Apple iPhone is a line of smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The iPhone line of products use Apple’s iOS mobile operating system software. The first-generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007, and multiple new hardware iterations with new iOS releases have been released since.
The user interface is built around the device’s multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard. The iPhone has Wi-Fi and can connect to cellular networks. An iPhone can shoot video (though this was not a standard feature until the iPhone 3GS), take photos, play music, send and receive email, browse the web, send and receive text messages, follow GPS navigation, record notes, perform mathematical calculations, and receive visual voicemail. Other functionality, such as video games, reference works, and social networking, can be enabled by downloading mobile apps. As of January 2017, Apple’s App Store contained more than 2.2 million applications available for the iPhone.
Apple has released eleven generations of iPhone models, each accompanied by one of the eleven major releases of the iOS operating system. The original first-generation iPhone was a GSM phone and established design precedents, such as a button placement that has persisted throughout all releases and a screen size maintained for the next four iterations. The iPhone 3G added 3G network support, and was followed by the 3GS with improved hardware, the 4 with a metal chassis, higher display resolution and front-facing camera, and the 4S with improved hardware and the voice assistant Siri. The iPhone 5 featured a taller, 4-inch display and Apple’s newly introduced Lightning connector. In 2013, Apple released the 5S with improved hardware and a fingerprint reader, and the lower-cost 5C, a version of the 5 with colored plastic casings instead of metal. They were followed by the larger iPhone 6, with models featuring 4.7-and-5.5-inch (120 and 140 mm) displays. The iPhone 6S was introduced the following year, which featured hardware upgrades and support for pressure-sensitive touch inputs, as well as the SE—which featured hardware from the 6S but the smaller form factor of the 5S. In 2016, Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which add water resistance, improved system and graphics performance, a new rear dual-camera setup on the Plus model, and new color options, while removing the 3.5 mm headphone jack found on previous models. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were released in 2017, adding a glass back and an improved screen and camera. The iPhone X was released alongside the 8 and 8 Plus, with its highlights being a near bezel-less design, an improved camera and a new facial recognition system, named Face ID, but having no home button, and therefore, no Touch ID.
The original iPhone was described as “revolutionary” and a “game-changer” for the mobile phone industry. Newer iterations have also garnered praise, and the iPhone’s success has been credited with helping to make Apple one of the world’s most valuable publicly traded companies.
Starting with the iPhone 4S, Apple added an accessibility feature to optimize the function of the iPhone with hearing aids. Apple released a program of Made for iPhone Hearing Aids. These hearing aids deliver a power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience and allow the user to manage the hearing aid right from the iPhone. Made for iPhone hearing aids also feature Live Listen. With Live Listen the iPhone acts as a remote microphone that sends sound to a Made for iPhone hearing aid. Live Listen can help the user hear a conversation in a noisy room or hear someone speaking across the room.
The Braille Displays for iOS program was announced by Apple coinciding with the release of the iPhone 3GS, iPad and iPod Touch (3rd Generation). This program added support for more than 50 Bluetooth wireless braille displays that work with iOS out of the box. The user only needs to pair the keyboard to the device to start using it to navigate the iOS device with VoiceOver without any additional software. iOS supports braille tables for more than 25 languages.
IPhone lets the user know when an alert is sent to the it, in a variety of notice methods. It delivers both visual and vibrating alerts for incoming phone and FaceTime calls, new text messages, new and sent mail, and calendar events. You can set an LED light flash for incoming calls and alerts. Or have incoming calls display a photo of the caller. Users can choose from different vibration patterns or even create their own.
The iPhone can enlarge text to make it more accessible for vision-impaired users, and can accommodate hearing-impaired users with closed captioning and external TTY devices. The iPhone 3GS also features white on black mode, VoiceOver (a screen reader), and zooming for impaired vision, and mono audio for limited hearing in one ear. Apple regularly publishes Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates which explicitly state compliance with the US regulation “Section 508”.
With the release of iOS 9 for all iPhones, users have the ability to choose between two different screen view options. The user can choose to have a standard view or zoomed view. When the iPhone is placed in a standard view setting, the icons are normal size and the text remains the same. With a zoomed view option, the icons on the screen and the text become slightly larger. This enables the user to have a more customized appearance and it can potentially help some users read the screen easier.
AssistiveTouch helps to adapt the Multi-Touch screen of an iOS device to a user’s unique physical needs. This can be of great assistance to those who have difficulty with some gestures, like pinch, one can make them accessible with just a tap of a finger. The user can create their own gestures and customize the layout of the AssistiveTouch menu. If the user has trouble pressing the Home button, it can be set so that it can be activated with an onscreen tap. Gestures like rotate and shake are available even when if the iOS device is mounted on a wheelchair.
Guided Access helps people with autism or other attention and sensory challenges stay focused on the task (or app) at hand. With Guided Access, a parent, teacher, or therapist can limit an iOS device to stay on one app by disabling the Home button, and limit the amount of time spent in an app. The user can restrict access to the keyboard or touch input on certain areas of the screen.