“Sometimes a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”
With these words, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world in 2007. And during the almost 14 years since, he has been proven right.
iPhone releases have been happening every year since 2007, though – especially this year with the coronavirus pandemic – they do not look quite as they used to. A highly-produced Tim Cook basking in the futuristic beauty of the Apple Campus has replaced pacing and electric Steve Jobs; Customers choose to order pre-orders online instead of queuing around Apple Stores.
It’s not better or worse, it’s just different. But looking at photos and videos of launches over the years shows how far the iPhone has come from Steve Jobs’ pocket by 2020.
Here is a look back at each iPhone launch, at photos.
The first years (2007 – 2009)
The launch of the original iPhone, followed by the iPhone 3G and 3GS (with the App Store!), Saw tents and creative ways to spend time in line.
Steve Jobs showed up at the Apple Store at the Palo Alto iPhone launch!
The spray continued for iPhone 3G and 3GS
iPhone 4 and 4S
The iPhone that gave the world a high-resolution screen * and * a selfie camera changed everything again. More lines, more camping and … performance art ?!
iPhone 5, 5C and 5S
The sleek, transformative design of the iPhone 5 got the shot it deserved. The following year, Apple debuted its split-tiered phones (one more expensive, one smaller) with the 5S and the bright and beloved 5C.
Tim Cook pulled a 2007 Steve Jobs and came to the Palo Alto Apple Store to celebrate.
iPhone 6, 6Plus and 6S, 6S Plus
People flocked to Apple stores to herald the age of the iPhone’s physical expansion with the 6 Series in 2014. In 2015, the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were launched alongside the Apple Watch, leading to even more hype.
iPhone SE, 7 and 7 Plus
The release of three different iPhone models on two different dates, 2016 was a big year for Apple. The cheaper SE became so close and beloved that users clung to it until Apple released a new SE in 2019. The 7 Series got rid of the headphone jack and added a new lens to the 7 Plus camera.
iPhone 8, 8 Plus and the game-changing iPhone X
The reborn iPhone with its spectacular graphics and full screen (sayonara, start button) was a big moment in Apple’s history, and people lined up and celebrated as always. Oh yes, and the iPhone 8 was there too.
However, between the Russian network-assisted election of President Trump and the successful Brexit campaign in 2016 that was largely secured by the efforts of Cambridge Analytica, 2017 was a year the audience’s rosy image of technology shifted. Apple also felt the effects: Some people flocked to the Apple store in Paris not to buy new iPhones, but to protest that Apple allegedly did not pay its fair share of taxes.
iPhone XS, XS Max and XR
A smarter, better camera on the XS models and the colorful budget phone that is the XR, made 2018 a somewhat overwhelming year. While photos show some hardcore devotees posing and camping in Moscow, the immediate, must-have food craze did not hit the streets.
iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
The year with the three lenses saw orderly lines and an always enthusiastic Apple Store staff.
Apple’s first iPhone in the time of the coronavirus was a reboot of SE, and saw a release that looked like nothing that came before: A virtual drop, and in stores in parts of the world that were even allowed to be open, with customers socially distant and in masks.
Apple 12 Series phones are currently available for pre-order and will be released on October 23rd. We just hope that someone standing in line stays at least six meters apart.