Design Evolution: iPhone History

iPhone History

iPhone History








This wireless telephone machine can operate over a relatively large area (the world), this particular wireless telephone machine is known as a the iPhone designed and marketed by Apple. I almost got lost in the Design Evolution of the Apple iPhone, there is actually quite a lot of variations but mostly in software. The hardware changes have changed at a’slower’ pace. When the iPhone was first released it was a ground breaking moment, sleek design, no comprise in the function and made from quality materials that created a phone that would be unrivaled for quite some time.

iPhone timeline







Comparing the first iPhone with the current model there is clearly an unmistakably design difference but if we compare the design evolution, it is fascinating to see the creative thinking behind the iPhone History. The image above shows a timeline of the phones development. The incremental stages are fascinating. Bevels, radiuses, materials and contrasting finishes shows how much thought goes into each model. Yet some features have remind the same such as the camera lens, its always in the left side, the Apple logo is always at the back positioned top and centre and the power button, just above the camera lens.  These ‘stubborn’ features actually allow us to instantly recognise an iPhone regardless of the model, if I see a outline or a graphic of the iPhone I know instantly what it is. Thats marketing inspired design.

The Apple iPhone design details







Check out those corners, woof! Definitely one of the most recognisable design features of the iPhone is its rectangular dimensions with simple corners which have only slightly been tweaked over the years. Another distinguishing feature is the CNC machined aluminum frame that encases all iPhones from the front. In earlier years Apple was more generous with its exposed aluminum finish on the back of the first generation iPhone. In later models the metal backing was replaced with metal ribbon around the outside of the phone which I believe looks better but I do wonder if that was for design reasons or budget demands… Another fundamental piece of signature design are the buttons and openings on the iPhone. The ear piece/speaker is a rectangular shape with curved ends that bevel inwards which has been constant throughout the life the design, there are some variations with the front facing camera and proximity sensor. Last but not least, the Home Button, this large circular button with a square white outline in the centre is located at the button central of the phone and ‘calls for action’. The signature button reassures people that this is an Apple phone, interestingly…the design in the recently released iPhone 5s Champagne phone, the square outline in the middle seems to have been removed. This could be an attempt to further simplify the design, it could also be that people associate with the iPhone design in its most basic form – a rectangle with rounded edges and a circular button at the bottom. Its great to see these small steps that make big differences over time, I wonder what the iPhone will look like 7 years from now. And there you have it, a brief iPhone History on design.


Is it better to focus on designing fewer products rather than beast out dozens of different products each year? Hmm…

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