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Which Came First: iPhone or Android?

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Did the iPhone really come first, meaning Android ripped Apple off? Or did Android come first? Is it possible that both companies independently arrived at the idea for a touchscreen smartphone around the same time?

Lately, I’ve been a little… obsessed… with these questions. Apple fans are convinced iPhone came first. Android fans are convinced their open-source smartphone OS came first.

Who’s right?

I decided it was time to find out, once and for all. So I started digging. I searched and researched and then I searched some more. And in the end, I found that the history of the iPhone and the history of Android are a lot more complex than you may realize.

It occurred to me that the best way for our readers to get their heads around this issue was to present it visually, as a timeline that shows you, point-by-point, exactly who did what, when. With the help of our sister site Infographic Labs, we put together the following infographic. Our intention here is not to point fingers or cast blame — or even to draw conclusions, despite the fact that we’re an Apple-centric website. We created it to try and clarify this very muddy issue, so you can see the facts neatly and clearly, and draw your own conclusions.

Click on the image for the full-size version.

Picture of Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

22 thoughts on “Which Came First: iPhone or Android?

  1. Who came up with the idea of a touchscreen smartphone first?
    Neither of those companies, sorry.

    2002 saw the release of the HTC Wallaby. 3.5″ touchscreen, able to download and install apps (admittedly no marketplace). Running Windows PocketPC 2002 Phone edition.

    Your comment about Steve Jobs in 2002 would imply that he saw one of these phones and then spent years working on getting the iPod into one. And improving the user experience by a huge order of magnitude

    1. Actually, anon the mouse, it was Handspring. I was using my Handspring Visor with attached phone module as my first touchscreen smartphone way before this. I then moved up to the HTC (TMobile Pocket PC Phone Edition) after that. Both good devices, but nothing compared to my iPhone 4S now.

    2. Just like the new HTC phones like the One X is better than the iPhone 4s. Each generation brings better products.

    3. This is why HTC One series is one of HTC’s worst selling phones and causing them to fall off charts against Samsung for Android Market domination? Sorry, get your buggy ass phone out of here.

    4. HTC came out with the HTC XDA in 1998 powered by microsoft MICROSOFT. HTC also had developed the first Android phone which was developed long before the iPhone but was held up due to google buying Android, which delayed it’s arrival on the market, the iPhone came onto the market first, but the Android phone was devloeped first.

    5. Being a touchscreen device isn’t the reason the iPhone became so popular. Touch screen devices have been around for ages. It was the multi-touch technology of ignoring spurious inputs, and the various gestures, and the software to gleen that information from the touch screen is what the big deal was.

  2. The real question is who cares any more. I for one don’t care since I have yet to see one Android or WP7 phone I want to buy. This stuff is so old now and what really matters is Apple with Steve came up with something a lot of people want to have so they got it right. That now we have 100 different android phones or whom was the first put think up a touch device like a phone, well that I admit is anecdote at best.

    1. Since I left the iPhone I have only been happier with Android offerings. Don’t think I will be coming back to iOS.

      The LG Prada was the first fully touch smartphone I can think of. The iPhone came after that.

  3. Very Informative. But question is “who revolutionize the mobile phone industry”? The OS or the OS+hardware?

  4. First off, iphone sux. Android does so much more and is easier to use. One reason why iphone is above android is because android made a foolish move by offering only one carrier their newest products. The iphone was more exposed to more people and as history shows human beings are nothing but mindless followers, so the more they see it the more they want it. If Android started offering their products to all carriers you would see a huge rise in android users. Remember, that android has phones that well top off any iphone, look it up. Example: HTC One X+. I would never buy an iphone even if they were the last phone available. I am not a follower. I choose what is actually the best compared to most by choosing what my friends have.

    1. lmao @ andoids being more intuitive. my 4-year-old nephews and my 60+ year old parents figured out how to use an iphone in a matter of minutes — cannot say the same with an android. Can android do more? Arguably yes if you discount jailbreaking, but come one — it’s a cell phone. Every smart phone can call, text, email, browse the web, play games, music, books — what else do you really need? The only difference in the hundreds of phones out there are moderate upgrades in speed and screen size, and if you can really tell the difference then you should look into getting a life. The average desktop 10 years ago couldn’t hold up with the average smart phone today — and somehow people still feel the need to bicker about specs. The fact that you obsess over petty details suggests that you probably spend more time trying to play video games or stream high def porn than you spend working, studying, or doing something constructive — go get a job and stop whining. Also, the title of the article was which came first, not which one is better — perhaps your sentiments might be taken more seriously in a fanboy forum.

    2. Well actually, he was referencing to the previous comments above ours. And your nephew as well as your parents don’t speak for the general human population; generally, androids are more user based friendly. And just to add, even with jailbreaking, android still can do more considering we can just root our phone and gain more capabilities. And to say that the only reason him, or me, and others may know detailed specs or care is because we ” probably spend more time trying to play video games or stream high def porn than you spend working, studying, or doing something constructive” is actually pretty unintelligent for you to say. You do realize, that maybe we take interest into technological innovations, and their functions along how they function and perhaps may want to take a career that go into those areas.

  5. I am very sorry has Android has just had the most stable update release 4.2.1 and it is awesome, android developers had you thought of IDEAS you haven’t for example NFG and BEAM they are forms of sending files which ios might never know about. I can make and android look like an iPhone can you make an iPhone look like an android. Just root your android and install all different android versions there are for different devices.

    1. The difference is, we wouldn’t WANT an iPhone to look like an Android phone. We have this thing called “taste.” 😉

    2. Dude iPhones are made cheap . IPhones crack and break easier than any phone !! My HTC one m8 has a full metal body and has a great screen , it’s rated the best made phone to date ! IPhones are cheap plastic ! My phone even has a free screen replacement !! Where in the he’ll do you people get thY iPhones are well made ? Everyone knows iPhones are brittle as hell ! Might as well be carrying around a egg !! And thats why the iPhone 6 took a lot of my phones qualitys my htc one m8 is all screen on the front like the iPhone 6 but I ha e better speakers ! And the iPhone stole the idea of the depth lens , dual camera to give pictures. More 3d effect . IPhone copies ideas from android phones there is only maybe 2 things iPhone came up with on there own … Even there signature finger print ID WAS ORIGINALLY FIRST put on an android phone !!

    3. I have great taste, and my taste is telling me you are a sheep with an iPhone. Baaaaaaa. By the way, I have never known a 4 year old who could not work any Android I have owned. They are far more tech savvy than us old fogie’s my friend, that may be a news flash to you but I was well aware. You can keep that ugly paperweight you paid too much for BTW, I would not own an iPhone if you paid me to use it.

  6. Actually those saying negative comments about the HTC one series don’t know shit !! The HTC one m8 is one of the most advanced phones out to date ! It scores higher than the Samsung and iPhone . The Samsung and iPhone sell better because of the popularity and over marketing . But the new iPhone 6 has stolen a bunch of ideas from the HTC one m8 like the dual camera with a depth camera for 3d pictures . The HTC one m8 only ha 4 mega pixel camera but it uses ultra pixels and the pictures are great it cNt zoom in quite as far as the Samsung but the pictures are both good . I have both the Samsung s5 and the HTC one m8 and the m8 is my favorite by far , it’s much faster , it has great speakers that no other phone can compete with , And if you get the Sprint version with Harmon kardons clarify and hi res audio . It’s a great listening experience . There’s no phone that can do that yet . The s5 can play 24 bit audio but the m8 Harmon kardon edition can actually take an mp3 and expand the file to a higher bit rate making it sound better . IPhone has always stolen ideas from android phones and tryed to make it better or make it there own !! Not to mention apple buys more than half the parts for the iPhone from Samsung !! The iPhone is so far behind in this race it’s rediculous !! By the time the new iPhone 6 is released all the android phones will be onto something much better and more advanced !! Sorry doesn’t matter what android phone you have , but the LG 3 , the samsung s5 , and the HTC one m8 are great phones !! And the iPhone 6 will be nothing more than a faster version of the lame iPhone 5s ! Other than being able to buy a lot for the Apple iPhone , why bother ! IPhone was great in the beggining but simply cannot catch up with android and has fallen a year behind in every way !

  7. The HTC one m8 is sleek and thin like the iPhone but made out of aluminum giving it a better look , stronger body and making it look well built ! It’s screen takes up the whole front side from edge to edge it’s all screen other than the top and bottom which are where the speakers are . HTC is the only phone to have actual , stereo sound and speakers that actually sound great listening to … Apple users are so proud of the phones but for what ? IPhones are outdated ! You have to buy all the music you download ! And other than there being a huge market for iPhone products the phone is all that great ! The new iPhone is comparable to the HTC one m8 in more than a few ways . And isn’t even suppose to come out untill November , but by then HTC will already have put out a faster phone with a better screen , better speakers , more ram , and better processor ! Which will take Apple another two years to match ! All the newer phones are able to play 24 bit audio . While My phone can play 24 bit audio , but if the phone isn’t actually made to play it , the audio comes out sounding just like a normal mp3 ! Hi-res audio is a big thing and is becoming more popular amongst the public ! Sony and other audio companies like Harmon kardon and bower and Wilkins are putting out audio equipment made to play hi-res audio . And like I siad all the new android phones are able to play hi-res audio . I hate it when people say “oh my iPhone plays hi-res audio”. Yes it might play it but it isn’t able to process the higher bit rate audio so it comes out sounding just like every other mp3 . And I haven’t heard anything about the new iPhone 6 being able to play higher But rate audio . So for a phone which is made by a company who makes the most popular mp3 player in the world and is suppose to be one of the best music phones ! You would think they would be up to par with the rest of the phones as far as audio goes ? But they are not ! So if they don’t catch up with the rest of the competeing companies . The iPod will be replaced by hi-res audio players like Neil Youngs PONO PLAYER , or the astell and Kern player , Sven Sony’s phones play hi res audio and Sony even has mp3 players that do 24 bit audio . But Apple the world’s biggest audio player doesn’t ? And they are suppose to be such a cutting edge company ? But they always have to steal there ideas from other companies ! Hmm android phones constantly come out with new ideas for there phones making them more futuristic and android phones are able to do so much more than iPhones . And advancing your iPhone always involves spending more money on a piece of a download to make you iPhone able to do more . It’s a money making gimmick . All your music must be through iTunes which is 1.00$ to 1.50$ a song but android has free audio downloads ! And android phones come stock with great features and capabilities ! You dont have buy or purchase after market bullshit to make your phone better ! like you so with the iPhone !!! So Apple geeks get over your self you’ve been Made to believe through over marketing and the Hugh flow of adds that the iPhone is something special but the truth is your phone is out dated and FAR behind us android users ! So you can sit around and wait for the new iPhone every yr or 2 while us android users have out faster better phones , free apps , and photography grade cameras .. And when the iPhone 6 comes out in Nov , it might have the technology my android phone had last year … And 2 years I’m sure you can expect to have a phone that’s works as well as my Samsung s5 lol … Because the iphone 5s sucks my phone 3 yrs ago was faster and took better pictures ! And I’d rather not have. Phone with limited memory come stock filled with shitty apps that I’ll never use . The iPhone will advertise oh it comes stock with 16 gb internal memory . Yeah and half of the 16 gbs are already used up from all the dumb apps they fill the phone with before you even get it in your hands lol … Soo go ahead and feel good about your phone’s but truth is Apple can’t compete with android phones ! They are made better , more advanced , they do 3 times more shit , STOCK without having to buy a bunch of after market shit !! And the screens are better , cameras are better , audio is better , android phones are faster , made from better materials !! When I got the iPhone 4 it shattered the first time I dropped It !! I’ve never had an android phone do that , my htc one m8 comes with a free screen replacement with in the first year !! And it’s body is metal so I dint have to worry about a cheap plastic body cracking … And android phones have a WAYY better battery life ! IPhone simply sucks ! Looks at consumer reports the iPhone has some of the worst ratings !! Any website will give you the same results !! THE IPHONE SIMPLY CANNOT COMPETE WITH ANDROID PHONEs , like the galaxy and HTC , and LG …

  8. Also I’d like to point out, name me 5 things that iPhone came up with on there own ? Ideas that weren’t on android phones first !! The signature Apple finger print ID they put in all there phones was taken from an android phone !! Apple was not the first to come up with that idea !! They stole the metal trim around the edge of there phone from android ! Like I siad everything Apple does android has done better ! Hand gestures was an idea stolen from android phones !! The list goes on !!

  9. Lmao hating must be fun for Apple haters ?? I love that when you look you see android users talking down on Apple users, but I don’t see Apple users on every post about android talking bad. Damn it must hurt to be part of something that’s overshadowed each year. Every time a new iPhone come out so does an Android, but what is always talked about the most??? Oh yeah Iphone ? crack a bottle and get a life.

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