The iPhone Decade: How Apple’s revolutionary iPhone created and destroyed industries and changed the world

Apple's revolutionary iPhone
Apple’s revolutionary iPhone

Apple has sold close to 1.6 billion iPhones during this decade.

“The last 10 years could be viewed as the iPhone decade — when smartphones went mainstream, created billion-dollar corporations, rearranged existing industries and changed the world,” Kif Leswing writes for CNBC:

Apple’s iPhone unit sales are dwarfed by Google’s Android operating system, which has shipped billions of devices as well. But as revealed in Apple’s knock-down legal battles with Samsung — perhaps the highest-profile tech litigation of the decade — Google and its Android partners took a fair amount of inspiration from Apple’s iPhone.

In the last 10 years, Apple has gone from a large computer company with a profitable side business in MP3 players to a $1 trillion megacorp with operations around the globe and 137,000 full-time employees. ″Unquestionably, it’s the most impactful consumer tech product over the past decade,” Loup Ventures founder and longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster said.

For years, Apple grew a giant stash of cash and marketable securities on the back of its iPhone sales, but in 2018, after tax reform, it indicated it planned to distribute the majority of that wealth to its shareholders in the form of buybacks and dividends.

Those buybacks helped the stock price grow over 900% on a split-adjusted basis. A million dollars invested in Apple on Jan 1, 2010, would be worth over $9.13 million last Friday, after a 7-1 stock split in 2014.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s our own SteveJack’s first take on Apple’s revolutionary iPhone the day it was released (well, technically, his second, after he predicted the iPhone five years prior to its debut) . SteveJack saw what Apple’s device really was and what it would become on the day it was unveiled:

The only thing really wrong with Apple’s iPhone is its name (January 9, 2007)

Apple really only botched one thing with the iPhone – its name.

Apple’s “iPhone” isn’t really a phone at all. It’s really a small touchscreen Mac OS X computer, a Mac nano tablet, if you will. Here’s how misnamed the iPhone is: Some people are complaining that Jobs didn’t spend enough time on the Mac in his keynote! Folks, iPhone is not only a Mac, it’s the most radical new Mac in years! What’s to stop Apple from making a 12-inch model (and larger, and smaller) one of these days (use the headset for the phone, please) and calling it a Mac tablet?

It has an iPod built in, yes, so it can be used solely as a “true video widescreen iPod,” if that’s what you want… But, the main thing about the “iPhone” is that it’s really a pocket Mac. It has email, SMS, full-featured Web browsing, and much more. But, beyond that, it is a platform that’s just sitting there waiting for Apple to sell software for it. Just imagine games with the large multi-touch display and the built-in accelerometer!

Imagine all of the other software possibilities, too…

Maybe Apple named it iPhone because of all of the free publicity and buzz that name has already garnered. Maybe they want this trojan horse to slip into the market first under the guise of being the best smartphone available and they’ll exploit its capabilities as a full-fledged platform later. Perhaps it’s easier to explain and sell as a phone first…

So, yeah, it can be a phone, even the very best smartphone, but it’s so much more and holds so much promise that the name “iPhone” hardly does it justice.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, January 9, 2007

11 Comments

  1. Should have picked a date one year earlier, Jan 2009, Apple has grown 2056% since then, more than double the 900%. How often can you own a mega cap stock, Apple was worth about $60B back then, that can grow 2056% in a little over a decade?

    1. I posted an Opinion piece here on MDN, back in 2009, that pointed out that Apple was a generational buy and that Steve Jobs, who was on the conference call for the first and only time, and was trying to explain that the iPhone’s deferred revenue was being misunderstood by analysts, was clearly hinting that Apple’s future earnings were going to be amazing.

        1. I don’t know why you would say that. I never claimed to have coached Jobs on anything. I met him at Apple. I met Adam Osborne at the west coast computer fair. We sat and talked computers in the patio area of the bar. And watched the sun go down.

          I made predictions more that 3 decades ago that the best computer will be the one you don’t see. What… what… what do you think this whole MDN post is about? Add communications to the mix and you have today. Where the is on connected devices.. And really, not their computers.

          And I’m no genius. Others realized the same thing before. Alan Kay and the DynaBook. By the way met him too. He flew all the way from Silicon Valley to bring out little old Atari User group, the complete listing of the Atari ROM’s. Printed out in a binder. then there was the video of him in a computer chip costume explaining what the GTIA, Pokey and Antic chips did in the Atari computer. Oh man. Player missile graphics. Collision detection and avoidance. Alan Kay came to see us.

          And my experience is more than a shopkeeper. What are you, English?

          But I guess you don’t feel right unless you can spread your ignorance and hate and you know what. it takes nothing from me or my experience. Only makes you a fool.

          By the way. 1981. “Atari is not a computer company but a communications company” and the computer was just a tool to communicate with.

          Fast forward. Apple Computers becomes Apple, Inc. The are now a consumer products company that sells some computers.

          So I have all that and more. All you have is hate and ignorance.

          1. “And CitizenX coached Jobs before the call.”
            “All you have is hate and ignorance.”
            You sure do like to blow things out of proportion, but then again you are a major asshole.

            1. Calm down missy. You actually don’t know me. And.. get this. If you judge me by what that pathetic anonymous coward says, that just makes you an even more of an ignorant and hateful pile of crap.

            2. Oh. In case it escapes you, the stupid pile of 💩commented out of the blue about me. I hadn’t even commented but IT was able to pull a nugget 💩 out of its ass just because of hate and ignorance.

  2. Yes, a Trojan Horse indeed. Calling it a phone already makes it familiar and sellable while calling it anything but a phone would force people to think about what it was which could have forced people to look at it with suspicion leading to slow initial sales.

  3. I would’ve preferred it be called iMobile (as in “I, mobile”). Or Apple Communicator. But yes, iPhone was more consumer-friendly.

    Also, people tend to overlook the fact Apple was designing the iPad first, and the iPhone came out of that.

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