It’s hard to believe now, but some pundits in 2006/2007 predicted failure for Apple’s rumored new phone. They felt that Apple should stick to making computers and iPods, not phones. (Of course, the iPhone is a computer.) The pundits argued that the smartphone market was already overcrowded: the Palm Treo, RIM Blackberry, and Nokia E61 controlled the market, leaving no room for Apple.
And then exactly five years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone:
“Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device. Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone!”
The pundits were wrong, of course. A major reason is that Apple made it easy for third-party developers to create and distribute iPhone applications. The hardware was very nice, but I think it was the software — the friendly user interface and the proliferation of useful apps — that powered the iPhone’s runaway success.
In five years, neither RIM nor Palm responded with a viable competitor, and they’re now footnotes. Microsoft responded with an operating system that nobody liked. Only Google and partners provided viable competition.
Well done, Steve!