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In the beginning, Apple created the iPhone -- just "iPhone," with no number or letter designations. When it debuted in January 2007 following stratospheric hype, CNET said "the iPhone is noteworthy not for what it does, but how it does it."

Slideshow published Jan. 9, 2017.

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They grow up so quickly. The second-generation iPhone, iPhone 3G, added features including support for high-speed 3G networks, third-party applications and expanded e-mail.

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The iPhone 3GS update added more commonly available mobile phone features including multimedia messaging, video recording, and voice dialing, packaged inside a faster phone with improved battery life.

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In 2010, the iPhone 4 was the hottest thing on the mobile scene, with a super-sharp retina display and a 1GHz processor. It had the looks, the software and the desirability factor.

Published:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET
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With identical hardware to the iPhone 4, all the new goodies to be found on the iPhone 4S were hidden beneath the surface. CNET's review noted the "clever new software, brilliant camera, and speedy processor."

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The iPhone 5 added 4G LTE compatibility, a longer, larger screen, free turn-by-turn navigation and the faster A6 processor. Plus, its top-to-bottom redesign is sharp, slim and feather-light.

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The iPhone 5C featured a more budget-friendly polycarbonate body phone. It was available for $99 or less on contract and came in five bright snappy colors. Compared with the 2012 iPhone 5, it's got more widely compatible global LTE coverage and an upgraded front-facing camera.

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Compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 5S wasn't a huge step forward. Apple included a more powerful 64-bit A7 processor, an upgraded camera and a fingerprint-scanning tech known as Touch ID.

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Apple's iPhone 6 had a crisp 4.7-inch screen, improved wireless speeds, better camera autofocus and bumped-up storage capacities to 128GB at the top end.

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The iPhone 6S boosted speeds just about everywhere, from the improved processor to the faster wireless and a quicker Touch ID sensor. It also boasted better front and rear cameras.

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The iPhone 6 Plus had a bigger battery, a bigger 5.5-inch screen, and a bright, beautiful, high-contrast display. Optical image stabilization improved upon low-light photography capabilities.

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Apple's iPhone 6S Plus was bigger and better. But mostly bigger. It was really big.

Sure, the optical image stabilization for photos and video made a big difference, but the size was just a little much for some people.

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The iPhone SE packed many of the fine features of the iPhone 6S, like a better processor, the great camera, Apple Pay and always-on Siri, into a smaller, more affordable 4-inch phone.

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With both the front and rear cameras now featuring optical image stabilization, the iPhone 7 brought much improved photography capabilities, especially in low light. Bonus: water resistance and a faster processor.

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Making another leap forward as a camera, the iPhone 7 Plus featured dual rear cameras with true 2x optical zoom, and software that enabled a cool portrait mode reminiscent of higher-end glass-lensed DSLRs.

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