More than one billion iPhones have been sold since Steve Jobs took to a stage at Macworld in San Francisco promising “an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator” – before revealing one device that performed all three functions.
iPhone fever has sent Apple’s value soaring to £515bn – despite the first year of falling iPhone sales in 2016.
There have been 11 new versions of the phone since that launch, with some controversial redesigns including different-sized models, changes to screen sizes and disappearing headphone jacks.
The second generation iPhone 3G launches on 11 July 2008, and the app store also launches in this year
The iPhone 3GS goes on sale in June 2009, with sales for the year reaching more than 25 million
The iPhone 4 in 2010 sees the first major redesign, with the front and back casing both made of glass for the first time
Apple founder Steve Jobs dies the day after the iPhone 4S – the first model to sell one million units in its first 24 hours – is announced in 2011
The screen size for the iPhone 5 is increased to four inches in 2012, and annual sales hit 135.8 million units
The iPhone 5S, in 2013, is the first to include a fingerprint scanner integrated into the home button, known as Touch ID
Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are unveiled in September 2014, offering two sizes for the first time. Sales shatter all Apple records, with four million sold in the first 24 hours and 10 million in the first three days
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are announced in September 2016, with the Plus housing a dual rear camera for the first time, designed to capture images to rival that of a digital camera
The device also led to the launch of the App Store in 2008 – and the creation of a new digital industry, making fortunes for the inventors of apps such as Angry Birds, Uber and WhatsApp.
Other innovations include the Siri voice-activated personal assistant, the use of Touch ID and a powerful 64-bit processor.
The phone has been such a hit that the phone alone has generated more cash than the product ranges of Microsoft and Google.
The next version of the phone – expected to be unveiled in September – has been rumoured to feature a larger screen that covers most of the front of the device.
:: Life of the iPhone
:: 2007 – After being unveiled in January, the first iPhone goes on sale in June in the US and November in Europe amid passionate Apple fan reaction and queues outside retail stores. Around 3.4 million units were sold that year.
:: 2008 – On July 11 2008 the second generation iPhone 3G launches, including in a white colour option for the first time. Apple is criticised for maintaining the high price of the device compared with other mobile phones. The App Store is also launched.
:: 2009 – The iPhone 3GS goes on sale in June, and sales for the year reach more than 25 million.
:: 2010 – The introduction of the iPhone 4 includes the first major redesign of the iPhone, as the front and back casing are both made of glass for the first time, with a steel trim and edges that serve as the antennas for signal reception.
However some users report holding the phone a certain way affects their signal, forcing Apple to issue advice on how to hold the phone to prevent phone calls dropping out. Sales rise again to 47.5 million.
:: 2011 – The iPhone 4s is introduced, including voice assistant Siri for the first time. Apple founder Steve Jobs dies the day after the phone is announced, while the 4s then becomes the first iPhone to sell one million units in its first 24 hours.
Also this year Apple surpasses long-standing market leader Nokia as the largest mobile phone vendor in the world by revenue.
:: 2012 – The iPhone 5 ushers in another redesign, this time increasing the screen size to four inches for the first time. By now, annual iPhone sales have hit 135.8 million units.
:: 2013 – Another “s” model, this time the iPhone 5s, is launched. The first iPhone to include a fingerprint scanner integrated into the home button, known as Touch ID.
:: 2014 – In September the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are unveiled, offering the iPhone in two sizes for the first time – both of which have increased screen sizes on previous generations at 4.7 and 5.5 inches respectively. Sales response shatters all Apple records, with four million sold in the first 24 hours and 10 million in the first three days of availability.
However the 6 and 6 Plus are not without flaws, as some users report their devices bending when sat on or placed under pressure.
:: 2015 – Thanks to the success of the 6 and 6 Plus, sales for the year exceed 231 million units, while Apple also records the largest single quarter profit of a private company during the year.
In September the 6s and 6s Plus are released, complete with a new pressure sensitive screen.
:: 2016 – As the smartphone market begins to reach saturation point and competition from rivals increases, Apple reports iPhone sales drops in each of the first three quarters of the year.
This includes the first revenue drop for the company since the iPhone first launched in 2007. However the one billionth iPhone is sold during the year, and a new four-inch phone, the iPhone SE is launched.
Then in September the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are announced, with the Plus housing a dual rear camera for the first time that is designed to capture images to rival that of a digital camera.