Apple’s iPhone turns ten: No product in recent history has changed people’s lives more

“No product in recent history has changed people’s lives more,” The Economist writes. “Without the iPhone, ride-hailing, photo-sharing, instant messaging and other essentials of modern life would be less widespread. Shorn of cumulative sales of 1.2bn devices and revenues of $1trn, Apple would not hold the crown of the world’s largest listed company. Thousands of software developers would be poorer, too: the apps they have written for the smartphone make them more than $20bn annually.”

“By any measure, the iPhone, which hit the shelves in America ten years ago this week, has been an extraordinary success. But it is also exceptional for a less obvious reason: it has allowed Apple to become the only consumer-oriented technology giant whose business model does not rely on collecting reams of personal data, usually in order to target advertising to users,” The Economist writes. “Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has made the company’s stance part of his sales pitch, calling privacy a fundamental human right. That distinctive approach may not be sustainable, however. Indeed, how Apple deals with data will be more important in determining its success over the next ten years than the endless questions over the firm’s ambitions for TV sets or cars.”

“To stay competitive, particularly as rival devices powered by Google’s Android operating system have become almost as good as Apple’s, the firm will come under increasing pressure to collect more data and make greater use of them. The opportunity for Mr Cook is to make Apple a model for how to balance the benefits of data and the right to privacy,” The Economist writes. “A decade from now, the world might be admiring Apple not for another ‘insanely great’ device, but for finding a workable compromise between the promises of AI and the right to privacy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple finds and delivers that workable balance between privacy and AI, that may well be Tim Cook’s utmost and lasting achievement.

Here’s a T-shirt for those who use Google’s Android and/or any other Google product, software, or service:

I'm with stupid

Apple’s iOS 11 will deliver even more privacy to users – June 8, 2017
More than 60 percent of Windows sufferers would upgrade to Apple’s Mac for more privacy – August 3, 2016
Apple’s cutting-edge ‘differential privacy’ is opt-in – June 24, 2016
Apple’s cutting-edge ‘differential privacy’ offers unique option for technology users – June 20, 2016
Apple’s use of cutting-edge tech will peek at user habits without violating privacy – June 16, 2016
Apple seeks to use AI to keep Google off your iPhones, iPads, and Macs – June 15, 2016
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Tim Cook gets privacy and encryption: We shouldn’t surrender them to Google – June 4, 2015
Tim Cook attacks Google, U.S. federal government over right to privacy abuses – June 3, 2015
The price you’ll pay for Google’s ‘free’ photo storage – June 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook champions privacy, blasts ‘so-called free services’ – June 3, 2015
Passing on Google Photos for iOS: Read the fine print before you sign up for Google’s new Photos service – June 1, 2015
Why Apple’s Photos beats Google Photos, despite price and shortcomings – May 30, 2015
Is Apple is losing the photo wars? – May 29, 2015
How Google aims to delve deeper into users’ lives – May 29, 2015
Apple CEO Cook: Unlike some other companies, Apple won’t invade your right to privacy – March 2, 2015
Survey: People trust U.S. NSA more than Google – October 29, 2014
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
U.S. NSA watching, tracking phone users with Google Maps – January 28, 2014
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Google has already inserted some U.S. NSA code into Android – July 10, 2013
Court rules NSA doesn’t have to reveal its semi-secret relationship with Google – May 22, 2013


  1. I dunno, I personally think the ‘promise of AI’ is severely overrated. At this point it’s shaping up to be little more than a variation on search algorithms designed to push advertising and to sell sh*t. For more noble, and actual practical and useful applications, such personalized data is not a requirement. The only companies butthurt over privacy are the ones that are trying to manipulate us as far as I’m concerned. I don’t need that in my life. I think Apple’s approach will end up being the way, particularly after the inevitable regulation begins. A lot of pundits are also confusing potential with hype in a race for profit and it is painfully obvious. What we are calling ‘AI’ really isn’t, I think Apple knows what it is doing in this.

  2. “No product in recent history has changed people’s lives more”…

    LOL! I can think of two modern technology items right away that have changed way more peoples’ lives:

    1) automotive technology

    2) air conditioning/refrigeration technology

    Think about it.

    1. Bzzzzt!

      The automotive revolution started over 100 years ago. It’s not modern.

      Clarence Birdseye invented modern refrigeration in 1927 for freezing food. That’s 90 years ago. It’s not modern either.

      Sorry, no banana.

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