How Steve Jobs’ iPhone Keynote Changed Everything

When Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld in San Francisco on January 9, 2007, to present the first iPhone, no one could have imagined the impact this little device would have on Apple, the smartphone industry and the world. general. Back then, the smartphone market was much different – and much smaller – than it is today.

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In the fourth quarter of 2006, only 18 million smartphones were delivered, in addition to 2.5 million wireless handheld computers and 1.5 million traditional portable devices (via Canalys). By comparison, over 300 million smartphones were shipped in the third quarter of 2021, just that. This means that a total of just 22 million smart mobile devices were shipped in the fourth quarter. Even more telling, Canalys noted that this seemingly small number represented a 30% year-over-year increase.

In these early days of the smartphone market, Nokia was the company to beat, with BlackBerry, Motorola, Palm and Sony Ericsson completing the top five (via AppleInsider). One thing that defined all of the big companies were the phone designs that incorporated physical keyboards. In this market, Jobs and Apple saw an opportunity for revolutionary change.

The impact of the iPhone on the industry

What immediately caught most people’s attention was the touchscreen interface (via history). The entire front of the iPhone was a large screen, completely devoid of a physical keyboard. Instead, the interface adapted to the user, hiding or showing the keyboard as needed. Despite its revolutionary features, many weren’t convinced the iPhone would gain traction.

In an interview with USA Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “There is no way the iPhone will gain significant market share. No chance. This is a $ 500 subsidized item. They can make a lot of money. But if you take a look at the 1.3 billion phones sold, I’d rather have our software in 60%, 70%, or 80% of them, rather than 2% or 3%, that’s what Apple might get it.

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Unfortunately for other smartphone makers, their disregard for the iPhone’s impact on the market has been their own downfall. Nokia’s and BlackBerry’s market shares have fallen, as Investopedia points out, both of which have made major changes to their business models just to survive.

Most smartphones now mimic the functionality of the iPhone. However, Digital Trends noted that the market is widely divided between the iPhone and Google’s Android operating system (OS), which debuted in September 2008 and borrowed heavily from iOS. Portable GPS along with low to medium range cameras and standalone MP3 players have been completely shaken up as the iPhone has taken on these roles in one device.

The impact of the iPhone on Apple

Apple headquarters

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The impact of the iPhone on Apple itself should not be overlooked. Apple started out as a computer maker and almost died of it (via Business Insider). Before Jobs returned to the company, it was on the verge of bankruptcy.

As Business Insider noted, Jobs helped turn the business around with the original iMac, followed by the Mac G3, G4, and the iPod. Despite the company’s success with these products, the iPhone has taken it to new heights. Apple went from a computer with a Mac OS lagging far behind Windows – which also made a successful music player – to a company that was a market leader in the smartphone industry.

Even after the rise of Android, which Statista currently holds the lion’s share of the global market, Apple continues to be a dominant force. The success of the iPhone also helped make Apple the first US company to be valued at $ 1,000 billion (via CBS News).

How the iPhone impacted Jobs’ legacy

Steve Jobs giving a speech

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Another major impact of the iPhone has been on Steve Jobs himself and the legacy he left. Jobs has passed away four years after presenting the iPhone at MacWorld, leaving behind a much bigger legacy.

Jobs had a conflicted history at Apple, co-founding the company with Steve Wozniak before being ultimately ousted for his mercurial nature. He went on to found NeXT, Inc. with the goal of replicating his initial success with Apple. Ultimately, NeXT failed as a business, but it did help create an operating system that would eventually serve as the basis for the current macOS, after Apple bought NeXT to bring Jobs back into the fold, as it did. ‘said Business Insider. In the midst of his exile from Apple, Jobs also bought Pixar. This company would go on to produce some of the most successful animated films in history.

Founding Apple, buying Pixar, then turning Apple around and helping save it from bankruptcy and oblivion would have been an accomplishment enough to make Jobs one of the most successful entrepreneurs and CEOs of the 20th century. The success of the iPhone, however, helped catapult Jobs’ legacy to the realm of legend, making him an icon to which countless Silicon Valley entrepreneurs aspire. No one could have known how much the iPhone would change the world when it was first introduced, but, to testify how much it has changed, it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

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