iPhone: 15 standard features that Apple’s first mobile phone did not have

The first iPhone, a milestone for Apple. (Image source: Carl Berkeley, published under CC BY-SA 2.0.)

Time flies by, because 15 years ago Apple presented us with the first iPhone. But many features that we take for granted today were out of the question at the time. An exciting review.


If you want to have a look at the rapid development of the iPhone, all you need to do is take a look at the first model from 2007. Although it laid the foundation for Apple’s current success, but still had to forego a large number of functionsthat we consider “normal” in today’s iPhones.

15 features that the first iPhone didn’t even have

The colleagues from MacRumors collected 15 of these features in a list to coincide with the anniversary (source: MacRumors). Let’s take a closer look:

  • App Store: An iPhone without an app store? Inconceivable today, but it didn’t really exist until summer 2008, a year after the introduction of the first iPhone. In the meantime, developers and customers should be content with web apps, but the call for native apps was simply too loud, Apple heard it and reacted.
  • Copy and paste: The iPhone had to do without “copy & paste” for a long time; this was only available as a matter of course in 2009, two years later.
  • Front camera: Video conferences, above all with FaceTime, have become indispensable today, but this was only possible with the iPhone 4, the first Apple cell phone with a front camera.
  • Flashlight: At first there was no suitable LED flashlight, instead resourceful developers presented apps that displayed a white screen at maximum brightness in order to imitate a flashlight. An absolute must for iPhone users for a long time.
  • Video recordings: With the first iPhone you could take (bad) photos alone, you had to be patient for video recordings. Only the iPhone 3GS (from 2009) was able to do this.

An excerpt from the legendary keynote in January 2007, during which the first iPhone was unveiled:

  • MMS support: Even if MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) never became a hit, it would have been nice if the first iPhone supported it. But it was not possible, this was only possible from 2009 and then only from the second iPhone generation upwards.
  • GPS: Navigation with the iPhone? Was only available in the following year with the iPhone 3G, the original Apple cell phone, this was still denied.
  • Background images for the home screen: For a long time it was monotonous with the iPhone, because it was only with iOS 4 from 2010 that the system made it possible to use your own background images.
  • SIM lock vs. free choice of provider: Today you have to remember that with the iPhone you couldn’t choose the provider at first. In the USA, for example, the cell phone was only available from AT&T for a long time, in Germany from Telekom. No longer imaginable today.
  • Siri: The voice assistant has only been hearing our requests for a little over 10 years. But let’s be honest, even nowadays Siri still doesn’t understand everything.
  • Touch ID und Face ID: Fingerprint sensors (from iPhone 5s, 2013) and face recognition (from iPhone X, 2017) seem natural to us today, but before we always had to enter our passcode manually.
  • Lightning connector: Even in the era of USB-C it was still standard on the iPhone, but the first model didn’t even have the Lightning port, instead it used the 30-pin dock connector on the iPod.
  • Retina-Display: Even if the name is pure marketing, the fact is that the first iPhone had a relatively low display resolution. It wasn’t until the iPhone 4 that everything became a bit sharper – the retina display was born.
  • Wireless charging: It’s only been around since 2017 and yet we’ve gotten used to it.
  • Water resistance: The original iPhone should stay away from water, but the latest models are even waterproof to IP68.

We looked back in 2017 and collected the milestones in iPhone development:

The real DNA of the iPhone

In a nutshell: From today’s point of view, using an original iPhone may even seem absurd to us, but the DNA of the Apple cell phone has not really changed and has remained unchanged since then. An easy-to-use touchscreen with a perfectly optimized user interface and the power of the Internet – was valid in 2007 and also in 2022.


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