandTwo BitsReturn of the QuickiesAfter the iPhone, Silence...
SyncTunesAnd Now, The Real News: iPod nanoNext 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 Stressed
The Seven Portents Of The ApplocalypseNearly Halfway ThereRandom Thresholds Of FeasibilityMore Backlog
Oh, The StupidityBacklogMomentous StuffMVNO
Real Newsblog.flush();28 DegreesSaturday Morning Links
Link ModeWhere Do You Want To Groove Today?Keynote IntermezzoDeflating Hype
Predictions for 20052004 in ReviewThe Sub-$500 Mac, and why it's not about the iPod2004 Predictions, Revisited
First Credible News of the iPhone?Apple and IBM, Sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-GDead Tree ModePage Not Found