by Dr Mike Short
15 years ago this month the iPhone was launched at Apple MacWorld in San Francisco, and has since gone on to sell globally over 2.5 Billion iPhones based on 33 models to date . The comparisons often look at the price, shape and size of these rectangular devices. But so much more has gone into this modern day phenomenon offering huge pies or ecosystems that have been created. Taking lessons from the past can offer predictions for the future so what breakthroughs can we still expect ? Much of the original Project Purple started in Apple in 2004 but it took huge collaborative effort with key industry players and close to 1000 Engineers to bring this concept to reality. And then deliver the first Apple cellphones to the US market in June 2007 and into Europe in Q4 2007.
Apple had the talent and vision but they may not have had the courage to bring together Multimedia , Internet browsing and Mobile telephony into a single devices without a few key ingredients. They had the computing and music industry knowledge, and could see the early success of the iPod and PDA markets. But they knew little of the telephony market or mobile wireless in particular, and yet they could see it was changing from Business to Consumer markets. New business models and competition were emerging for connectivity and distribution, such as MVNO Virgin Mobile (launched in UK / USA – 1999/2001 respectively) which were showing good progress. They could also see the Electronics industry developments opening up new opportunities for memory, processing, and displays, some of which may have been seen as competition to their iPOD business (launched in 2001). The prospect of working with higher speed networks such as 3G and future Wifi, and lower power RISC based ARM processors added to their confidence. They naturally integrated other technologies when available such as early Camera lenses , GNSS and key sensors.
So with good timing and vision they became known as the pioneer of smartphones but went on to enlarge the Mobile market pie through many key initiatives :