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The Apple iPhone was originally released on June 29, 2007 and runs Apple's iOS mobile operating system, which was originally known as the iPhone OS. The sixth-generation iPhone 5, Apple's most recent iteration of the device, was released on September 21, 2012.

Each iPhone iteration was also accompanied by the release of a new version of Apple's iOS, bringing new features to each iPhone model. For instance, MMS (multimedia messaging) was not available on the initial iPhone device and was not released until the iOS 3.0 update. Video capture was not a standard feature until the iPhone 3GS was released on June 19, 2009.

All iPhone models look very similar in hardware design; all iPhones prior to the sixth-gen iPhone 5 featured a 3.5-inch screen. There were some differences in pixel density, however. Prior to the iPhone 4, Apple's smartphones featured a 480x320 pixel display, increasing to 960x640 pixels in the iPhone 4 and 4s models, and then to 1,136x640 pixels in the iPhone 5, which also features an increased screen size of 4 inches. All models except the original iPhone are compatible with 3G networks around the world. The original iPhone is a 2G-only device. However, only the iPhone 5 is 4G LTE compatible.

Downloading applications was always touted as one of the iPhone's most embracing features. As of 2012, the iPhone App Store offered more than 700,000 applications, practically head-to-head with the Android OS as far as number of available apps.

As of Q3 2012, iPhone holds around 15% of the worldwide smartphone market, with 26.9 million iPhones shipped in the quarter.

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