10 iconic iPhone features we lost


The Iphone. It’s an iconic device that’s often credited with the birth of the modern touchscreen smartphone in 2007. Apple’s hugely popular mobile has seen many incarnations over the years, with features that come and go – but you remember you of all the features of the iPhone used to get?

In a world where the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max have refined and redefined what people think of when the word “iPhone” is mentioned, it’s easy to forget what the iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 5 and all other early models offered.

Before iPhone 12, we took a trip down memory lane and racked our brains to recall once-defined iPhone features that are no longer. Sure, we’ve had a bit of sentimental writing this, and a few tears have been shed, but it’s also a celebration of how far we’ve come … and, if we’re being honest, how many aspects of old phones linger in the iPhone SE. Mid-range 2020, a phone that, aside from the chipset and software, is mostly stuck in time.

But while flagship models continue to embrace a full-screen, front-glass, and rear-glass Face ID verification phone design, the following flourishes remain a cherished memory for the early days of the iPhone …

1. Skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphism in iPhone OS 3 (L) and iOS 4 (R)

Skeuomorphism in iPhone OS 3 (L) and iOS 4 (R)

First appearance: 2007, iPhone OS 1
Last appearance: 2012, iOS 6

Sir Jony Ive’s skeuomorphic iOS interface defined the early years of the iPhone, with literal icons for just about everything, delivering a unique – and at times, a bit confusing – aesthetic.

It quickly became a favorite with many Apple fans, and when Apple radically overhauled the look of its interface with iOS 7 in 2013, there was an outcry from the media and fans alike.

However, like most changes in the tech world, skeuomorphism was forgotten after about a year, and iOS’s new look was adopted as the iPhone standard.

2.30 pin connector

The 30 pin port of the iPhone 4S

The 30 pin port of the iPhone 4S

First Appearance: 2007, Original iPhone
Last appearance: 2011, iPhone 4S

While the original iPhone had this connection, it wasn’t new to the first Apple phone. Part of the company’s iPod line, the 30-pin connector will long live in the memory of anyone who purchased any form of iPhone or iPod dock / speaker / stereo in the early 2000s. .

The port allowed for an easy docking station for your iPhone (or iPod), allowing it to stand upright with a sturdy base. However, it was also a wide port and took up a lot of valuable space in the confined form factor of a smartphone.

So it was no surprise when Apple presented us with Lightning, its answer to microUSB, offering the user the possibility of inserting a cable in either direction – a feature imitated by USB-C some. years later.

However, while Lightning had many advantages over the 30-pin port, its thinner form factor made it more delicate, which in turn led to the death of dockable speakers and other accessories.

3. Plastic body

IPhone 5C was Apple's last plastic iPhone

IPhone 5C was Apple’s last plastic iPhone

First Appearance: 2007, Original iPhone
Last appearance: 2013, iPhone 5C

Plastic is cheap, lightweight, and highly moldable, making it a fantastic material for smartphones.

The back of the original iPhone was made of about one-fifth of plastic, while the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS were made entirely of plastic.

Plastic (or polycarbonate, to be more exact) reappeared with the iPhone 5C in 2013 – but that was the last time it was used, with Apple choosing not to restart the “C” variant of its phones.

4. Flat steel frame

(Image credit: Avenir)

First appearance: 2010, iPhone 4
Last appearance: 2016, iPhone SE

The iPhone 4 has arrived on the market with a bold new Jony Ive-style look: instead of rounded aluminum edges, Apple’s latest flagship phone introduced a stainless steel frame with flat edges. It was futuristic and utilitarian, streamlining the silhouette and ushering in an era of rectangular iPhone simplicity that lasted until the original iPhone SE (2016) was discontinued in 2018.

Rounded edges made a comeback in the iPhone 6 and have continued to this day, but we miss the bold edges and big circular volume knobs on the heydey steel edge. It’s no surprise that this nostalgia overlaps with a penchant for smaller iPhones, making this combination of steel and glass feel like the compact phone of the future.

Sadly, rounded iPhones have only grown in popularity since then – although the third generation of iPad Pro (2018) models adopted the flat-rimmed metallic design of the iPhone 4, leaving us hopeful that it did. could revert to the next flagship iPhones. And if you believe the rumors, flat edges are in store for the iPhone 12 Pro Max …

5. Game Center application

The old and new icons of the Gamer Center application

The old and new icons of the Gamer Center application

First appearance: 2010, iOS 4.1
Last appearance: 2015, iOS 9

The launch of iOS 4 brought a host of new features to Apple’s mobile operating system, and one of them was Game Center (which actually landed with update 4.1).

This made games on your iPhone more competitive, allowing you to compete against your friends to see who could unlock the most achievements.

The Game Center app was removed from the operating system with the iOS 10 update; however, the functionality continues. If you head to Settings on your iPhone and scroll down, you’ll notice that Game Center is still an option.

6. Aluminum body

The iPhone 6 was just one of many iPhones with an aluminum body

The iPhone 6 was just one of many iPhones with an aluminum body

First Appearance: 2007, Original iPhone
Last appearance: 2016, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

The very first iPhone featured a predominantly aluminum back, but it wasn’t until the iPhone 5 in 2012 that Apple properly embraced metal as the material of choice for iPhones.

It was rugged and, more importantly, premium in appearance and feel, helping to give iPhones the signature styling that made them among the most sought-after consumer products. However, the mobile phone market has changed and glass has become the novelty.

Apple didn’t embrace the all-glass finish to begin with, but it finally came in 2017 with the introduction of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

7. Headphone socket

IPhone 6S is the latest iPhone to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack

IPhone 6S is the latest iPhone to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack

First Appearance: 2007, Original iPhone
Last appearance: 2016, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

Potentially, Apple’s most controversial feature removal (although the 30-pin switch to Lightning ruffled a lot of feathers at the time) is the removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone line.

The rumor had been circulating for months before the launch of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and a handful of Android phones had already taken the plunge.

However, when Apple let go in 2017, the world sat down and took notice, and although for some the decision was still a cardinal sin, even today Apple and most of the Android market are now reached a consensus that it is time to move away from the trusty 3.5mm connection.

8. Physical home button

The physical home button was an iPhone staple for years

The physical home button was an iPhone staple for years

First Appearance: 2007, Original iPhone
Last appearance: 2015, iPhone 6S

An iPhone staple from day one, the iconic circular home button gave Apple handsets an instantly recognizable look.

However, having a large physical key on a phone took up vital internal space, and in 2016 Apple introduced a new type of home button.

The capacitive button acted like the physical button, using haptic (vibration) feedback to make it look like it was physically pressed, even though there were no moving parts.

However, we didn’t know at the time that the writing was already on the wall for the new button …

9. Capacitive home button

A brief existence of one year over two generations

A brief existence of one year over two generations

First appearance: 2016, iPhone 7
Last appearance: 2020, iPhone SE 2020

Okay, technically the new iPhone SE 2020 has resurrected the capacitive home button – but given that the phone essentially inherits all of its casing and functionality from the iPhone 8, the new phone doesn’t bring back not so much the home button as it kicks it out of mothballs because Apple had it on hand.

As a feature on a flagship device, the touch key made its last appearance on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in 2017, just a year after its introduction, with Apple switching to a gesture-based navigation system.

With the move to all-screen displays, the home button is unlikely to make a return on a flagship phone, but its 10-year reign as one of the iPhone’s most recognizable features will not be. forget.

10. Bulky frames

Apple's big glasses took a long time to disappear

Apple’s big glasses took a long time to disappear

First Appearance: 2007, Original iPhone
Last appearance: 2017, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

It was once almost as iconic as the home button, the big bezels above and below the screens of iPhones. Of course, these were also resurrected in the iPhone SE 2020, but they are long gone on the latest iPhone flagships.

The uniform appearance has made Apple’s handsets stand out, although many similar devices have been designed by rivals over the years.

However, as the screen sizes on Android phones continued to grow, Apple finally ditched bezels in 2017 with the introduction of the iPhone X, while also giving us the latest phones to rock the look – the iPhones. 8 and 8 Plus.


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