iPhone 11 vs The Original iPhone - what’s changed?

iPhone 11 vs The Original iPhone - what’s changed?

It’s been 12 years since Apple released a ‘breakthrough communications device’ they called ‘iPhone’, with the original iPhone release date the 9th of January 2007. It goes without saying, the announcement changed the tech industry forever. 

However, it can be difficult each year to see big differences between the new iPhone and its predecessor. If we look back 12 years, we can see very clearly how far the smartphone industry has come in technological advances. 

At the time of the original iPhone launch, people were less focused on the specs and more focused on the innovative technology that revolutionized the way we use our mobile devices. Now, with every iPhone release, consumers are much more focused on specs, with the integral technology being the innovative factor of the device… Let’s take a look at the original iPhone to compare.

Get ready for a newfound appreciation for the phones we’ve become so accustomed to using every day. 

iPhones stacked

The Display

If you were born in the 90’s, maybe you remember the excitement of using a touch screen for the very first time. The technology was so incredibly new, it truly felt like magic. I remember playing a bubble popping game on a ‘touchscreen’ phone that required a stylus to function… the day I lost that stylus was a very sad day indeed. 

But I wasn’t sad for too long, because pretty soon after, a new type of touchscreen showed up on the market.

Back then, not all touch screens were made equal, and the launch of the original iPhone set a new industry standard. The fact that you could touch a glass screen with your finger, and it would respond in real-time, was revolutionary. 

Sure, you could see individual pixels on the display, but no one was really looking at that… and it’s a good thing too, because back then, you couldn’t even change the original iPhone background! The world was just in awe at the fact that they could touch a screen and like magic, the phone would respond. 

Now, towards the end of 2019, we’re much more ‘specs’ focused. The iPhone 11 display has a Super Retina XDR display, an all-screen OLED Multi-Touch display, HDR display and 24360 by-1125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi…

If you look at the archives of Apple’s website, you’ll see that what they were bragging about with the original iPhone was drastically different…

One of the exciting features of the original iPhone was the accelerometer. ‘A proximity sensor that detects when you’re holding the phone in landscape or portrait, so you immediately see the entire width of a web page or photo.’ 

This neat feature also detects when you’re holding the phone close to your ear, and turns the display off so that you don’t accidentally use the touch screen with your ear while on a call. Yep, this was a huge innovation back in the day!

iPhone 11

They also bragged about the fancy light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the display, ‘thereby enhancing the user experience and saving power at the same time.’...

Jaw. Breaker. 

The Camera

I think it’s fair to say that the camera is probably the feature with the most dramatic difference from the original iPhone to the iPhone 11. I mean, the original iPhone didn’t even have a selfie camera! Selfies weren’t introduced to the world until the iPhone 4 was released. Before then, it was a world full of out of focus mirror selfies. 

The original iPhone camera was a 2-megapixel camera. The new iPhone 11 Pro camera is a triple 12-megapixel camera… That’s already 18 times better than the original iPhone, and the list of iPhone 11 Pro camera specs are pretty long in comparison to the original... 

The iPhone 11 Pro camera spec list on the Apple website lists 54 impressive specs. The original iPhone camera spec list in comparison wasn’t exactly a ‘list’... it had a camera.

iPhone 11 Pro camera

The original iPhone camera has no flash, no microphone, no tap to focus, no tap to expose and no option to record video. It had a simple shutter button. It took photos. Slowly. And it was amazing. 

In a short 12 years, we’ve gone from being amazed that our phone has a camera, to having such a high-quality camera on our phone that everyone and their dad thinks they’re a professional photographer, and the #foodie on Instagram has never looked better. 

Other differences to note

There are obviously a lot of other differences between the original iPhone and the latest iPhone, noticeably the size of these devices, with iPhone's typically getting thinner and thinner as newer versions are released. The original iPhone was a bit of a brick in comparison. 

But one thing that hasn’t changed since Apple’s early days is Apple’s ability to design their devices to be solely compatible with Apple products, with the exception of MFI approved products. 

The original iPhone had Apple’s signature 30 pin connector at the bottom for charging and syncing. The old fashioned headphone jack was located at the top of the device.

The way that the headphone jack was designed only allowed for a specific shape of headphones to be plugged in… specifically, the long, thin Apple headphone connector shape. 

If you wanted to use your own headphones and they weren’t long and thin but instead jutted out to the side, you would have to buy an adapter from, you guessed it, Apple. Sort of like what they did when they eliminated the headphone jack entirely from their iPhones… 

iPhones adapter

But whatever, we’re over that now that AirPods exist! We’d rather wireless Apple AirPods over adapters any day of the week. 

What’s stayed the same?

There’s one feature that has stayed the same across every iPhone device, and that’s the placement of the mute button at the top of the left side of the iPhone. 

Other than this small detail, pretty much everything has changed, from the hardware to the screen tech, to the material used to build the phone. 

A lot has changed since the original iPhone launch 12 years ago. In fact, when we compare the iPhones side-by-side, we start to realize just how far this industry has come in such a short time. And here at QDOS, we’re just as excited today to be a part of this fast-moving industry since the day we launched our company back in 2006. 


Apple has given us inspiration over the years to continue to innovate in our products, and it’s pretty cool to see how far we’ve come in our own product development too. 

Here’s to another 12 years of innovation! We can’t wait to see what Apple does next. 

A blog by Gabrielle Lazareff 





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