Smart Living | Features

Features | 17 Oct 2022

Head-to-head: The first Apple iPhone vs iPhone 14 Pro

The differences between cutting-edge smartphones from 2007 and 2022 are both bigger and smaller than you might think.

It sounds like overexcited exaggeration to say that you’re holding history in your hands, but it’s absolutely true when it’s the original iPhone from 2007.

With an effortless touchscreen interface controlled using multitouch gestures, which enabled experiences such as desktop-class web browsing while on the go, it was not only radically different from every other phone at the time, it also set the template for most other smartphones that followed it.

As Ben Wood, co-founder of the Mobile Phone Museum (which kindly loaned us an original iPhone from their collection), puts it: “When Steve Jobs walked onto the stage in January 2007 and pulled the iPhone from his pocket, he turned the paradigm of what a mobile phone should be on its head.

“Rather than offering a power- and processing-constrained device, which is what most phones were up to that point, Apple essentially delivered a computer in your pocket with a revolutionary user experience.”

The experience is even more striking when you’re holding the iPhone 14 Pro, one of Apple’s very latest iPhones, in your other hand. There may be 15 years of technological development separating the two, but the sense of continuity is remarkable.

iOS and multitouch

The fundamental elements of the multitouch interface – buttery smooth animation and lag-free responsiveness when scrolling through lists, tapping buttons and pinching to zoom – were designed so well on the original iPhone, that they remain essentially unchanged on the iPhone 14 Pro. This is so core to using an iPhone, that it’s easy to take for it granted.

Of course, there have been numerous additions to the iOS interface since, from notifications and widgets to the App Store and copy and paste.

The iPhone 14 Pro introduces an interface feature intrinsically tied to its hardware – the Dynamic Island. Rather than hiding its face-recognition sensors in the ‘notch’ near the top of the screen, it’s also used as a home for certain controls, notifications and alerts. If you’re an old hand at computing, this Dynamic Island is analogous to the system tray in Windows or to menu bar extras in macOS.

With many of these developments, there’s a sense of continuity as Apple lays a foundation and then builds upon it.

Copy and paste, for example, was introduced back in 2009’s iOS 3 (the last version to run on the original iPhone) and worked using touchscreen taps rather than the menus and keyboard shortcuts used by many of its competitors at the time.

With the iPhone 14 Pro and iOS 16, you can now copy text out of photos and videos – and even pets and people out of photos – to paste them elsewhere, from messages to documents.

And this works using the same basic set of touchscreen taps introduced on the original iPhone.

Networking and cellular

Wireless networking and mobile data connections have become dramatically faster since 2007, with average speeds roughly 10 times faster than those available to the original iPhone. These quantum leaps in wireless connections didn’t occur in a vacuum.

In the UK, Vodafone has invested both in its mobile network, and in fibre networks for home broadband, to meet the ever-growing public appetite for constant high-speed connectivity. Experiences such as FaceTime video calls, multiplayer gaming tournaments, and backing up precious photos to the cloud, depend on iPhones and connectivity networks that evolve together.

Processors and sensors

As soon as it debuted in 2007, making phone calls was just one of the things that an iPhone could do. Fresh out of the box, you could use the original iPhone to listen to music, watch YouTube videos and check email. With the iPhone 14 Pro and apps from the App Store, you can create your own songs, edit 4K video and play games with console-quality 3D graphics.

All of this depends on the iPhone’s processor, its computational brain if you will. The iPhone 14 Pro’s A16 processor isn’t just several magnitudes more powerful than the off-the-shelf chip in the original iPhone, as you’d expect. It’s also far more power efficient – essential for a mobile device – and custom designed by Apple itself.

Pixel 6 and iPhone 13: How smartphones are now clever enough to coach you at tennis

Artificial Intelligence (AI) now lives inside the brain of the latest smartphones, opening up intriguing new possibilities in the apps we use, from tracking your tennis swings to helping you sing your heart out.

The original iPhone has sensors that allow it to do things that had been unheard of in earlier phones, such as automatically flipping the orientation of webpages and photos depending on which way up you’re holding it.

The ways in which an iPhone can use all those sensors has become even more sophisticated, thanks to the use of ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’ – which are currently just fancy ways of saying that software can be trained using large amounts of data to recognise and act upon real-world events.

An example is the iPhone 14 Pro’s ability to use its sensors to detect if you’re in a car crash and then alert the emergency services.

Or, less dramatically but no less impressively, to coach you at tennis.


It’s easy to focus on the first iPhone’s two-megapixel rear camera and how its photos pale into comparison next to the sharp, colour-accurate and richly detailed shots produced by the iPhone 14 Pro’s multi-lens camera system.

Less immediately obvious, but more important, is the steady pace of improvement in camera technology in each successive iPhone from then until now, enabling people to express themselves in photos and videos and then share them with the world wherever they have mobile signal.

From photographing protests to livestreaming lectures during lockdown, putting connected cameras into people’s pockets has had profound effects on our societies and cultures.

There are of course many other differences between these two iPhones from the change in ports to water resistance
There are of course many other differences between these two iPhones from the change in ports to water resistance

The original 2G iPhone didn’t have a front-facing camera at all, which now seems unthinkable in an age of work Facetime calls and confessional Instagram Stories. The iPhone 14 Pro’s front-facing camera is dramatically better than any of its predecessors. Now with autofocus, long taken for granted in the rear-facing cameras, it produces noticeably sharper shots.


Although it feels dinky now, the first iPhone’s 3.5in screen was considered large by the standards of the time. iPhones didn’t come in a variety of sizes until Apple introduced the iPhone 6 range in 2014.

The iPhone 14 Pro’s 6.1in screen means it’s roughly twice the size and weight of its 2G 2007 forebear. Getting bigger and heavier might seem odd for a mobile device. But for many people, an iPhone will be their main or perhaps only computer, so for them increased size and weight can be a worthwhile trade-off for a bigger, higher-resolution screen on which to live their online lives.

Final thoughts

While we felt nostalgic using the iPhone 1 alongside the iPhone 14 Pro, we were also keenly aware of the clear heritage linking the two. The feeling of sophisticated, futuristic technology made approachable and immediately useful remains undiminished.

As Ben Wood of the Mobile Phone Museum puts it: “The iPhone franchise has become one of the most admired consumer electronics devices on the planet and despite its numerous generations its DNA can still be traced back to the original device which Steve Jobs pulled out of his pocket on stage in San Francisco in January 2007.

“The iPhone has not only become the most successful mobile phone franchise, but arguably the most successful consumer electronics products of all time.”

Learn more about the benefits of getting an iPhone 14 Pro on a flexible Vodafone EVO plan.

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