1. Changed the world of cell phone handsets
When Apple shipped the iPhone in 2007, its radical design and incredible popularity caused not a ripple, but a tidal wave of change throughout the mobile phone handset industry. One reporter covering Spain’s Mobile World Congress in 2009 wrote that “the name on everyone’s lips was Apple, despite the Californian company playing no part in the show…. it’s little wonder that many of the devices and services unveiled in Barcelona owe more than a little to the trail blazed by the iPhone.”
Specifically, the iPhone prompted handset makers to abandon physical keyboards in favor of all-screen input and make thinner phones with much better screens capable of multi-touch input.
2. Changed the world of software distribution
A casual observer might be forgiven for believing that Apple invented the App Store, or even cell phone apps. But cell phone app stores and apps had been around for years before Apple showed up.
But before the iPhone, installing phone apps was relatively complicated and problematic. You had to find a good store online, download the app to a desktop computer and follow the unique and often complicated directions for installation to the phone, which happened through the sync process. Each app maker had to be paid using PayPal or credit card. Uninstalling apps was rarely straightforward.
The iPhone App Store made all this obsolete. Apple iPhone forced users to set up an iTunes account with current credit card and password. To get software, users just find the app in the App Store, press “Install,” enter a password and watch the icon status bar for evidence that the install was complete.
The iPhone radically improved the processing for discovering, installing, paying for and uninstalling software. The process was so seamless and easy that it forced Apple-style App Stores on smart phone competitors and even desktop-software makers like Microsoft.
4. Unified music and phones
Everybody had been talking about...