Does it seem like five years to you? Longer? Shorter?
Well, at any rate, this little device has changed our lives. Thomas Hazlett (a law professor at George Mason University) wrote a great piece in the Wall Street Journal cataloging the history of the iconic device, the long lines that accompanied its debut, and some of the wrong-headed predictions that never came to pass.
When it first came out, Columbia University law professor Tim Wu called it “iPhony” when analyzing Apple’s business model. In contrast, the Atlantic recently called the iPhone “the defining consumer item of its age.”
Now we all know that the App Store took another year to come to fruition, and perhaps its invention was the “killer app” of the iPhone and the smartphones that followed it.
Our jacAPPS division was created about 90 days after the App Store opened for business. Our team has long felt that the ultimate demise of Nokia and BlackBerry was their inability to understand the app opportunity.
As Mary Meeker pointed out in her amazing media analysis, there are 46 million app downloads a day in the Apple App Store. This year, they hit the 30 billion download milestone, fueled by 650,000 applications.
The app controversy between Apple and Google has become a fundamental philosophical feud, like North vs. South, Democrat vs. Republican, or Yankees vs. Red Sox.
In this corner, Apple’s world of apps is a tightly controlled environment – a “gated community” – where there’s just one screen for all iPhones and a rather strict acceptance process.
Meanwhile, their apps work, they’re reliable, and the CX – or customer experience – is always first and foremost.
In the opposite corner, Google has taken more of the “open garden” approach. Anybody can release an app into the Android galaxy, while handset manufacturers can essentially do whatever they like underneath the Android umbrella.
Problem is, Android apps simply don’t work on all these devices. This lack of uniformity hurts both developers and end users. And as Hazlett reports, many are heading back to the platform that promises reliability – Apple’s iOS system.
The other phenomenon about the iPhone that may amaze you is the speed in which it grew. We like to believe that its growth was meteoric. Check out the chart below, put together by the aforementioned Ms. Meeker. Compared to the iPod (green), it was. But iPad (blue) has actually been the runaway hit – far ahead of the iPhone (orange) – based on the first eight quarters of each device’s existence:
It’s a testament to how Apple has strategically whetted our appetite for their amazing devices. We may not have thought we needed an iPod but we bought one eventually. And when the iPhone came out, lots of people questioned why they would want a phone that had all these crazy applications. And now, most people aren’t even questioning the wisdom of buying an iPad. They trust Apple to deliver a cool, fun, and useful product. Our Techsurveys for both public and commercial radio continue to point to explosive growth for tablets (especially iPad) as well as predicting an incredible year of even bigger leaps as this year plays out.
It really started with that crazy, fun, and elegant five year-old in your pocket or purse. The one that is on your nightstand, at dance recitals, at the dinner table, and yes, even accompanies many of you to the rest room.
Happy birthday, iPhone – a gadget that I continue to thoroughly enjoy using.