Abandon all hope.... you are entering "couldhavebeen land"
You know there is something very wrong in a culture when people start whining about what "could have been" instead of getting on with the present and making something new happen.
And let's be careful of how we state things ... products are invented and marketed by companies not by countries !!!! By saying "Britain could have invented the iphone" you imply indirectly that the nation should have supported the effort.... which is exactly WHY it was not developed in this country because quangocracy is not a hotbed of commercial innovation.
Remember the I-phone was invented and marketed by Apple using private funds... (and buying/licensing technologies that came from all over the world) not by expecting manna from government.
The same could have been done in Britain (just as France, Germany Korea or Japan they all had the technology and know how) if someone there had the finance, the vision and the guts to go ahead with such a project.
Don't blame the lack of private sector vision and appetite for risk on quangos....