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iPhone celebrates 10th birthday

Alex Yau
June 29, 2017

The manufacturer’s most famous and popular device has sold more than a billion units

Today (June 29) marks a decade since the first iPhone went on sale, with Apple having sold over a billion units since release.

Apple’s most famous and popular device was unveiled by the late Steve Jobs on January 9 2007. Jobs, who was the Cupertino manufacturer’s CEO at the time, described the device as a “widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and breakthrough internet communications device.”

Since then there have been 15 different iterations of the handset, ranging from the 1st generation unveiled by Jobs to the most recent 7 Plus launched in September last year. The phone triggered the launch for further devices such as the iPad tablet and the Apple Watch smart wearable.

The handset was dismissed as a gimmick by many in the industry. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was one such critic who scoffed at the device. However, Ballmer and many others would be taken by surprise at the monumental rise of what many consider the first mass market smartphone.

Market figures in the year of Apple’s launch saw Nokia dominate worldwide with a share of 55.3 per cent. BlackBerry followed with 17.2 per cent, whilst Apple held onto a measly 3.2 per cent. Fast forward nearly a decade and the market couldn’t be any different, according to IDC statistics. Both Apple and Samsung led the market last year with respective shares of 14.6 per cent and 21.2 per cent. Former giants BlackBerry and Nokia are nowhere to be seen in the top five.

Market share

Additional statistics from eMarketer claims there will be 14.6 million iPhone users in the UK this year, accounting for 34.2 per cent of the smartphone market in the region. Windows and BlackBerry in comparison are forecast to just have 5.8 per cent and 1.1 per cent of the market respectively.

Whilst Apple isn’t the first manufacturer to release smartphones, it is considered the major driver to turning these devices into a mass consumer product. BlackBerry and Nokia’s handsets at the time were considered to be slow and limited in apps. The iPhone was the total opposite in comparison, offering a wider selection of apps and a better user experience.

eMarketer principal analyst Cathy Boyle said: “Two aspects of the iPhone have dramatically changed the way people live. For millions of people worldwide, the iPhone is about the internet and the camera. Having access to the internet within arm’s reach at all times has changed the way people consume media, buy products and communicate.

“The camera alone has made communication far more visual, as people share millions of pictures and videos via SMS, social networks and messaging apps. The camera has also empowered every iPhone owner to become a content creator.

Bob Elfanbaum, co-head of software specialist WWT Asynchrony Labs agreed, adding: “At the time of release, Apple’s slogan for the product was ‘This is only the beginning’. These words have turned out prophetic as whole industries now rely on the iOS platform to provide products, services and information – there are in fact more than 2 million apps, on which customers spent around £23 billion last year. It is hard to think of another platform that has had such an impact in terms of changing consumer behaviour and providing new possibilities for businesses to change the way they interact with customers.”


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