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TypeSlate smartphone
Introductory priceCNY2899
CNY2499 with 2-year contract[1]
Operating systemAndroid 2.2.1 (Shipped with 2.1)
CPU1 GHz Qualcomm QSD 8250 Snapdragon ARM
Memory512 MB DRAM
StorageFlash memory: 512 MB
microSDHC slot: 4 GB included, expandable up to 32 GB[2]
Display480 x 800 px (PenTile RGBG), 3.7 in (94 mm), 254 ppi, 3:5 aspect ratio, WVGA, 24-bit color AMOLED with 100,000:1 contrast ratio and 1 ms response rate [2]
GraphicsAdreno 200
Inputcapacitive touchscreen capable of two-finger gestures, trackball, headset controls, proximity and ambient light sensors, 3-axis accelerometer, digital compass
Camera5.0 megapixel with video (720 x 480 px at 20 FPS or higher), geotagging, LED flash and auto focus.[2]
ConnectivityWi-Fi (802.11b/g), Bluetooth 2.0, Micro-USB, A-GPS
Quad band GSM 850 900 1800 1900 MHz GPRS/EDGE and Tri band UMTS 900 1700 2100 MHz or 850 1900 2100 MHz HSDPA/HSUPA[2][3]
PowerRemovable 1400 mAh battery, up to 290 hours on standby, 10 hours talk time, 5 hours browsing.[2] Charged via MicroUSB[4]
Online servicesAndroid Market
Dimensions119 mm (4.7 in) (h)
59.8 mm (2.35 in) (w)
11.5 mm (0.45 in) (d)
Mass130 g (4.6 oz) with battery, 100 g (3.5 oz) without battery

List of iPhone models
Related articles:
iPod Touch, iPad

[[:File:IPhone_4_in_hand.jpg|225px|thumb|The iPhone 4 is the most recent generation of iPhone.]]

iPhone logo.

The iPhone (pronounced /ˈaɪfoʊn/ (deprecated template) EYE-fohn) is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was introduced on January 9, 2007.[5]

An iPhone functions as a camera phone, including text messaging and visual voicemail, a portable media player, and an Internet client, with e-mail, web browsing, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The user interface is built around the device's multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard rather than a physical one. Third-party applications are available from the App Store, which launched in mid-2008 and now has well over 300,000[6] "apps" approved by Apple. These apps have diverse functionalities, including games, reference, GPS navigation, social networking, and advertising for television shows, films, and celebrities.

There are four generations of iPhone models, and they were accompanied by four major releases of iOS (formerly iPhone OS). The original iPhone 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. The iPhone 4 has two cameras for FaceTime video calling and a higher-resolution display. It was released on June 24, 2010.

History and availability[edit]

Worldwide iPhone sales by quarter. Sales volume is in millions. Q1 is the holiday season.
  Original iPhone
  iPhone 3G
  iPhone 3G and 3Gs (Apple does not differentiate)
Worldwide iPhone availability:
  Original iPhone was available; now iPhone 4
  iPhone 3G and 3GS
  Coming soon

Development of the iPhone began with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' direction that Apple engineers investigate touchscreens.[7] Apple created the device during a secretive and unprecedented collaboration with AT&T Mobility—Cingular Wireless at the time—at an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months.[8] Apple rejected the "design by committee" approach that had yielded the Motorola ROKR E1, a largely unsuccessful collaboration with Motorola. Instead, Cingular gave Apple the liberty to develop the iPhone's hardware and software in-house.[9][10]

Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007 at Macworld 2007. Apple was required to file for operating permits with the FCC, but since such filings are made available to the public, the announcement came months before the iPhone had received approval. The iPhone went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007, at 6:00 pm local time, while hundreds of customers lined up outside the stores nationwide.[11] The original iPhone was made available in the UK, France, and Germany in November 2007, and Ireland and Austria in the spring of 2008.

On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six.[12] Apple released the iPhone 3G in upwards of eighty countries and territories.[13] Apple announced the iPhone 3GS on June 8, 2009, along with plans to release it later in June, July, and August, starting with the U.S., Canada and major European countries on June 19. Many would-be users objected to the iPhone's cost,[14] and 40% of users have household incomes over US$100,000.[15] In an attempt to gain a wider market, Apple retained the 8 GB iPhone 3G at a lower price point. When Apple introduced the iPhone 4, the 3GS became the less expensive model. Apple reduced the price several times since the iPhone's release in 2007, at which time an 8 GB iPhone sold for $599. An iPhone 3GS with the same capacity now costs $99. However, these numbers are misleading, since all iPhone units sold through AT&T require a two-year contract (costing several hundred dollars), and a SIM lock.

Apple sold 6.1 million original iPhone units over five quarters.[16] The company sold 3.8 million iPhone 3G units in the second quarter of fiscal 2009, ending March 2009, and 12.6 million 3G and 3GS combined, totaling 33.75 million iPhones sold to date (Q4 2009).[17] Sales in Q4 2008 surpassed temporarily those of RIM's BlackBerry sales of 5.2 million units, which made Apple briefly the third largest mobile phone manufacturer by revenue, after Nokia and Samsung.[18] Approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the U.S. alone.[15] While iPhone sales constitute a significant portion of Apple's revenue, some of this income is deferred.[17]

The back of the original iPhone was made of aluminum with a black plastic accent. The iPhone 3G and 3GS feature a full plastic back to increase the strength of the GSM signal.[19] The iPhone 3G was available in an 8 GB black model, or a black or white option for the 16 GB model. They both are now discontinued. The iPhone 3GS was available in both colors, regardless of storage capacity. The white model was discontinued in favor of a black 8 GB low-end model. The iPhone 4 has an aluminosilicate glass front and back with a stainless steel edge that serves as the antennae. It is available in black; a white version was announced, but has as of October 2010 not been released.

The iPhone has garnered positive reviews from critics like David Pogue[20] and Walter Mossberg.[21][22] The iPhone attracts users of all ages,[15] and besides consumer use the iPhone has also been adopted for business purposes.[23]


200px|thumb|left|The screen is the dominant feature of the front of the iPhone, and is the main method of user interaction.

Screen and input[edit]

The touchscreen is a 9 cm (3.5 in) liquid crystal display with scratch-resistant glass.[24] The capacitive touchscreen is designed for a bare finger, or multiple fingers for multi-touch sensing. The screens on the first three generations of the iPhone have a resolution of 320 x 480 (HVGA) at 163 ppi, while the display on the iPhone 4 has a resolution of 640 x 960 at 326 ppi.

The touch and gesture features of the iPhone are based on technology originally developed by FingerWorks.[25] Most gloves and styluses prevent the necessary electrical conductivity;[26][27][28][29] however, capacitive styli can be used with iPhone's finger-touch screen. The iPhone 3GS also features a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating.[30]

The top and side of the iPhone 3GS, externally identical to the iPhone 3G. The switches were black plastic on the original model. From left to right, sides: wake/sleep button, SIM card slot, headphone jack, silence switch, volume controls. Top: earpiece, screen.

The iPhone has a minimal hardware user interface, featuring only four or five buttons, depending on whether the volume control is counted as one button or two. The only physical menu button is situated directly below the display, and is called the "Home button" because it closes the active app and navigates to the home screen of the interface. The home button is denoted not by a house, as on many other similar devices, but a rounded square, reminiscent of the shape of icons on the home screen. A multifunction sleep/wake button is located on the top of the device. It serves as the unit's power button, and also controls phone calls. When a call is received, pressing the sleep/wake button once silences the ringtone, and when pressed twice transfers the call to voicemail. Situated on the left spine are the volume adjustment controls. The iPhone 4 has two separate circular buttons to increase and decrease the volume; all earlier models house two switches under a single plastic panel, known as a rocker switch. Directly above the volume controls is a silence button that mutes all sound when engaged. All buttons except Home were made of plastic on the original iPhone and metal on all later models. The touchscreen furnishes the remainder of the user interface.

The display responds to three sensors. A proximity sensor deactivates the display and touchscreen when the device is brought near the face during a call. This is done to save battery power and to prevent inadvertent inputs from the user's face and ears. An ambient light sensor adjusts the display brightness which in turn saves battery power. A 3-axis accelerometer senses the orientation of the phone and changes the screen accordingly, allowing the user to easily switch between portrait and landscape mode.[31] Photo browsing, web browsing, and music playing support both upright and left or right widescreen orientations.[32] Unlike the iPad, the iPhone does not rotate the screen when turned upside-down, with the Home button above the screen. The 3.0 update added landscape support for still other applications, such as email, and introduced shaking the unit as a form of input.[33][34] The accelerometer can also be used to control third party apps, notably games. The iPhone 4 also includes a gyroscopic sensor, enhancing its perception of how it is moved.

A software update in January 2008[35] allowed the first generation iPhone to use cell tower and Wi-Fi network locations trilateration,[36] despite lacking GPS hardware. The iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 employ A-GPS, and the iPhone 3GS and 4 also have a digital compass.[37]

Audio and output[edit]

One of two speakers (left) and the microphone (right) surround the dock connector on the base of the original iPhone. If a headset is plugged in, sound is played through it instead.

The bottom of the iPhone sports a speaker (left) and a microphone (right) flanking the dock connector. One loudspeaker is located above the screen as an earpiece, and another is located on the left side of the bottom of the unit, opposite a microphone on the bottom-right. The iPhone 4 includes an additional microphone at the top of the unit for noise cancellation, and switches the placement of the microphone and speaker on the base on the unit—the speaker is on the left.[38] Volume controls are located on the left side of all iPhone models and as a slider in the iPod application.

The 3.5 mm TRRS connector for the headphones is located on the top left corner of the device.[39] The headphone socket on the original iPhone is recessed into the casing, making it incompatible with most headsets without the use of an adapter.[40][41] Subsequent generations eliminated the issue by using a flush-mounted headphone socket. Cars equipped with an auxiliary jack allow for handsfree use of the iPhone while driving as a substitute for Bluetooth.

While the iPhone is compatible with normal headphones, Apple provides a headset with additional functionality. A multipurpose button near the microphone can be used to play or pause music, skip tracks, and answer or end phone calls without touching the iPhone. A small number of third-party headsets specifically designed for the iPhone also include the microphone and control button.[42] The current headsets also provide volume controls, which are only compatible with more recent models.[43] These features are achieved by a fourth ring in the audio jack that carries this extra information.

The built-in Bluetooth 2.x+EDR supports wireless earpieces and headphones, which requires the HSP profile. Stereo audio was added in the 3.0 update for hardware that supports A2DP.[33][34] While non-sanctioned third-party solutions exist, the iPhone does not officially support the OBEX file transfer protocol.[44] The lack of these profiles prevents iPhone users from exchanging multimedia files, such as pictures, music and videos, with other bluetooth-enabled cell phones.

Composite or component video at up to 576i and stereo audio can be output from the dock connector using an adapter sold by Apple.[45] iPhone 4 also supports 1024x768 VGA output via a dock adapter. The iPhone did not support voice recording until the 3.0 software update.[33][34]


Replacing the battery requires opening the iPhone unit and exposing the internal hardware.

The iPhone features an internal rechargeable battery. Like an iPod but unlike most other mobile phones, the battery is not user-replaceable.[40][46] The iPhone can be charged when connected to a computer for syncing across the included USB to dock connector cable, similar to charging an iPod. Alternatively, a USB to AC adapter (or "wall charger," also included) can be connected to the cable to charge directly from an AC outlet. A number of third party accessories (stereos, car chargers, even solar chargers) are also available.[47]

Apple runs tests on preproduction units to determine battery life. Apple's website says that the battery life "is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 400 full charge and discharge cycles",[48] which is comparable to iPod batteries. The original iPhone's battery was stated to be capable of providing up to seven hours of video, six hours of web browsing, eight hours of talk time, 24 hours of music or up to 250 hours on standby.[24] The iPhone 3G's battery is stated to be capable of providing up to seven hours of video, six hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi or five on 3G, ten hours of 2G talk time, or five on 3G, 24 hours of music, or 300 hours of standby.[49] Apple claims that the 3GS can last for up to ten hours of video, nine hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi or five on 3G, twelve hours of 2G talk time, or five on 3G, 30 hours of music, or 300 hours of standby.[50]

The battery life of the iPhone has been criticized by several technology journalists as insufficient and less than Apple's claims.[51][52][53][54] This is also reflected by a J. D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction survey, which gave the "battery aspects" of the iPhone 3G its lowest rating of 2 out of 5 stars.[55][56]

If the battery malfunctions or dies prematurely, the phone can be returned to Apple and replaced for free while still under warranty.[57] The warranty lasts one year from purchase and can be extended to two years with AppleCare. Though the battery replacement service and its pricing was not made known to buyers until the day the product was launched,[58][59] it is similar to how Apple (and third parties) replace batteries for iPods. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer advocate group, has sent a complaint to Apple and AT&T over the fee that consumers have to pay to have the battery replaced.[58] Since July 2007 third party battery replacement kits have been available[60] at a much lower price than Apple's own battery replacement program. These kits often include a small screwdriver and an instruction leaflet, but as with many newer iPod models the battery in the original iPhone has been soldered in. Therefore a soldering iron is required to install the new battery. The iPhone 3G uses a different battery fitted with a connector that is easier to replace, although replacement by any besides Apple still voids the warranty.[61]

The iPhone 4 is the first generation to have two cameras. The LED flash for the rear-facing camera (top) and the forward-facing camera (bottom) are both unique to that model.


The iPhone and iPhone 3G feature a built-in Fixed focus 2.0 megapixel camera located on the back for still digital photos. It has no optical zoom, flash or autofocus, and does not support video recording, however jailbreaking allows users to do so. Version 2.0 of iPhone OS introduced the capability to embed location data in the pictures, producing geocoded photographs.

The iPhone 3GS has a 3.2 megapixel camera, manufactured by OmniVision, featuring autofocus, auto white balance, and auto macro (up to 10 cm). It is also capable of capturing 640x480 (VGA resolution) video at 30 frames per second,[62] although compared to higher-end CCD based video cameras it does exhibit the rolling shutter effect.[63] The video can then be cropped on the device itself and directly uploaded to YouTube, MobileMe, or other services

The iPhone 4 introduced a 5.0 megapixel camera, also located on the back, which is equipped with a backside illuminated sensor capable of capturing pictures in low-light conditions, as well as an LED flash capable of staying lit for video recording at 720p resolution, considered high-definition.[64] In addition the iPhone 4 has a second camera on the front capable of VGA photos and SD video recording.

Storage and SIM[edit]

An iPhone 3G with the SIM slot open. The SIM ejector tool is still placed in the eject hole.

The iPhone was initially released with two options for internal storage size: 4 GB or 8 GB. On September 5, 2007, Apple discontinued the 4 GB models.[65] On February 5, 2008, Apple added a 16 GB model.[66] The iPhone 3G was available in 16 GB and 8 GB. The iPhone 3GS came in 16 GB and 32 GB variants and still is available in 8 GB. The iPhone 4 is available in 16 GB and 32 GB variants. All data is stored on the internal flash drive; the iPhone does not support expanded storage through a memory card slot, or the SIM card.

The SIM card sits in a tray, which is inserted into a slot at the top of the device. The SIM tray can be ejected with a paperclip or the "SIM eject tool" (a simple piece of die-cut sheet metal) included with the iPhone 3G and 3GS.[67][68] In most countries, the iPhone is usually sold with a SIM lock, which prevents the iPhone from being used on a different mobile network.[69]

The iPhone 4 features a MicroSIM card that is located in a slot on the right side of the device.[70]

Moisture sensors[edit]

The iPhone has moisture sensors to indicate whether water damage has affected a device. The sensors on an iPhone include a small disc which is located in the headphone jack and an area near the dock connector.[71] The sensors are often used by Apple employees to determine whether the device qualifies for a warranty repair or replacement, and if the sensors show that the device has absorbed moisture they may determine that the device is not covered. However, the moisture sensors might be "tripped" through routine use, and if a device is worn while exercising the sweat from an owner may dampen the sensors enough to indicate water damage.[72] On many other mobile phones from different manufacturers, the moisture sensors are located in a protected location, such as beneath the battery behind a battery cover, but the sensors on an iPhone are directly exposed to the environment. This has led to criticism of the placement of the sensors, which may also be affected by steam in a bathroom or other light environmental moisture.[73]

Included items[edit]

All iPhone models include written documentation, and a dock connector to USB cable. The original and 3G iPhones also came with a cleaning cloth. The original iPhone included stereo headset (earbuds and a microphone) and a plastic dock to hold the unit upright while charging and syncing. The iPhone 3G includes a similar headset plus a SIM eject tool (the original model requires a paperclip). The iPhone 3GS includes the SIM eject tool and a revised headset, which adds volume buttons.[43] The iPhone 3G and 3GS are compatible with the same dock, sold separately, but not the original model's dock.[74] All versions include a USB power adapter, or "wall charger," which allows the iPhone to charge from an AC outlet. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS sold in North America, Japan, Colombia, Ecuador, or Peru[75][76] include an ultracompact USB power adapter. The iPhone 4 owners get free bumper case to temporarily resolve the antenna problems.[77]


Discontinued Current
Table of models
Model iPhone iPhone 3G iPhone 3GS iPhone 4
Initial operating system iPhone OS 1.0 iPhone OS 2.0 iPhone OS 3.0 iOS 4.0
Highest Supported operating system iPhone OS 3.1.3 iOS 4.1
Display 3.5 in (89 mm), 3:2 aspect ratio, scratch-resistant[24] glossy glass covered screen, 262,144-color LCD, 480 × 320 px (HVGA) at 163 ppi In addition to previous, features a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating[78] 3.5 in (89 mm), 3:2 aspect ratio, aluminosilicate glass covered IPS LCD screen, 960 × 640 px at 326 ppi, 800:1 contrast ratio
Storage 4, 8 and 16 GB 8 and 16 GB 8, 16 and 32 GB 16 and 32 GB
Processor 620 MHz (underclocked to 412 MHz) Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM 1176JZ(F)-S v1.0[79][80] 833 MHz (underclocked to 600 MHz) ARM Cortex-A8[81][82]
Samsung S5PC100[81][83]
ARM Cortex-A8 Apple A4[84]
Graphics PowerVR MBX Lite 3D GPU[85] PowerVR SGX535 GPU[81] PowerVR SGX535 GPU[86]
Memory 128 MB DRAM[87] 256 MB DRAM[81][82] 512 MB DRAM[88]
Connectivity Wi-Fi (802.11b/g),
USB 2.0/Dock connector,
Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR Cambridge Bluecore4[89]
In addition to previous:
Assisted GPS,
Tri-band UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)[49],
Includes earphones with mic
In addition to previous:
7.2 Mbit/s HSDPA,
Voice Control, Digital compass, Nike+,
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR Broadcom 4325[90],
Includes earphones with remote and mic
In addition to previous:
Penta-band UMTS/HSDPA (800, 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)[38][91],
5.76 Mbit/s HSUPA,
2.4 GHz 802.11n,
3-axis gyroscope,
Dual-mic noise suppression,
Camera 2.0 MP with geotagging 3.0 MP with VGA video at 30 fps, geotagging, tap to focus, and focus, white balance, macro focus & exposure Rear 5.0 MP backside illuminated CMOS image sensor with 720p HD video at 30 fps and LED flash
N/A Front 0.3 MP (VGA) with geotagging, tap to focus, and 480p SD video at 30 fps
Audio codec Wolfson Microelectronics WM8758BG[92] Wolfson Microelectronics WM6180C[93] Cirrus Logic CS42L61[94][95]
Materials Aluminum, glass and plastic Glass and plastic; black or white (white not available for 8 GB models) Aluminosilicate glass and stainless steel; black (white announced, but as of October 2010 not released)
Power Built-in non removable rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery[96][97][98]
3.7 V 1400 mA·h[citation needed] 3.7 V 1150 mA·h[97] 3.7 V 1219 mA·h[99] 3.7 V 1420 mA·h[100]
Rated battery life (hours) audio: 24
video: 7
Talk over 2G: 8
Browsing internet: 6
Standby: 250
audio: 24
video: 7
Talk over 3G: 5
Browsing over 3G: 5
Browsing over Wi-Fi: 9
Standby: 300
audio: 30
video: 10
Talk over 3G: 5
Browsing over 3G: 5
Browsing over Wi-Fi: 9
Standby: 300
audio: 40
video: 10
Talk over 3G: 7
Browsing over 3G: 6
Browsing over Wi-Fi: 10
Standby: 300[101]
Dimensions 115 × 61 × 11.6 mm (4.5 × 2.4 × 0.46 in) 115.5 × 62.1 × 12.3 mm (4.5 × 2.4 × 0.48 in) 115.2 × 58.6 × 9.3 mm (4.5 × 2.31 × 0.37 in)
Weight 135 g (4.8 oz) 133 g (4.7 oz) 135 g (4.8 oz) 137 g (4.8 oz)
Released 4 and 8 GB: June 29, 2007
16 GB: February 5, 2008
July 11, 2008 16 and 32 GB: June 19, 2009
Black 8 GB: June 24, 2010
June 24, 2010
Discontinued 4 GB: September 5, 2007
8 and 16 GB: July 11, 2008
16 GB: June 8, 2009
Black 8 GB: June 4, 2010
16 and 32 GB: June 24, 2010
Black 8 GB: In production
In production
Type Allocation Codes 01/124500 01/161200, 01/181200 01/194800 01/233800


thumb|The default Home screen of iOS 4 shows most of the applications provided by Apple. Users can download additional applications from the App store, create Web Clips, rearrange the icons, and create folders.

The iPhone (and iPod Touch) run an operating system known as iOS (formerly iPhone OS). It is a variant of the same Darwin operating system core that is found in Mac OS X. Also included is the "Core Animation" software component from Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard. Together with the PowerVR hardware (and on the iPhone 3GS, OpenGL ES 2.0), it is responsible for the interface's motion graphics. The operating system takes up less than half a gigabyte.[102] It is capable of supporting bundled and future applications from Apple, as well as from third-party developers. Software applications cannot be copied directly from Mac OS X but must be written and compiled specifically for iOS.

Like the iPod, the iPhone is managed with iTunes. The earliest versions of the OS required version 7.3 or later, which is compatible with Mac OS X version 10.4.10 Tiger or later, and 32-bit Windows XP or Vista.[103] The release of iTunes 7.6 expanded this support to include 64-bit versions of XP and Vista,[104] and a workaround has been discovered for previous 64-bit Windows operating systems.[105] Apple provides free updates to the OS for the iPhone through iTunes,[102] and major updates have historically accompanied new models.[106] Such updates often require a newer version of iTunes — for example, the 3.0 update requires iTunes 8.2 — but the iTunes system requirements have stayed the same. Updates include both security patches and new features.[107] For example, iPhone 3G users initially experienced dropped calls until an update was issued.[108][109]


The interface is based around the home screen, a graphical list of available applications. iPhone applications normally run one at a time (not including iOS 4, which includes running applications in the background [110]) , although most functionality is still available when making a call or listening to music. The home screen can be accessed at any time by a hardware button below the screen, closing the open application in the process.[111] By default, the Home screen contains the following icons: Messages (SMS and MMS messaging), Calendar, Photos, Camera, YouTube, Stocks, Maps (Google Maps), Weather, Voice Memos, Notes, Clock, Calculator, Settings, iTunes (store), App Store, and (on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4) Compass. Docked at the base of the screen, four icons for Phone, Mail, Safari (Internet), and iPod (multimedia) delineate the iPhone's main purposes.[112] On January 15, 2008, Apple released software update 1.1.3, allowing users to create "Web Clips", home screen icons that resemble apps that open a user-defined page in Safari. After the update, iPhone users can rearrange and place icons on up to nine other adjacent home screens, accessed by a horizontal swipe.[35] Users can also add and delete icons from the dock, which is the same on every home screen. Each home screen holds up to sixteen icons, and the dock holds up to four icons. Users can delete Web Clips and third-party applications at any time, and may select only certain applications for transfer from iTunes. Apple's default programs, however, may not be removed. The 3.0 update adds a system-wide search, known as Spotlight, to the left of the first home screen.[33][34]

Almost all input is given through the touch screen, which understands complex gestures using multi-touch. The iPhone's interaction techniques enable the user to move the content up or down by a touch-drag motion of the finger. For example, zooming in and out of web pages and photos is done by placing two fingers on the screen and spreading them farther apart or bringing them closer together, a gesture known as "pinching". Scrolling through a long list or menu is achieved by sliding a finger over the display from bottom to top, or vice versa to go back. In either case, the list moves as if it is pasted on the outer surface of a wheel, slowly decelerating as if affected by friction. In this way, the interface simulates the physics of a real object. Other user-centered interactive effects include horizontally sliding sub-selection, the vertically sliding keyboard and bookmarks menu, and widgets that turn around to allow settings to be configured on the other side. Menu bars are found at the top and bottom of the screen when necessary. Their options vary by program, but always follow a consistent style motif. In menu hierarchies, a "back" button in the top-left corner of the screen displays the name of the parent folder.


The iPhone allows audio conferencing, call holding, call merging, caller ID, and integration with other cellular network features and iPhone functions. For example, if music is playing when a call is received, the music fades out, and fades back in when the call has ended. The proximity sensor shuts off the screen and touch-sensitive circuitry when the iPhone is brought close to the face, both to save battery and prevent unintentional touches. The iPhone does not support video calling or videoconferencing on versions prior to the 4th generation, as there is only one camera on the opposite side of the screen.[113] The iPhone 4 supports video calling using either the front or back camera over wi-fi, a feature Apple calls Facetime.[114] The first two models only support voice dialing through third party applications.[115] Voice control, available only on the iPhone 3GS, allows users to say a contact's name or number and the iPhone will dial.[116]

The iPhone includes a visual voicemail (in some countries)[117] feature allowing users to view a list of current voicemail messages on-screen without having to call into their voicemail. Unlike most other systems, messages can be listened to and deleted in a non-chronological order by choosing any message from an on-screen list.

A music ringtone feature was introduced in the United States on September 5, 2007. Users can create custom ringtones from songs purchased from the iTunes Store for a small additional fee. The ringtones can be 3 to 30 seconds long from any part of a song, can fade in and out, pause from half a second to five seconds when looped, or loop continuously. All customizing can be done in iTunes,[118] or alternatively with Apple's GarageBand software 4.1.1 or later (available only on Mac OS X)[119] or third-party tools.[120]


The layout of the music library is similar to that of an iPod or current Symbian S60 phones. The iPhone can sort its media library by songs, artists, albums, videos, playlists, genres, composers, podcasts, audiobooks, and compilations. Options are always presented alphabetically, except in playlists, which retain their order from iTunes. The iPhone uses a large font that allows users plenty of room to touch their selection. Users can rotate their device horizontally to landscape mode to access Cover Flow. Like on iTunes, this feature shows the different album covers in a scroll-through photo library. Scrolling is achieved by swiping a finger across the screen. Alternatively, headset controls can be used to pause, play, skip, and repeat tracks. On the iPhone 3GS, the volume can be changed with the included Apple Earphones, and the Voice Control feature can be used to identify a track, play songs in a playlist or by a specific artist, or create a Genius playlist.[116]

The photo display application supports both portrait and landscape orientations.

The iPhone supports gapless playback.[121] Like the fifth generation iPods introduced in 2005, the iPhone can play digital video, allowing users to watch TV shows and movies in widescreen. Double-tapping switches between widescreen and fullscreen video playback.

The iPhone allows users to purchase and download songs from the iTunes Store directly to their iPhone. The feature originally required a Wi-Fi network, but now[when?] can use the cellular data network if one is not available.[122]

The iPhone includes software that allows the user to upload, view, and e-mail photos taken with the camera. The user zooms in and out of photos by sliding two fingers further apart or closer together, much like Safari. The Camera application also lets users view the camera roll, the pictures that have been taken with the iPhone's camera. Those pictures are also available in the Photos application, along with any transferred from iPhoto or Aperture on a Mac, or Photoshop in Windows.

Internet connectivity[edit]

Internet access is available when the iPhone is connected to a local area Wi-Fi or a wide area GSM or EDGE network, both second-generation (2G) wireless data standards. The iPhone 3G introduced support for third-generation UMTS and HSDPA 3.6,[123] but not HSUPA networks, and only the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 support HSDPA 7.2.[124] AT&T introduced 3G in July 2004,[125] but as late as 2007 Steve Jobs stated that it was still not widespread enough in the US, and the chipsets not energy efficient enough, to be included in the iPhone.[27][126] Support for 802.1X, an authentication system commonly used by university and corporate Wi-Fi networks, was added in the 2.0 version update.[127]

By default, the iPhone will ask to join newly discovered Wi-Fi networks and prompt for the password when required. Alternatively, it can join closed Wi-Fi networks manually.[128] The iPhone will automatically choose the strongest network, connecting to Wi-Fi instead of EDGE when it is available.[129] Similarly, the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 prefer 3G to 2G, and Wi-Fi to either.[130] Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G (on the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4) can all be deactivated individually. Airplane mode disables all wireless connections at once, overriding other preferences. However, once in Airplane mode, one can explicitly enable Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth modes to join and continue to operate over one or both of those networks while the cellular network transceivers remain off.

The iPhone 3GS has a maximum download rate of 7.2 Mbit/s.[131] Furthermore, files downloaded over cellular networks must be smaller than 20 MB.[132] Larger files, often email attachments or podcasts, must be downloaded over Wi-Fi (which has no file size limits). If Wi-Fi is unavailable, one workaround is to open the files directly in Safari.[133]

Safari is the iPhone's native web browser, and it displays pages similar to its Mac and Windows counterparts. Web pages may be viewed in portrait or landscape mode and supports automatic zooming by pinching together or spreading apart fingertips on the screen, or by double-tapping text or images.[134][135] The iPhone supports neither Flash[136] nor Java.[137][unreliable source?] Consequently, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority adjudicated that an advertisement claiming the iPhone could access "all parts of the internet" should be withdrawn in its current form, on grounds of false advertising.[138] In a rare public letter in April 2010, Apple CEO Steve Jobs outlined the reasoning behind the absence of Flash on the iPhone (and iPad).[139] The iPhone supports SVG, CSS, HTML Canvas, and Bonjour.[140][141]

The maps application can access Google Maps in map, satellite, or hybrid form. It can also generate directions between two locations, while providing optional real-time traffic information. During the iPhone's announcement, Jobs demonstrated this feature by searching for nearby Starbucks locations and then placing a prank call to one with a single tap.[7][142] Support for walking directions, public transit, and street view was added in the version 2.2 software update, but no voice-guided navigation.[143] The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 can orient the map with its digital compass.[37] Apple also developed a separate application to view YouTube videos on the iPhone, which streams videos after encoding them using the H.264 codec. Simple weather and stock quotes applications also tap in to the Internet.

iPhone users can and do access the Internet frequently, and in a variety of places. According to Google, the iPhone generates 50 times more search requests than any other mobile handset.[144] According to Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann, "The average Internet usage for an iPhone customer is more than 100 megabytes. This is 30 times the use for our average contract-based consumer customers."[145] Nielsen found that 98% of iPhone users use data services, and 88% use the internet.[15] In China, the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS were built and distributed without Wi-fi.[146]

Text input[edit]

[[:Image:IPhone keyboard unblurred.jpg|thumb|The virtual keyboard on the original iPhone's touchscreen.]]

For text input, the iPhone implements a virtual keyboard on the touchscreen. It has automatic spell checking and correction, predictive word capabilities, and a dynamic dictionary that learns new words. The keyboard can predict what word the user is typing and complete it, and correct for the accidental pressing of keys near the presumed desired key.[147] The keys are somewhat larger and spaced farther apart when in landscape mode, which is supported by only a limited number of applications. Touching a section of text for a brief time brings up a magnifying glass, allowing users to place the cursor in the middle of existing text. The virtual keyboard can accommodate 21 languages, including character recognition for Chinese.[148] The 3.0 update brought support for cut, copy, or pasting text, as well as landscape keyboards in more applications.[33][34]

E-mail and text messages[edit]

The iPhone also features an e-mail program that supports HTML e-mail, which enables the user to embed photos in an e-mail message. PDF, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint attachments to mail messages can be viewed on the phone.[49] Apple's MobileMe platform offers push email, which emulates the functionality of the popular BlackBerry email solution, for an annual subscription. Yahoo! offers a free push-email service for the iPhone. IMAP (although not Push-IMAP) and POP3 mail standards are also supported, including Microsoft Exchange[149] and Kerio Connect.[150] In the first versions of the iPhone firmware, this was accomplished by opening up IMAP on the Exchange server. Apple has also licensed Microsoft ActiveSync and now[when?] supports the platform (including push email) with the release of iPhone 2.0 firmware.[151][152] The iPhone will sync e-mail account settings over from Apple's own Mail application, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Entourage, or it can be manually configured on the device itself. With the correct settings, the e-mail program can access almost any IMAP or POP3 account.[153]

Text messages are presented chronologically in a mailbox format similar to Mail, which places all text from recipients together with replies. Text messages are displayed in speech bubbles (similar to iChat) under each recipient's name. The iPhone currently[when?] has built-in support for e-mail message forwarding, drafts, and direct internal camera-to-e-mail picture sending. Support for multi-recipient SMS was added in the 1.1.3 software update.[154] Support for MMS was added in the 3.0 update, but not for the original iPhone[33][34] and not in the U.S. until September 25, 2009.[155][156]

Third party applications[edit]

See also: iPhone SDK and App Store

At WWDC 2007 on June 11, 2007 Apple announced that the iPhone would support third-party "web applications" written in Ajax that share the look and feel of the iPhone interface.[157] On October 17, 2007, Steve Jobs, in an open letter posted to Apple's "Hot News" weblog, announced that a software development kit (SDK) would be made available to third-party developers in February 2008. The iPhone SDK was officially announced and released on March 6, 2008, at the Apple Town Hall facility.[158] It is a free download, with an Apple registration, that allows developers to develop native applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, then test them in an "iPhone simulator". However, loading an application onto a real device is only possible after paying a Apple Developer Connection membership fee. Developers are free to set any price for their applications to be distributed through the App Store, of which they will receive a 70% share.[159] Developers can also opt to release the application for free and will not pay any costs to release or distribute the application beyond the membership fee. The App Store was launched with the release of iOS 2.0, on July 11, 2008.[152] The update was free for iPhone users; owners of older iPod Touches were required to pay US$10 for it.[160]

Once a developer has submitted an application to the App Store, Apple holds firm control over its distribution. Apple can halt the distribution of applications it deems inappropriate, for example, I Am Rich, a US$1000 program that simply demonstrated the wealth of its user.[161] Apple has been criticized for banning third party applications that enable a functionality that Apple does not want the iPhone to have: In 2008, Apple rejected Podcaster, which allowed iPhone users to download podcasts directly to the iPhone claiming it duplicated the functionality of iTunes.[162] Apple has since released a software update that grants this capability.[143] NetShare, another rejected app, would have enabled users to tether their iPhone to a laptop or desktop, using its cellular network to load data for the computer.[163]

Before the SDK was released, third-parties were permitted to design "Web Apps" that would run through Safari.[164] Unsigned native applications are also available for "jailbroken" phones.[165] The ability to install native applications onto the iPhone outside of the App Store is not supported by Apple, the stated reason being that such native applications could be broken by any software update, but Apple has stated it will not design software updates specifically to break native applications other than those that perform SIM unlocking.[166]


The iPhone can enlarge text to make it more accessible for vision-impaired users,[167] and can accommodate hearing-impaired users with closed captioning and external TTY devices.[168] The iPhone 3GS also features white on black mode, VoiceOver (a screen reader), and zooming for impaired vision, and mono audio for limited hearing in one ear.[169] Apple regularly publishes Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates which explicitly state compliance with the US regulation "Section 508".[170]

Intellectual property[edit]

Apple has filed more than 200 patent applications related to the technology behind the iPhone.[171][172]

LG Electronics claimed the iPhone's design was copied from the LG Prada. Woo-Young Kwak, head of LG Mobile Handset R&D Center, said at a press conference, “We consider that Apple copied Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006.”[173]

On September 3, 1993, Infogear filed for the U.S. trademark "I PHONE"[174] and on March 20, 1996 applied for the trademark "IPhone".[175] "I Phone" was registered in March 1998,[174] and "IPhone" was registered in 1999.[175] Since then, the I PHONE mark had been abandoned.[174] Infogear's trademarks cover "communications terminals comprising computer hardware and software providing integrated telephone, data communications and personal computer functions" (1993 filing),[174] and "computer hardware and software for providing integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks" (1996 filing).[176] Infogear released a telephone with an integrated web browser under the name iPhone in 1998.[177] In 2000, Infogear won an infringement claim against the owners of the domain name.[178] In June 2000, Cisco Systems acquired Infogear, including the iPhone trademark.[179] On December 18, 2006 they released a range of re-branded Voice over IP (VoIP) sets under the name iPhone.[180]

In October 2002, Apple applied for the "iPhone" trademark in the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, and the European Union. A Canadian application followed in October 2004 and a New Zealand application in September 2006. As of October 2006 only the Singapore and Australian applications had been granted. In September 2006, a company called Ocean Telecom Services applied for an "iPhone" trademark in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, following a filing in Trinidad and Tobago.[181] As the Ocean Telecom trademark applications use exactly the same wording as Apple's New Zealand application, it is assumed that Ocean Telecom is applying on behalf of Apple.[182] The Canadian application was opposed in August 2005 by a Canadian company called Comwave who themselves applied for the trademark three months later. Comwave has been selling VoIP devices called iPhone since 2004.[179]

Shortly after Steve Jobs' January 9, 2007 announcement that Apple would be selling a product called iPhone in June 2007, Cisco issued a statement that it had been negotiating trademark licensing with Apple and expected Apple to agree to the final documents that had been submitted the night before.[183] On January 10, 2007 Cisco announced it had filed a lawsuit against Apple over the infringement of the trademark iPhone, seeking an injunction in federal court to prohibit Apple from using the name.[184] More recently, Cisco claimed that the trademark lawsuit was a "minor skirmish" that was not about money, but about interoperability.[185]

On February 2, 2007, Apple and Cisco announced that they had agreed to temporarily suspend litigation while they held settlement talks,[186] and subsequently announced on February 20, 2007 that they had reached an agreement. Both companies will be allowed to use the "iPhone" name[187] in exchange for "exploring interoperability" between their security, consumer, and business communications products.[188]

The iPhone has also inspired several leading high-tech clones,[189] driving both Apple's popularity and consumer willingness to upgrade iPhones quickly.[190]

On October 22, 2009 Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple for infringement of its GSM, UMTS and WLAN patents. Nokia alleges that Apple has been violating ten of Nokia's patents since the iPhone's initial release.[191]


Apple tightly controls certain aspects of the iPhone. The hacker community has found many workarounds, most of which are condemned by Apple and threaten to void the device's warranty.[192] "Jailbreaking" allows users to install apps not available on the App Store or modify basic functionality. SIM unlocking allows the iPhone to be used on a different carrier's network.[193]


The iPhone normally prevents access to its media player and web features unless it has also been activated as a phone with an authorized carrier. On July 3, 2007, Jon Lech Johansen reported on his blog that he had successfully bypassed this requirement and unlocked the iPhone's other features with a combination of custom software and modification of the iTunes binary. He published the software and offsets for others to use.[194]

Unlike the original, the iPhone 3G must be activated in the store in most countries.[195] This makes the iPhone 3G more difficult, but not impossible, to hack. The need for in-store activation, as well as the huge number of first-generation iPhone and iPod Touch users upgrading to iPhone OS 2.0, caused a worldwide overload of Apple's servers on July 11, 2008, the day on which both the iPhone 3G and iPhone OS 2.0 updates as well as MobileMe were released. After the update, devices were required to connect to Apple's servers to authenticate the update, causing many devices to be temporarily unusable.[196] Apple avoided this by releasing the 3.0 software two days before the iPhone 3GS.

Users on the O2 network in the United Kingdom, however, can buy the phone online and activate it via iTunes as with the previous model.[197] Even where not required, vendors usually offer activation for the buyer's convenience. In the U.S., Apple has begun to offer free shipping on both the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS (when available), reversing the in-store activation requirement. Best Buy and Wal-Mart will also sell the iPhone.[198]

Unlicensed third party software and jailbreaking[edit]

The iPhone's operating system is designed to only run software that has an Apple-approved cryptographic signature. This restriction can be overcome by "jailbreaking" the phone,[199] which involves replacing the iPhone's firmware with a slightly modified version that does not enforce the signature check. Doing so may be a circumvention of Apple's technical protection measures.[200] Apple, in a statement to the United States Copyright Office in response to EFF lobbying for a DMCA exception for this kind of hacking, claimed that jailbreaking the iPhone would be copyright infringement due to the necessary modification of system software.[201] Jailbroken iPhones may be susceptible to computer viruses, but few such incidents have been reported.[202][203]

SIM unlocking[edit]

United States[edit]

iPhone 3G shown with the SIM tray partially ejected.

Most iPhones are sold with a SIM lock, which restricts the use of the phone to one particular carrier, a common practice with subsidized GSM phones. Unlike most GSM phones however, the phone cannot be officially unlocked by entering a code. The locked/unlocked state is maintained on Apple's servers per IMEI and is set when the iPhone is activated.

While the iPhone was initially sold in the US only on the AT&T network with a SIM lock in place, various hackers have found methods to "unlock" the phone from a specific network.[204] Although AT&T is the only authorized iPhone carrier in the United States, unlocked iPhones can be used with other carriers after unlocking.[205] More than a quarter of the original iPhones sold in the United States were not registered with AT&T. Apple speculates that they were likely shipped overseas and unlocked, a lucrative market before the iPhone 3G's worldwide release.[206] iPhones are unlocked by users who wish to use other networks than AT&T's.[14][not in citation given]

AT&T has stated that the "iPhone cannot be unlocked, even if you are out of contract".[205][207] On March 26, 2009 AT&T in the United States began selling the iPhone without a contract, though still SIM-locked to their network.[208] Such iPhone units are often twice as expensive as those with contracts, because Apple and AT&T lose the deferred income.[209] Outside of the United States, policies differ.

United Kingdom[edit]

O2, Orange, 3, Vodafone and T-Mobile in the United Kingdom are allowed to sell it, with MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) Tesco Mobile also offering deals, thus the only operator not selling the iPhone currently is MVNO Virgin Mobile. The new iPhone 4 in the UK is also sold unlocked without a contract for full retail price, for use on any network the user chooses, but only when bought at the physical Apple Stores or the Apple Online Store.


Four major carriers in Australia, (Three, Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone),[210] offer legitimate unlocking.[69]


In Denmark it is unlocked after 6 months of contract have passed, or earlier if you pay DKK 500 (approx. €70) for unlocking.

Other countries[edit]

The iPhone is also available without any SIM lock for full retail price in some countries. These include Canada, South Africa, Singapore, Greece, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand and Russia, vendors sell iPhones not locked to any carrier.[69]

See also[edit]

  • Similar Apple Devices
  • iPhone (original) – First generation iPhone with touchscreen interface
  • iPhone 3G – Second generation iPhone with 3G and GPS
  • iPhone 3GS – Third generation iPhone with improved camera and performance
  • iPhone 4 – Fourth generation iPhone, features include higher megapixel camera, HD video, and improved performance


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