Smartphones Are No Longer a Luxury

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-06-27

iPhone Turns 5: 10 Contributions to Users and the Mobile Industry

Apple€™s iPhone is now five years old. And in that time, the company has sold more than 250 million iPhones worldwide and cemented itself as the world€™s top smartphone maker. Apple not only revolutionized its business with the iPhone, the company revolutionized the entire mobile market. And now, five years later, every other company in the space is left to hope and wish that one day, it can be like Apple. 

Apple€™s significance in the mobile market cannot be understated. The company made the world see that smartphones could be more than devices that users send out emails and surf the Web. More importantly, the firm has shown other companies how they can improve their own products. 

Simply put, Apple has brought an awful lot to the mobile space. And the company€™s contributions over the last five years should be celebrated. 

Read on to learn more: 

1. A new world of touch screens 

Before the iPhone arrived on the scene, there were a few devices with touch screens. However, they lacked the responsiveness and overall quality found in Apple€™s option. Since then, touch screens have continued to improve. And we all have Apple to thank for it. 

2. Shifting enterprise ideas 

There was a time€”even after the iPhone launched€”when IT decision-makers thought that they would never bring an Apple product into the office. But the iPhone helped change that, thanks to its many corporate-friendly features. Now, IT staff is bringing Apple devices, including the iPad and Macs, to the office. The staff is just fine doing it. 

3. An eye on design 

Looking at the devices that were available before the iPhone launched five years ago, it€™s easy to be underwhelmed. Apple brought a real design focus to the marketplace and in the process, helped improve the overall look and feel of today€™s mobile devices. What other company could have done that? 

4. Smartphone-only? 

Prior to the iPhone€™s launch, there were many people that decided a smartphone wasn€™t for them. After all, if they don€™t write out emails or browse the Web often, what€™s the sense? But since then, smartphone adoption has skyrocketed. On the downside, basic mobile feature phones, once the mainstay of Nokia€™s business, are dying out. 

Smartphones Are No Longer a Luxury


5. Multiple devices per household 

Five years ago, mobile phones were a luxury in the home. Often families would have one device for everyone. But thanks to the iPhone€™s design, which makes it a far more personal product, now multiple smartphones are running in the same household. It has helped Apple, as well as its carrier partners, immensely. 

6. A cottage industry of developers 

With Apple€™s launch of the App Store in 2008, the company unleashed what has become a multibillion dollar industry centered on developing applications for mobile products. Now, developers around the world€”many of them working from home€”can create whole new businesses out of their mobile apps. That€™s awfully neat. 

7. The death of the personal media device 

Interestingly, Apple in many ways hurt its own operation when the company unveiled the iPhone. Prior to that, the iPod was the most sought-after mobile product. But with the iPhone€™s music integration, the iPod was no longer necessary. The personal media device is on its last leg today, and it€™s all Apple€™s fault for killing its own once-hugely popular product. 

8. Hello, tablets 

The nice thing about the iPhone is that it prompted companies to think beyond smartphones for their touch-screen devices. Apple, for example, ushered in the tablet era with its iPad after enjoying huge success with its smartphone. Tablets wouldn€™t be nearly as popular or sought-after today if not for the iPhone. 

9. New takes on old communication ideas 

Apple€™s iPhone communications€”talk, video, and text€”are by no means groundbreaking. However they have brought about change in the ways these features are used. Apple€™s iMessage, for example, has reduced the number of text messages people are sending through carrier networks. And FaceTime has dramatically hampered other video chat tools from keeping up. Apple has brought on several new takes to old communication ideas. So far, users are responding favorably to that. 

10. A change in entertainment consumption 

Prior to the iPhone€™s launch, there were many mobile phones that let you play games, listen to music or watch video. But the quality wasn€™t great and the vast majority of entertainment was still consumed either in the living room or on a computer. However, the iPhone radically changed the experience for the better. All other phone makers had to improve the media-playing capabilities of their products. Now, more people than ever are turning to their mobile products, like the iPhone, to play games, watch videos, and listen to music. It was a seismic shift in the marketplace that can€™t be overlooked. 

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