Apple’s iPhone was introduced at MacWorld in January 2007 and officially went on sale June 29, 2007, selling 146,000 units within the first weekend of launch. The phone has been hailed as revolutionary with its bundle of advanced mobile web browsing, music and video playback, and touch screen controls. The iPhone is exclusively carried on the networks of both AT&T and Verizon in the U.S.
An iPhone can function as a video camera (video recording was not a standard feature until the iPhone 3GS was released), a camera phone, can send texts and receive visual voicemail, a portable media player, and an Internet client with email and web browsing capabilities, and both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The user interface is built around the device’s multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard rather than a physical one. Third-party as well as Apple application software is available from the App Store, which launched in mid-2008 and now has over 425,000 “apps” approved by Apple. These apps have diverse functionalities, including games, reference, GPS navigation, social networking, security and advertising for television shows, films, and celebrities.
There are six generations of iPhone models, five of which were accompanied by one of the five major releases of iOS (formerly iPhone OS). The original iPhone was a GSM phone that established design precedents like screen size and button placement that have persisted through all models. The iPhone 3G added 3G cellular network capabilities and A-GPS location. The iPhone 3GS added a compass, faster processor, and higher resolution camera, including video recording at 480p. The iPhone 4 has a rear facing camera and a front facing camera (at a lower resolution) for FaceTime video calling and for use in other apps like Skype. The phone also featured a higher-resolution display; it was released on June 24, 2010. In the U.S., AT&T was the only authorized carrier until February 10, 2011, when a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 launched for Verizon.
While the phone has been hailed critically, even being named as Time Magazine’s Invention of the Year, the product has gone through rocky times as well. There also have been issues with programs that enabled owners to unlock the iPhone and use it on other wireless carriers (subsequent software updates from Apple made unlocked phones unusable) as well as legal actions in European countries over the exclusive carrier agreements (Vodafone’s lawsuit over the exclusive carrier arrangement between Apple and T-Mobile in Germany was thrown out of court).
Introduction to the iPhoneAdded: 6/23/11