The changes ushered by Apple’s iPhone have been as momentous as those of electricity, telegraph, radio or TV

“The iPhone is the best selling product ever, making Apple perhaps the best business ever. Because of the iPhone, Apple has managed to survive to a relatively old age,” Horace Dediu writes for Asymco. “Not only did it build a device base well over 1 billion it engendered loyalty and satisfaction described only by superlatives.”

“To summarize,” Dediu writes, “I can offer two numbers: 1,162,796,000 iPhones sold (to end of March 2017). $742,912,000,000 in revenues. $1 trillion will be reached in less than 18 months.”

“But more important than any of these quantifiable measures of success are the unquantified accomplishments. These are the changes we note only when flipping an A/B switch on a decade. The changes ushered by the iPhone have been as momentous as those of the Ford Model T. Or those of electricity, telegraph, radio or TV,” Dediu writes. “I believe that future historians will point to the iPhone as the technological product that defined the 21st century.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Truly revolutionary.

I want to put a ding in the universe. — Steve Jobs

Jobs certainly succeeded; likely beyond even his wildest dreams.

Steve Jobs

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50 Comments

  1. That’s a very bold statement. I love the iPhone, there is no doubt about it’s role in history, but is it really a new invention in the same way that TV, radio, and computers are? It’s just a portable computer with a phone on it. Which is amazing, it it’s still just another form of computer. Or is my autism making me miss the point?

    1. “It’s just a portable computer with a phone on it.”

      It’s just the most successful tech product of all time from the most successful company of all time.

      There, I fixed it for you, Chris Clueless …

    2. Calling an iPhone “a handheld computer with a phone on it” is no different than saying “wolves are glorified dogs”. The iPhone really is the most important consumer product to be introduced within the past decade and to just call it “a tiny computer with a phone” is being extremely disingenuous. You should just stick to cartoons and let the adults in the room do the talking.

    3. “is it really a new invention in the same way that TV, radio, and computers are?”

      ABSOLUTELY. Each of the technologies you give as examples of greatness have the same thing in common with the iPhone. They all increased the spread and breadth of information distribution/dissemination to previously unimagined levels.

      There are now more smartphones (of the type ushered in by the iPhone) in operation on planet Earth, than there are TVs, radios and computers combined.

    4. The genius of the iPhone is not that is was new technology. It was not. The ingredients for it were already there. Microsoft could have done it. Intel could have done it. IBM could have done it. Blackberry or Motorola could have done it. But they didn’t. The ingredients were there, but the recipe to put them all together took true inspiration, and that came from Cupertino.

      This is the story of every game-changing innovation we’ve ever experienced.

      The Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but he found the right recipe for putting it in the hands of so many, and his name is associated with the industrial and social change brought about by its mass adoption.

      1. I keep seeing all the neigh saying Android users who keep claiming that there was nothing new or innovative about the iPhone and that everything in the iPhone already existed before it was introduced. They, like you are horse’s asses. If that is true, point it out!

        Point out these existing technologies and the devices where they were working. Point out the WORKING and ACCURATE multitouch screens with working interpretive algorithms that could reliably convert multiple touches AND motions into computer commands. Show us the virtual keyboards that could be typed accurately by a human finger without resorting to a stylus. Show us the subtle clues the indicate to a user he’s scrolled to the end of a list. Show us pinch to zoom. . . How about simple rotation of screen orientation just by turning the phone? Show these things in a previous device. How about shutting down the screen and touch sensitivity when the phone is brought toward the user’s ear? Show us these things.

        Show us the fast miniature computers with equally fast color graphics AND large capacity fast storage in a handheld device. Show us the graphical, user arrangeable, intuitive interactive user interface that did not require a multiple page manual of instruction to learn how to operate it. Show us. Where were they before the iPhone came out?

        It’s amazing how they assume they were always there. . .

        1. “It’s amazing how they assume they were always there. . .”

          The best nuclear post ever to slap the silly and delusional Android fanbois into REALITY.

          Two parallel examples:

          1) Apple GUI operating system debuted in 1984. About two years later WinDOZE released their first copycat OS.

          2) Apple touchscreen iPhone debuted in 2007. Nothing like it EVER existed before. About 18 months later the first copycat Android phone was released.

          To all the clueless and conniving out there, “that’s the fact, jack!”

    5. I think the iPhone has been momentous, but the gratuitous praise it has received is misplaced. Its made a massive contribution towards the dumbing down of society through social media whoring and vacuous content consumption. 99% of people walking around glued to a “smart”phone screen aren’t engaged in anything edifying. Technological innovation combined with moral regression isn’t progress. I don’t think the iPhone is responsible for the negative trends, but its served as a vehicle for them. The iPhone is a great tool thats mostly used for entertainment.

  2. Baloney.

    The iPhone is WAY down the list from electricity, radio and computers.

    Given the evolution of integrated circuits, it’s nothing more that the inevitable integration of a radio and a computer.

    Nor was it the first to accomplish such a feat.

    1. Saying something is inevitable is the hallmark of an armchair analyst blessed with hindsight. Saying something isn’t first is nothing more than a sneer at the first to win.

    1. One senses that something is a game-changer, after an entire industry responds by shifting and copying it, and after the smoke clears, the old market leaders are dead and gone.

      1. Yes, and not that Apple didn’t impact computer, music sales, books and streaming (to put it lightly), but the iPhone affected nearly every person in every industrialized nation directly with an iPhone or indirectly from a ripoff.

  3. Pure hyperbole.

    The article starts with a demonstrable lie (“The iPhone is the best selling product ever…”) and goes on to even more ridiculous leaps of logic from there.

    One would have thought that there was still some objectivity left here. Sadly no, MDN pushes any click bait blog as if it was accurate or insightful. This opinion piece is neither. Still the usual fanboys cheer mindlessly.

    If you can’t see what products changed the world greater than the iPhone, you aren’t looking. Moreover, every invention released is a derivative of what came before, going all the way back to the first primitive stone and bone tools, cuneiform, etc. As a matter of principle, the earliest tech leaps have cast a much bigger impact on humanity than any product less than a decade old.

    Seriously people.

      1. Just what I was thinking. Dediu has been behind the iPhone since he left Nokia to become an independent analyst and has, without exception, called correctly about every step of iPhone/Apple evolution. He now has a very successful career using those insights.

    1. “The article starts with a demonstrable lie (“The iPhone is the best selling product ever…”) and goes on to even more ridiculous leaps of logic from there.”

      What EXACTLY is the “demonstrable lie”?

      But OK, name the best selling product ever that is NOT the iPhone as you allege.

      Realist, seriously?

      1. I think Realist is correct. Think of all the consumer goods that people rely on every day. Coca Cola can be found in every community in the world and has impacted the world much more, it has turned people into fat asses. Easy to demonstrate things that have deep impact good and bad. The iPhone is just the latest in a string of digital devices that are highly regarded by the fervent few. In 10 years Apple will be bored with it and will let it die on the vine like the iPod or Mac Mini.

        1. The iPod did not “die on the vine” as you so quaintly put it. Look at Horace Dediu’s figures: there are at least 1,162,796,000 iPods in every iPhone in the world and that’s not counting the over 300,000,000 iPods that exist in every iPad, then there’s and the limited function iPod Touch models that total another 150,000,000! The iPod did not die, the iPod grew up and matured!

          As for the Mac mini, it’s still around, and it too will be upgraded when Apple deems it’s ripe to do so. It’s not dead.

        2. Consumables are not in the same category. You could point out that far more gasoline is sold than is Coca Cola. . . But it too is a consumable. Neither Coke or gas is kept for long term use. You buy them and you drink or burn them, necessitating a repurchase within days. Same with newspapers, magazines, etc., or any other one time use disposable.

          On the other hand, in ten years, Apple has produced and sold enough iPhones in various versions of the same product to equip one-sixth of the population of the world with an iPhone! Meanwhile, in eight years, over 500 competitng companies, all making a plethora of different makes, models, versions, and capabilities of Android phones have made approximates 2.5 billion other phones, for another one-third or so of the world’s population.

          So, here we have one company, Apple, with essentially one basic phone, producing and sellin one-third of the world’s installed base of smartphones, while 500 other cell phone companies are producing and selling the all of the rest, which include smartphones, not-so-smart feature phones, and basic dumb phones.

          But in most of the last six or seven years only one to three of those companies was making ANY profits! Apple, with the smartphone highend locked up was generally raking in anywhere from 89% to 111% of the industry’s total profits!

          How can that be? Simple, the vast majority of Apple’s 500 competitors were posting losses!

    2. The iPhone is the best selling single consumer product ever, followed by the first weekend sales of the Apple iPad. There is no other comparable single product line by a single manufacturer that beats it. . . Until you enter the area of consumables. . . Then the hamburgers made by McDonald’s probably take the lead, but not over such a short time or for such a price. I think the Apple Watch eclipsed the highest number of units sold on an opening weekend, taking that title away from the iPad when they were first released.

  4. At this point, MDN is basically fueled by clickbait. You never see articles of substance here anymore, just overhype reviews and political hit pieces.

  5. “managed to survive to a relatively old age” As if Apple were going to otherwise disappear. iPod would have carried on in some form, Macs still sell and make a lot of money. What tosh.

  6. The iPhone/ iOS combo changed society’s opinion and purchasing habits for cellphones and computers (now iPads). Just think…. before the iPhone our interactions with devices on a whole did not happen by touch

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