Comparing Apple’s original 2007 iPhone with iPhone X

Apple put a dent in the mobile planet when it introduced the original iPhone back in 2007, so how does that iconic device compare with the iPhone X the company hopes will define the next ten years of mobile device evolution?

Apple, iPhone, iPhone X, iPhone 2007, iOS, Steve Jobs

Apple put a dent in the mobile planet when it introduced the original iPhone back in 2007, so how does that iconic device compare with the iPhone X the company hopes will define the next ten years of mobile device evolution? I’ve been having a few thoughts about the original iPhone and how it compares to the iPhone X.

Reinventing the phone

Steve Jobs called iPhone 2007 an “iPod, a phone and an Internet communicator”.

It introduced a touch-based user interface, a unique rounded corner design, a 2-megapixel camera and a 320-x-480 pixel TFT display.

These days the three functions Jobs described as being so critical to the device remain, supplemented (on the utility side) by enterprise-focused productivity functions, cloud services, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and streaming service capabilities. The iPhone OS has gone through a decade of change, from the closed iPhone 1 to the powerful iOS 11 system.

There’s also an App Store powered by the efforts of 30 million developers and a rapidly increasing number of sensors and services that provide extra utility – the iPhone X even supports the highly accurate Galileo satellite location detection system, for example.

Memories are everything

The camera has evolved. Today, the iPhone X provides a 12-megapixel camera capable of capturing wide-angle and telephoto pictures that’s also equipped with an optical zoom.

The camera is supplemented with powerful software to enable even the most non-technical user to capture really nice photographs, portraits, video and more. Not only this, but there’s a FaceTime camera and – of course – face recognition and Face ID.

FaceID is a big deal. Not only does it represent the first mass market face-based biometric ID system, but it also opens the doors to whole bunch of ideas you’d never have considered would be part of a mobile device when the iPhone first appeared in 2007.

Escape from the box

Emotion sensing and a range of not-yet-seen face recognition apps simply weren’t on most people’s radar. Most of us were still amazed that we could control the device using touch.

They certainly weren’t on the radar of Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, who thought the original iPhone would fail in enterprise markets because it “lacked a physical keyboard”.

Proving that real progress demands that one bends the knee against limited vision and reactionary philosophy when it is encountered, Apple now dominates the mobile enterprise. (And don’t neglect the user interface ideas the Android people were looking at, pre-iPhone).

Artificial intelligence, Siri, and predictive technologies also mean our mobile devices are becoming increasingly capable of figuring out what we need before we need it. iPhones have become health and activity trackers, mapping devices, and even save lives.

Photos for the rest of us

KeyPoint Intelligence/InfoTrends predicts 1.2 trillion digital photos will be taken this year. 85 percent of these will be taken using a smartphone. C

learly, Apple’s devices account for a substantial share of these images: iPhones are the most widely-used digital cameras on leading image sharing service, Flickr. (And Apple’s Photos app can even identify items in your photographs to help you find the ones you love).

Looking at all those images and using all those apps means the display used in these devices has also improved.

That 320-x-480 pixel TFT display of the iPhone in 2007 has been replaced by a 2,436-x-1125-pixel OLED screen. The display technology itself has also evolved, and Apple now claims it to be the “most durable glass ever in an iPhone”.

Insane in the main brain

Of course, changing the way people work, rest, and play demands a powerful processor.

Apple depended on third party invention to supply the brains of the original iPhone. The CPU in the 2007 device was a 412MHz ARM 11 chip with a PowerVR GPU.  At that time, the high-end MacBook Pro ran a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor – the iPhone simply did not match the processing and productivity potential of the Mac, but it wasn’t intended to – it was a mobile device to supplement the needs of a computer user.

We’ve moved forward. Today’s iPhone X hosts an Apple-developed system-on-a-chip it calls the A11 Bionic.  The chip is still based on ARM reference designs, hosts six cores and is setting new records in mobile system performance. It also combines an Apple-designed GPU that is itself faster than any previous graphic processor in an iPhone.

Driven by the need to support more tasks (from Office apps to music and move creation and beyond) and a vast array of increasingly capable apps, iPhone storage has also evolved.

Where the 2007 iPhone shipped with 128MB RAM and 4GB or 8GB of storage, iPhone X offers a hefty 3GB or RAM and 64GB or 256GB of storage. (It is interesting to see how the cost of RAM has changed in the last ten years).

The post-PC era isn’t coming, it’s here

To contextualize this data, it is worth noting recent Geekbench figures that seem to suggest that when it comes to raw performance, the iPhone X (and 8 series) actually compete with some current MacBook Pro configurations.

I think that the great strides in performance evolution Apple has achieved in terms of mobile processors is truly important, because it is tangible evidence as to how far the company’s whole notion of what a smartphone has moved forward since 2007.

While iPhone 1 was designed to deliver on the mobile computing needs of an existing computer user, iPhone X represents a vision in which the mobile device increasingly replaces, or even improves on what you get from a PC.

Given the glacial pace of mobile evolution in the ten years prior to iPhone, you have Apple, and its followers to thank for that. Would this even have been possible if we’d stuck with Flash?

What do you see as the most significant improvements in Apple’s mobile technology since the iPhone first appeared in 2007? What do they tell you about how things have changed and the nature of the mobile digital transformations that lie ahead?

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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