Re: Dodgy argument...
"No, in the sense that several Apple developments are widely accepted as instrumental to a tech revolution. The iPhone was one such development. If you disagree, take it up with the myriad industry commentators who have said as much."
The Iphone caused a tech revolution, because Apple fans say-so? If you say so.
As everyone here has noted (see, I can do weasel-worded appeal-to-popularity too), the history of smartphones has been long before Apple, and it would have continued on its development with or without Apple. For every good thing you can say Apple did, there are countless ones we can also say for the other phone companies like HTC, Nokia, LG and Samsung.
"The iPhone provoked a huge amount of controversy when first presented" - false, it was hyped widely by the media even before it was released, further proving that the media focus was not due to the actual product released, but because of the usual Apple bias.
"could a device with no keyboard attract broad acceptance?" - false, there have been keyboardless phones before, and there was no broad opposition to the idea.
"wouldn't a touch-only interface get a bit streaky and disgusting?" - well I think that still is a problem with capacitive touchscreens, however you're making it up to claim that there was some big opposition to Apple here from the media. The bias has been against resistive touchscreens from the start.
"The iPhone wasn't referred to as the potential killer of a similar rival, but many phones afterward were dubbed 'iPhone-killers'." - yes, the media are biased towards Apple. I don't see that as a good thing though.
The Iphone *was* "killed" - as a model, it was rivalled in sales by the Nokia 5800; as a platform, outsold by Symbian and now Android. Did any of those media commentators acknowledge that? No, they still only go on about Apple. Referring to something as an "iPhone-killer" isn't that the Iphone was new, all it says is that the author is an Apple fan, and chooses bias wording. It means that even if the other platform completely outsells Apple, he can still spin it by saying "Oh look, but the Iphone was first, and it wasn't completely killed off!"
The original Iphone gave Apple appalling phone sales compared to the competing companies. Only years later, did they finally gradually increase their sales to be more (though still 3rd place). The original Iphone was years behind in basic features. These are now finally added, but it's laughable to suggest that Apple defined the smartphone with the Iphone 4S.
"Apple defined the benchmark." - what benchmark? Of releasing an expensive phone with features years behind the competition, but still getting the media hype? I agree entirely.