The iPhone turns 10 – VIDEO
The iPhone, the smartphone that revolutionized the world, celebrates today 10 years since it started being sold on the market, which marks the moment Apple started a strong ascension and it meantime became the world’s most valuable company, with a capitalization of $749 bln and having $256 bln in its accounts.
Although it wasn’t the first modern smartphone, with the first such device being made by IBM, and companies such as Palm, Nokia and BlackBerry also having important contributions, the iPhone made history as the first smartphone widely adopted by people, mainly due to its ease in use.
Apple has sold over $1 bln iPhones starting with June 29, 2007, when it started being available. At the moment, over 60% of Apple revenue is brought by iPhone sales, without taking into account sales from apps and services.
Precursor to Android
In fact, it inspired Google to produce Android, the operating system currently found on most smartphones and tablets sold worldwide. Of course, Android had been bought by Google in 2005 and was already work in progress in 2007, when the iPhone officially appeared, yet its first versions were similar to the BlackBerry systems.
The ascension of Samsung and the “fall” of Nokia and BlackBerry
Later on, Google added more and more functionalities, which turned Samsung into the most important smartphone producer worldwide, surpassing even Apple.
This further triggered the apparition of new strong players in the world of smartphones, such as Huawei, HTC, Oppo, Vivo or TCL. It also lead to the fall of other giants at the moment, such as Nokia, Motorola or Palm. The phone division from Nokia was sold to Microsoft, and at the end of last year, Nokia smartphones reappeared on the market manufactured by Finnish company HDM Global.
Motorola was bought by Google so that later on it would be taken over by Chinese laptop producer Lenovo. Palm was taken over by Hewlett-Packard, yet this was a failure, while later on, operating system webOS made it to LG Electronics, while the brand Palm is the property of Chinese group TCL, which also produces smartphones under the brand Alcatel.
The revolution of apps
Besides the revolution in the smartphone world, the iPhone brought along something else as well: the revolution of apps. More specifically, Apple launched in 2008 the App Store, which allowed the download of iPhone apps.
This wasn’t something new either, with programme websites already existing both for Windows and Linux computers, mobile apps could be downloaded even before the launch of the App Store.
In fact, the first online software store appeared even before the launch of IBM Simon, the first “prehistoric” smartphone. If the latter appeared in 1994, Electronic AppWrapper – the first commercial platform of distributing software, music and media – appeared in 1991.
The App Store triggered the creation of new apps or mobile games that would be p0ayed by consumers, and their producers saw the opportunity of extra income. In fact, out of the $91 bln, the revenue from games last year, $40,6 bln were the sales of mobile games alone, more than any other category. By comparison, computer games generated $34 bln, with $6,6 bln being the ones for profile consoles.
A shock for Nintendo
This strong popularity of mobile games came together with another effect: people realized they can play on their phones, so they stopped buying dedicated mini-consoles. The sales of Nintendo Game Boy or PlayStation Vita were affected, as well as the associated games, due to the plunging number of users.
Furthermore, sales of classic consoles were also affected. For instance, in the fiscal year 2008, Nintendo had sales of $16,6 bln and a net profit of $2,5 bln, only to experience in 2009 a profit half as high and the following years it even experienced losses.
The assembly and component industry
Another hidden effect of the iPhone’s popularity is the strong development of the microprocessing industry. More specifically, the iPhone triggered the popularization of smartphones, which then became an industry of hundreds of billions of dollars. Last year there were 1,5 billion smartphones sold all over the world, with 4 billion such devices being used around the world. Last year alone, smartphone sales rose to $428,9 bln, according to Statista, more than the 4408 generated by computer manufacturing.
This lead to the powerful development of component industry. In fact, Apple popularized the ARM architecture for processors since the launch of the iPod, but starting with the iPhone, it was used by most competitors.
Companies such as ARM Holdings, the inventor of the architecture with the same name, Qualcomm, Broadcom or MediaTek for processors experienced a powerful development, as well as companies such as TSMC and UMC in Taiwan which are physically producing in their plants the chips for the aforementioned companies.
Samsung and LG developed on the same pattern, with these being the main smartphone screen producers.
Finally, other winners of the ”iPhone revolution” are Corning, the company producing the protective glass on most models, as well as groups such as Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron, which assemble in their factories most smartphones in the world.