back to article Soz fanbois, Apple DIDN'T invent the smartphone after all

Apple didn’t invent the smartphone. The iPhone wasn’t as good as many of the other phones the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola were selling to the mobile networks. The real breakthrough was that Apple circumvented the buying process. There has always been a battle between the mobile phone networks and the handset …

  1. benjymous
    FAIL

    Yet you posted the same story just over an hour ago with the exact opposite conclusion

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/09/fake_history_sorry_bbc_but_apple_really_did_invent_the_iphone/

    iPhones cure cancer!

    iPhones cause cancer!

    just eat one iPhone every day to cure alzheimer's!

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
      Happy

      Yup, that's why I love El Reg. Two different authors, two different points of view. One might say that state media should learn from this example, but of course state media would never learn from private enterprise because it must be "inherently flawed".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two different authors, two different points of view.

        Two different clickbaitish articles.

        Next: IoT sucks! IoT rules!

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Two different authors, two different points of view.

          Would be an interesting concept for a website:

          Every headline has, next to it, an article with the exact opposite interpretation.

          Then people can pick and choose the argument they want to use to either agree with and cite, or debunk and flame.

    2. caffeine addict Silver badge

      That was about Apple inventing the iPhone, not the smart phone.

      Have people forgotten how to read?

    3. Doc Ock

      >just eat one iPhone every day to cure alzheimer's!

      Only if I could remember where I'd put the damn thing and not set it on silent.

    4. IsJustabloke
      FAIL

      RE just eat one iPhone every day to cure alzheimer's!

      No, you're wrong. The article you link to says that Apple invented the iPhone and quite clearly states that Apple didn't invent teh smartphone. (which they didn't)

      So I'm afraid the failage is all yours....

    5. Scorchio!!
      Happy

      Ah, but Steve Jobs did bring something new to the iPhone; Pixie dust, which he spread liberally at his 'shows'; the world was hypnotised and could not see that Steve was in the nick.

    6. Oh Homer
      Headmaster

      "the iPhone still currently dominates"

      Where the definition of "dominates" is 12.5%, apparently.

      Jobs' reality distortion field lives on.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am puzzled by the premise of this article

    As far as I know, nobody ever said in all seriousness that Apple invented the smartphone, because we all know it isn't true (I myself had quite a number of them before the iPhone).

    What Apple did was making it usable, and with its understanding of what users wanted (something the networks in their enthusiasm to take our money from us had started to lose sight of) and the resulting popularity, Apple was able to control a game that previously was entirely in the hands of the networks.

    Basically, Apple busted a de facto cartel approach to telephony by making smartphones easy to use. Even though the iPhone 3 sucked, they got the ball rolling. The 3S started to deliver, and the rest is history.

    But it never, ever claimed it invented the smartphone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

      What Apple did was making it usable, and with its understanding of what users wanted

      RIM grew rich on producing what managements wanted. When prices started to drop and mobile phones became non business affordable, the game changed to what end users wanted. Apple saw that, RIM didn't.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

        People can argue over what makes a 'smartphone' - at the time, it was generally taken to mean one that could run 3rd party software, usually Symbian or Windows Mobile. However, the 1st iPhone resembles the Nexus 5 I'm currently typing this post on - capacitive touchscreen, gyros, proximity sensor, GPU. Most people now just say 'phone' for their Android or iPhone, or they say 'Nokia' if they use a £10 phone call and sms device.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

          "Most people now just say 'phone' for their Android or iPhone, or they say 'Nokia' if they use a £10 phone call and sms device."

          FWIW, and for balance :-), I hear a lot of non-tech people refer to any smartphone as their "iPhone".

          This leads many people to think that Apple invented the smartphone because Apple invented the iPhone and all smartphones are iPhones, right? :-)

          1. D@v3

            Re: smartphone = iphone

            in a similar way, we have a number of Samsung tablets here, and they are almost exclusively referred to as iPads.

      2. HmmmYes Silver badge

        Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

        True.

        RIM wnated 100% of a small pie rather than 50% of much bigger pie.

        WhatsApp is basically BB messenger re-written in Erlang and off the BB platform.

      3. Lotaresco

        Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

        "RIM grew rich on producing what managements wanted."

        Apple has played a clever game here because they have worked to meet what management want as well as what the consumer wants. After a colleague of mine criticised some aspects of iPhone security and advised that government should avoid the iPhone until these problems were fixed we were approached by Apple who then spent a lot of time and money understanding the detail of the criticism, proposing design changes and then fixing the issues in the next releases of iOS. They have also worked hard to provide the assurance that government needs that the phone is fit for purpose. The government market is tiny but the security features also appeal to big business, no one wants to think that commercially sensitive information is being compromised.

      4. fishiercode

        Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

        Good point - at the iPhone keynote in 2007, Jobs actually made a point of explaining that they were reinventing the smart phone, making it easier to use, and more powerful. The full transcript is here: http://www.european-rhetoric.com/analyses/ikeynote-analysis-iphone/transcript-2007/

        However, Blackberry was not just for management types - I knew plenty of non-management people who loved their Blackberries too (I wasn't one of them, but then again, I never actually owned one). The problem for them was that there were just not as many users as those who loved their iPhones (I've never owned one of them either, mind), and later, Android devices. Once I got used to all the extra screen real estate, I simply couldn't go back to sacrificing half of it for a physical keyboard. Initially, that was the main difference between the two for me. Of course, once the app ecosystem grew for iOS and Android at an exponential rate, that was it, contest over.

        Also, BBM made Blackberry relevant again with at least one demographic, for a while:

        "Many young people did: Ofcom statistics confirm BlackBerry was the favoured smartphone of teenagers, cornering 37% of the youth market (44% for teenage girls), compared with just 24% across all age groups."

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/dec/07/bbm-rioters-communication-method-choice

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Did anyone truly 'invent' the smartphone?

          The smartphone is the sum of its parts. If you argue like I do that the sum must include a simple UI (i.e. touchscreen, not keyboard) a full browser (i.e. no WAP, but seeing the same view you do on a desktop browser) wifi (so you don't restrict what you do for fear of running up a huge bill) apps that can be downloaded over a network, GPS, and camera, then the iPhone (3G, not the original which lacked GPS) would be the first smartphone. They didn't "invent" it, they were merely the first to combine all those pieces into a single product - to see what the smartphone should be to have mass appeal.

          If you use a lower bar, like "has apps" then it came about in like 2000 or so. But whoever created that first "smartphone" shouldn't be given any credit for inventing the category inhabited by the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7. Those look and operate a heck of a lot more like the original iPhone than they look and operate like any phone that came before it.

          Who invented the automobile? There are multiple people to choose from, but none of those early automobiles look or operate anything like what we would think of as an "automobile" today. i.e. IMHO you should throw out the early ones that worked on primitive batteries, steam power, used something other than a steering wheel to direct it, used something other than foot pedals to make it stop and go, etc. Those are not enough like a modern automobile to qualify as being their ancestor in the way the iPhone 3G is the ancestor of today's smartphones and not the first Windows Mobile 1.0 phone or whatever.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

          However, Blackberry was not just for management types - I knew plenty of non-management people who loved their Blackberries too

          Absolutely, your other assessment of the BB market demographic in the UK was spot on. In the UK, at least, BB was a kids and teens phone. I would say the youth market outnumbered business by about 10 to 1.

    2. Robin

      Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

      The only time I've ever seen reference to Apple having invented the smartphone, is people saying "You know Apple didn't invent the smartphone right?!"

      1. LDS Silver badge

        'The only time I've ever seen reference to Apple having invented'

        You're lucky. Just today one of the main Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, is telling 'how Jobs made the phone smart' ten years ago...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: 'The only time I've ever seen reference to Apple having invented'

          The way I see it, Apple took the smartphone, which was stuck in a niche occupied only by geeks and PHBs, and made one that appealed to the masses. Sure, smartphones existed before the iPhone, but they were NEVER going to be something that the average person would want to own, because they were being designed by engineers and pronounced "done" when (barely) usable by other engineers.

          Seriously, WAP browsing? Java (if you were lucky) apps that had to be loaded via some super fiddly procedure using USB or IR? User friendliness that made you long for DOS?

      2. imaginarynumber

        Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

        "The only time I've ever seen reference to Apple having invented the smartphone, is people saying "You know Apple didn't invent the smartphone right?!""-

        Erm, Apple told the courts that they invented touch screen smartphones...

        "Before the iPhone, cell phones were utilitarian devices with key pads for dialing and

        small, passive display screens that did not allow for touch control."

        - source https://www.apple.com/pr/pdf/110415samsungcomplaint.pdf

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

      That's what this article is saying( though whether anyone thought Apple invented the smartphone is another matter - a bit of a strawman to launch the nice little story maybe.

    4. Simon Rockman

      Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

      Apple may not have invented the smartphone, but plenty of other people - such as Tim Hartford - seem to think that it did. This article started as a response to the same article Andrew also wrote about.

      But the premise isn't about the product, it's about business process. There was a pent up demand for smartphones which was only satisfied when Apple circumnavigated the operators buying process,

      And given that it's made Apple the richest company on the planet perhaps that's more important than innovation.

      Indeed innovation is often a disguise for fashion. cf curved televisions.

    5. Adrian Tawse

      Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

      I think you will find that a very large number of people do believe that apple did invent the smartphone. Such is the power of impression over truth - Donald Trump.

    6. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

      The BBC said Apple invented the Smartphone.

      BBC Radio 4 yesterday were saying it was 10 years since Apple invented the Smartphone. We all know it's not true. Apple invented the iPhone.

      I have friends who think Jobs was smart because of the technical things he invented. What was smart is how he polished what had already been invented. I remember those bloody terrible PDA things. It was obvious what was needed. Nice high res touch screen and a lot more CPU power and make it a phone and a camera at the same time. Inventing it was like falling off a log. Actually making a really nice one was the hard bit.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Apple stole the iPhone

    well, at least they took/stole/aquired many bits of tech that already existed and made it all work together very well whn compared to existing devices at the time.

    Other companies had tried to create a device like the iPhone and failed.

    Apple was in the right place at the right time.

    It is also safe to say that without the iPhone, apple more than likely would not exist today.

    Lots of people here hate Apple with a vengance. Perhaps at least today, they could at least accept that the iPhone was a game changer. Then tomorrow they can go back to hating/despising Apple again.

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: Apple stole the iPhone

      Apple were making increasingly popular computers through out the 90s, I say this not as an apple fanboy but someone who was repairing them. They had a lot of success with the early iPods too. Without the iPhone they'd be a fraction of the size they are, no doubt about it but they'd still likely have gone on to make the iPod touches, ipads etc anyway as they was clearly the way they were headed.

      As much as the iPhone was critical to their expansion it wasn't the reason they stayed in business.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Apple stole the iPhone

        Without the iPhone they'd be a fraction of the size they are, no doubt about it but they'd still likely have gone on to make the iPod touches, ipads etc anyway as they was clearly the way they were headed

        I'm not so sure about that. I'll grant you the fact that after Jobs returned and gave the company "direction" they were on the right track, and I completely agree that without the iPhone, Apple wouldn't be the company it is now, but I really do think that the iPod Touch and the iPads are descendants of the iPhone rather than siblings or cousins.

        The first iPhone had a dreadful specification, but it took control of your communications away from the networks and put it (apparently) in your own hands (I say apparently because obviously Apple had a big say in the matter) and - crucially - it "just worked". It didn't do a lot, but that which it did, it did well, and people got used to the idea that an interface could be almost completely intuitive. Oh, and fashionable, something Apple learned from the equally under-specified original iMac.

        Even if it had been half the price I wouldn't have bought an iPhone, but that's not the point

        M..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple stole the iPhone

          It didn't do a lot, but that which it did, it did well, and people got used to the idea that an interface could be almost completely intuitive.

          I would say somewhat completely intuitive.

          You do actually have to learn how to use an iPhone.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple stole the iPhone

        "Apple were making increasingly popular computers through out the 90s..."

        Rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiight. PPC was doing so well that they had to abadon it, along with their entire OS. So passes OS1-9, long live OS10.

        1. Tejekion

          Re: Apple stole the iPhone

          Umm. PPC WAS doing well. Until IBM decided to abandon consumer PPC processor. Motorola couldn't or wouldn't make enough future PPC processors to support Apple's expanding ambitions, and that's why Apple made the switch. PPC processors were at the end of the road, and Apple had seen it coming since MacOS 9.1, so they made all versions of OS X both PPC and X86 compatible.

          They only switched to Intel when they felt their X86 compatibility was mature enough.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

            Re: Apple stole the iPhone

            "Motorola couldn't or wouldn't make enough future PPC processors to support Apple's expanding ambitions, and that's why Apple made the switch."

            Not quite. Motorola withdrew (or was pushed out) way earlier. AIM alliance was like a regular soap opera, but rough sequence is something like this:

            - both IBM and Motorola fabricated G3 processors. IBM sold theirs as PPC750 series, Motorola as MPC750 series, designs were jointly created and pretty much identical.

            - Apple wanted multimedia instructions similar to Intel MMX/SSE. G4 was again joint development, essentially G3 speedbump with added AltiVec instruction set. But IBM pulled out shortly before production phase and Motorola became a sole producer.

            - G4 clock speeds hit a wall somewhere around 500 MHz, causing many delayed product launches and assorted embarrassment for Apple. Relations with Motorola became very tense.

            - IBM had meanwhile launched 64-bit Power 4 server processors in the magical gigahertz range. These were hastily stripped down to create PPC970 aka G5. With AltiVec bolted on.

            - Few years on, G5 also hit the wall. It could not reach 3 GHz (which was bad, because Intel had pushed Pentium 4 clocks beyond 3) and power consumption was huge.

            - and then the evolutionary leap happened: Intel had a little skunkworks project in Israel that was developing low-power mobile processors around the Pentium 3 core. As it turned out, these little critters had the potential to overtake both P4 and G5. They certainly did.

            - and lastly, an unsubstiatiated rumour from that period: at some point IBM looked for a way to get out of the x86 PC business and (allegedly) made a merger offer to the Apple board. Which (allegedly) infuriated His Steveness so much that he (allegedly) ordered to drop everything else and get x86 migration projects going.

            We'll probably never know whether that last part is true or not, but that was the gossip back then, and it makes just as much sense than anything else in this glorious soap opera.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple stole the iPhone

            "PPC WAS doing well."

            Not for Apple. You mentioned it yourself, Apple was so bad off it was helpless and at the mercy of other companies, scrambling for scraps off the table. The iPOD allowed them to regain a seat with R.I.A.A. "deals". Those deals were believed to stop to piracy, stopping piracy enabled mass music sales, sales on mobile phones sky rocket....ta da, iPhone. The article doesn't mention this or thinks it was magic. Either way the author has completely forgotten what Apple sold to the R.I.A.A. to get DRM music on the phone. To put them in clutch with Hollywood, to get them in clutch with carriers. STOP NAPSTER!

            This period in time was the Windows9x/NT4 era. Don't kid yourself, Apple was in the trash and Microsoft reigned hell.

            1. Simon Rockman

              Re: Apple stole the iPhone

              I'm pretty sure Apple didn't drop the PPC: Intel stole the customer. Intel paid Apple to make the switch and covered the engineering effort for the port.

              At one of the companies I worked for, making ARM based devices, I was approached, informally in the canteen, by someone from Intel saying that if we'd make a similar switch they would develop the OS for us.

      3. Joe Gurman

        Re: Apple stole the iPhone

        Apple was making a dazzling confusing no array of mostly mediocre Macs as the '90s wore on, to the point in 1997 that they had only enough cash to keep the firm afloat for a few weeks when Steve Jobs was made CEO for the second time.... and he picked up the phone to ask Bill Gates for a loan and a commitment. The next year, App,e started selling the iMac, and the rest is history that many here apparently wish had never happened.

        I used some good Apple hardware in the early 90s, but 1997 they had a hundred models and no way to tell them apart, aside from dome nice hardware at the very top end. To get a really good macOS machine at a consumer price, you had to buy a clone, preferably from Power Computng. Mr. Jobs cancelled the clone agreements and started producing decent products again.

    2. kmac499

      Re: Apple stole the iPhone

      "Lots of people here hate Apple with a vengance."

      Yup!! But please can we differentiate between Apple the company and Apple products

      Apple Products are usually good and so they should be; when you control the hardware OS and app stores. Even when you allow for the blatant plagiarising of other companies ideas. (Braun industrial design, Xerox GUI etc.etc) Anything less than a tight integrated product line would be inexcusable. But this does not make Apple products unique or best of breed.

      Most of us Apple-deniers really hate the company for it's attitude as it is percieved. For example massive over pricing of hardware, Rip off charges for developers on it's app store assuming you are allowed in in the first place. Planned obsolence by upgrades and ludicrously priced genuine accessories and spares and repairs. All of this peddled under an almost mystical banner of "We know what's good for you". I first met this attitude while using a Next PC one of St Jobs other projects, and it stank then.

      All of the above basically flow back to the character of Steve Jobs. His desire to control dominate and extract as much money as possible from the market by any means is reminiscent of the 19th century robber barons like Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt et al. Extremely driven men determined to exploit a monopoly by any means available.

      (BTW I'm not excusing Gates, Ellison, Zuckerberg or the google guys either, St Jobs was just the most extreme of them IMHO)

  4. Christopher Slater-Walker

    "The iPhone dominates."

    No it doesn't. Android dominates, however you measure market share.

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me
      Trollface

      Re: "The iPhone dominates."

      Not if the metric is how many fanbois own an iphone :-)

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "The iPhone dominates."

      What about Profits?

      Isn't it true that the iPhone accounts for around 80% of all the profits from smartphones?

      Isn't that a valid measure (no matter how distasteful)?

      Apple were never in the bargain end of any business segment especially phones.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: "The iPhone dominates."

      No it doesn't. Android dominates, however you measure market share.

      Last time I looked Android wasn't a make / model of phone, it is an OS.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: "The iPhone dominates."

        Indeed. There are probably more of a single model of iPhone sold than any single model of Android phone, of which there are many.

        And yes, most of the profit in mobile phones goes to Apple.

    4. Tejekion

      Re: "The iPhone dominates."

      Not true. The measurement by handset model sold will clearly put the iPhone on top

  5. David Lawton

    Love or hate Apple, but one thing they got right with the iPhone is not letting the mobile operators mess with the software. When apple release an iOS update everyone gets it. I remember having a Nokia 6680 with this stupid Orange firmware instead of Nokia with this horrible Orange home screen and you could not remove it and was stuck with the horrid UI. You still on the android side have the networks messing with firmware adding bloat or being slow to approve updates.

    1. Ragarath Silver badge

      Thumbs up

      I am no Apple fan but this is one thing Apple got right and should be emulated IMO. Let's stop the phone companies having control over things they have no idea about and have proved again and again they do not care about.

      Have a thumbs up for the observation.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Thumbs up

        It's not just the networks that slow Android updates... It is also chip vendors, handset vendors with their daft skins, and sometimes regulators too.

        Please remember that to gain foothold, Android was ostensibly open source, so there was no monolithic entity to force a clean and quickly updated version of Android on device vendors. The AOSP is still open source (though hardware drivers often aren't) but Google has been pushing its extra proprietary bits.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      When apple release an iOS update everyone gets it.

      Which unfortunately still doesn't mean that the updates are ever timely.

      1. Andrew Moore

        It also allows Apple to bork older models...

  6. Alan Bourke

    Apple? Invent?

    They don't invent much, really. If anything. They do apply brilliant design and marketing to things that already exist though and make your granny want one.

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: Apple? Invent?

      "They don't invent much, really. If anything."

      This is a FRBUM (Frequently Repeated But Untrue Meme).

      Apple has invented about as much, and probably more than other companies in the IT/Technnology sector. A responsive GUI? Thank Apple, Bill Atkinson in particular because that was his doing. Although GUIs existed before Apple's interest they were relatively clunky and needed significant computing power to work. Atkinson worked out QuickDraw which had features no one else had thought of (BitBlt, GrafPorts, Regions among them).

      Like all other companies they adopt an approach of only re-inventing the wheel when the wheel is shown to be inadequate for the job. However to claim that they don't invent much isn't supportable.

      1. Alan Bourke

        Re: Apple? Invent?

        That's like saying they invented fast cars. It's the car that's important. And again, that comes under 'brilliant design applied to existing concept'.

        I used the first Macs in college when the alternative was Nimbus PC's *gak* and VT100 VAX terminals. So I'm glad they did.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: Apple? Invent?

          While Apple have come up with few brand new ideas, what they have invented are lots of smaller parts/software that goes into making existing ideas better. It's the combination of those, plus the way they are integrated into the whole, that makes their devices popular with the public.

          To use your analogy, just because BMW didn't invent the car doesn't mean that they can't do very well selling quality cars engineered with their own ideas added to the upper end of the market.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Apple? Invent?

            I'm hard pressed to think of any invention that isn't a combination or adaptation of prexisting inventions.

            "Tharg didn't invent the wheel! He just combined the rollers we use for shifting stones, and combined it with the rotating stick idea we use for roasting meat over a fire! What a phoney Tharg is!"

        2. Lotaresco

          Re: Apple? Invent?

          "That's like saying they invented fast cars. It's the car that's important. And again, that comes under 'brilliant design applied to existing concept'."

          With respect, you are not understanding the nature of invention. It's not even a good analogy. Until QuickDraw the companies producing GUIs relied on the fastest systems that they could to make the GUI fast enough for the users. Even then it was slow and a user would have to wait significant periods of time for the screen to redraw. Atkinson got an interface that was more responsive than the Xerox star to run on a Motorola 68000. Rather than a "faster car" he found a way to make a Nissan Micra 1.0 as driveable and nippy as a car costing 20 times as much.

          Continuing to flog your "car" analogy, which is completely wrong in this context, it's rather like Toyota creating the Prius. The car already existed at the time, but no one had designed a car that integrated generators, battery storage, electric motors and planetary gearboxes with regenerative braking to squeeze as much as possibly out of a litre of fuel. That was invention, and development and yes design.

      2. no-one in particular

        Re: Apple? Invent?

        > Atkinson worked out QuickDraw which had features no one else had thought of (BitBlt,

        BitBlt was documented - with that exact name - in SmallTalk before QuickDraw existed; graph ports and regions were equally known.

      3. IsJustabloke
        Stop

        Re: Apple? Invent?

        @Lotaresco

        I believe you are confusing the word "improve" with "invent"

  7. Blacklight
    FAIL

    Sendo X did e-mail, and let you lug around your own music (on a card, or via USB no less!). We were even looking at cloud services. The X2 even had a nice VR game, but never got off the blocks, as Sendo went "phoom", cue Moto entering stage left. Moto had already tried to lure fanbois with the (ahem) MotoRokr back in 2005 - but that wasn't a smart phone. But who cared? Fun glowy LEDs! But then, out of Brum, came the (ring ring ring ring ring ring ring) Banaphone Z8.

    The Z8 did do some very nice things, was nicely specced, had that fun form factor (although WTF marketing managed to do with that "horse" advert I have no idea) - although it was a potentially risk dalliance with UIQ over S60.

    But then "Oh hai, iPhone" with it's large screen" and "touchscreen" and "bai bai" everything....but seriously, ignore the fact it happened to have "Apple" on it, the larger touch enabled screens are pretty much what won it...

    1. Jonathon Green

      Not going anywhere near this, too many uncomfortable memories...

      However I will observe that the whole post Sendo thing was a perfect example of Motorola doing what Motorola has always done best, which is to have a good idea, put some very talented people to work on it with plenty of resources, and then kill the whole thing stone dead in a spectacular, pointless self destructive orgy of corrosive internal politics and misdirected internal competition.

      My mistake was believing that things would be different this time round and that the (by Motorola standards uncharacteristically decent, well intentioned, and transparent) local management would be able to keep the Birmingham "skunk works" set-up flying under the radar...

  8. Dabooka Silver badge

    Apple didn't invent it no...

    but they did 'invent' a touch screen iPod that could make a receive calls.

    It was the obvious transition from their iPods, so they already had a fan base waiting in the wings. I've said in here at the time that I used both an iPhone 2g and a Nokia N95 and much preferred the N95 for day to day living (I got down voted for it, but it's how I felt), but the iPhone was perfect for Apple and perfect for those that had bought into the Apple ecosystem. ITunes has as much responsibility for their success as do the incumbent phone manufacturers, who at the time let Apple stride in and pull the carpet out from underneath them.

    Don't forget just how cool and must have anything iApple were back then. I also agree with the comments about how the iPhone profits helped them enormously, as after the iPod they started being more an computer company to one that moved CE instead.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Apple didn't invent it no...

      The first iPhone was a compromised device, but it didn't take much imagination on the part of consumers at the time to see what it would be like after a few evolutionary upgrades in battery, connectivity, CPU etc. Such a device would resemble the phones - Android, WinPhone, iOS - the majority of use use today.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative version: Apple designed a more usable, useful, smartphone than the design by committee for cliched stereotypes incumbents and wiped the floor with them. Android did a 180 from their blackberry clone image and copied Apple.

  10. Frank Bitterlich
    Happy

    It's the usual story.

    It's funny how ten years can change the perception. With the iPhone, it was as with many of the more successful products from Apple: They didn't inven that class of device, but they were often the first to pull it out of a market niche by making it actually usable.

    They didn't invent the smartphone; but when you compare the iPhone's usability with the other device in exsitence at that time, they simply didn't matter.

    And Apple didn't invent the MP3 player: But they made the iPod, the first (in my eyes) portable music player worth buying (eve as overpriced as it was.)

    Apple didn't invent internet music stores; but they made them popular and easy to use.

    Apple did not invent networking by far; but with the simple plug-and-play operation of LocalTalk, you suddenly didn't need an engineer any more to set up a home network.

    They didn't invent the GUI: but if you compare what the other major company that "borrowed" the concept from PARC made out of it at that time, that was so insignificant that Apple might just as well have invented it.

    Sometimes, inventing something is honorable, but without adapting it to reality and making it available, it becomes insignificant. Just because Leonardo Da Vinci made plans for a flying machine, that doesn't automatically mean that a couple of hundred years later commercial aviation is one of th world's most used means of transportation.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: It's the usual story.

      "Apple did not invent networking by far; but with the simple plug-and-play operation of LocalTalk, you suddenly didn't need an engineer any more to set up a home network."

      These things are always easier when you design everything to work only with your own proprietary systems. With emerging markets it's always way faster to come up with your own solution (LocalTalk) than wait for a standard organization to finalize a standard (Ethernet).

      Apple is the B&O of computers. Products that are pleased to look at, they work with all their own peripherals with ease, the output is at least sufficiently high quality, and price double that of their mainstream rivals. And both have traditionally been the antitheses of interoperability.

      On topic: Localtalk was easy since the Apple computers had the tech built-in. The much faster 10Base2 from around the same time was also as easy to lay on the office floor and connect to computers but required more work on the OS level (drivers, protocol settings) as well as requiring the physical NIC installation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's the usual story.

        Apple is the B&O of computers. Products that are pleased to look at, they work with all their own peripherals with ease, the output is at least sufficiently high quality, and price double that of their mainstream rivals. And both have traditionally been the antitheses of interoperability.

        I am intrigued by your comments about interoperability - my experience is quite the opposite. I can unbox a vanilla Apple device (smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop) and have it online on our open standards based Linux back end using ldap, carddav, caldav, smtp and imap facilities, and use the Net without having to spend a penny extra. Agreed, it's even easier between Apple gear, but it plays quite well with our back end.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's the usual story.

          To add to that,

          I plugged in my Canon EIDE 60 scanner into my 2012 MBP and was able to scan documents without having to any external drivers.

          The same goes for an Epson and a Brother printer.

          Compare that to Windows... The Epson printer driver only works with Windows 7 and nothing later.

          A lot of people in the IT Industry have lost the meaning of 'Ease of Use'.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's the usual story.

            I plugged in my Canon EIDE 60 scanner into my 2012 MBP and was able to scan documents without having to any external drivers.

            OSX does seem to install something when you plug in new kit, but it appears Apple has managed to get manufacturers to contribute to an Apple hosted repository so it's pretty much seamless as soon as you have acknowledged that the device it has found is correctly identified. It's quite helpful if you're in a new place with a printer on the network - as long as you have Internet access you'll be printing in minutes.

            About the only think that broke the norm was a Dymo/CardScan 800c business card scanner because that needs its own OCR software too to be of any use (which took a long time to get updated to 10.12).

          2. Peter 39

            Re: It's the usual story.

            ABSOLUTELY !!

            A neighbour has a PC with a forced update to Win10. Networking was dead. Stone dead, so she called me - the "Mac guy" for help. It was trivial to plug in MacBook Pro and verify that the network was indeed alive and well. A bit of work with Mr Google released that many others were in the same sorry state because of the borked fix a month or so ago. No help from Redmond, of course.

            But some suggested that reacquiring a DHCP lease might be a help but - of course - there's no way I could find to do that within any of the Control Panels. I did try for a while - total zero. Then I remembered that the command-line might help (last time I used that on Windows is longer than I care to remember) and BINGO - networking was networking again. Fortunately Redmond figured out its fiasco and applied Band-Aid#2 so I haven't been called back on this.

            Then she mentioned that none of her printers had been working since the unwanted, forced update. It turns out that all the Win7 print drivers are c**p for Win10 so you have to funky-fiddle the de-install of the old ones and then manually install new ones from the vendor.

            Funny, but my Apple MBP had no problem finding the printer and printing to it - although it had never seen that variety before.

            So, the "usual story" is that Apple mostly gets its stuff to work, straightforward, right out of the box. If you others want to buy other stuff and then complain that *that* doesn't work - that's your problem. I choose not to spend my life doing that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's the usual story.

          > I am intrigued by your comments about interoperability

          Last time I looked at it, the iPhone still "locked" the POP3 account by not issuing a QUIT command immediately after checking for messages. This used to be a real problem when checking email from multiple devices.

          AFP was fine between OS9 computers but mixing Windows / Linux was... challenging.

          Purely on a hardware aspect those iPhones/iPads have always had a proprietary cables and the idiotic pentalobe screws. Macbooks have proprietary M.2 SSD interfaces.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's the usual story.

            Last time I looked at it, the iPhone still "locked" the POP3 account by not issuing a QUIT command immediately after checking for messages. This used to be a real problem when checking email from multiple devices.

            With all due respect, if you use multiple devices to access one mailbox you should avoid POP3 like the antique beast it is and switch to IMAP which keeps all in sync - that's what it was actually designed for.

            I have 4 different facilities accessing my mailboxes, and with IMAP that is no problem whatsoever. The CRM does its own push/pull, and I have 3 devices that I use to access email depending on where I am and what I'm doing - all works very well and also facilitates easy backups. POP3 is OK for a single device or if you do not want a centralised server, but it's a swine to keep in sync with multiple devices and even more so if you need to add or replace one of those devices.

  11. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The phones that were around in 2005 aren't the only devices that should be mentioned in this story. There was a distinct category of Palm powered devices we called PDAs, of which some like the Sony Clie were full of techno fun; colour touch screen, music and video playback, rotating camera.

    1. Lotaresco

      "There was a distinct category of Palm powered devices we called PDAs"

      That's something that Apple can claim to have invented the Newton originated the term "personal digital assistant". Newton development started in 1987 and the device was marketed in 1993. The Palm didn't appear until 1996.

      The Newton was the device that gave Apple access to Arm and set Apple on the course that would lead to the iPhone.

      1. whatevs...

        The term PDA was coined by John Sculley in reference to the Newton.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's something that Apple can claim to have invented the Newton originated the term "personal digital assistant". Newton development started in 1987 and the device was marketed in 1993. The Palm didn't appear until 1996.

        AFAIK, the whole PDA game started properly with the launch of the PSION Organiser II (the "I" was not of much use and one of the few preserved units of that model resides at the Swindon Museum of Computers).

        The Organiser II was good fun to program and mess around with, and ran for weeks on a single 9V battery. I may even still have one somewhere.

  12. Lotaresco

    Sour grapes?

    I agree that Apple did not invent the smartphone. I think you will find that Apple will tell you they did not invent the smartphone. What they did was to invent the iPhone. What they have done since that time is to listen to both their customers and to some very interesting sources. For example Apple worked very closely with the spooks to design the security aspects of the later iPhones. Still not perfect but the iOS security model is much better than the competition because they have taken into account the design suggestions from the best in the business.

    Apple also used their experience with MacOS and the iPod to build a phone that was both usable and based on best practice. This is where the iPhone and Windows phones differed. On the iPhone security, interface and telephony are low level features. A lot of the OS can die but the phone basics will continue to work. Symbian was as soundly engineered. On a Windows phone telephony is handled in the application layer. If there's an OS glitch it dies.

    Apple's attention to interface was just as detailed. Yes, the first iPhones were limited and needed many detailed improvements. However compare them to what at the time were mainstream offerings from Nokia and Motorola and the difference for the user is wider than several barn doors. The Motorola interface at the time sucked. Sucked so hard it could pull an Army boot down a 10mm tube. It had, quite frankly, been designed by morons. Even answering a call was a trial, sending SMS an nightmare and heaven help you if you needed to communicate with someone in a language other than (American) English. My wife threw her Motorola whateveritwas[1] across the room after trying to make a call to someone in Germany and then send a confirmatory SMS.

    Crowing about the iPhone not being 3g is all very well, but 3g wasn't well established at the time and it might as well have not existed as far as other handsets were concerned. Who could actually work with WAP and the tiny, tiny low resolution displays of Motorola? The only purpose of WAP seemed to be to lock users into the network's ecosystem so they could sell packages with football results at silly high prices.

    So no, Apple didn't invent the smartphone. They just built a better phone than the junk being sold by the companies that refused to innovate because they built down to a rock-bottom price and had a cosy relationship with the networks. They also got it right, giving users what they wanted.

    And you know what? No one has to like or own an iPhone. As a user you're free to buy/rent whatever floats your boat. Also the market is open to anyone who can design a "better" phone whether "better" is a phone that works well and costs a few quid or if it's one that completely slays the iPhone in terms of features. The only embarrassment is that with a wide open market so many manufacturers are making a fist of it or going bust.

    [1] Can't remember what it was. It was blue. It's in a drawer in the barn and the mice have shat on it, which is a sincere form of criticism.

  13. frank ly

    The segmentation model

    Why does a "stay at home mom" need a five day battery life?

    1. Lunatik

      Re: The segmentation model

      Because that was a fairly fundamental market expectation at that time?

      How quickly we've forgotten. In the mid-2000s I tried to use a Motorola F3 for a while which, in theory at least, had a two week standby time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The segmentation model - Why does a "stay at home mom" need a five day battery life?

      Oh, the jokes I am resisting making.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The segmentation model

      "hy does a "stay at home mom" need a five day battery life?"

      Vibration alert drains battery too quickly?

  14. stu 4

    mobiles and cars

    two great examples where capitalism failed (and maybe still fails) the consumer.

    For most products - built it and they shall come we are told...

    got a better idea ? think customers will want it ? built it, if they do want it, they buy it - you are a happy bunny.

    For 60 years we saw this circumvented in national car markets - where manufacturers didn't have to give a shit what customers wanted - they gave them what they felt like giving them - cheap rusty shit.. it just needed to be as good as the cheap rusty shit your competitor was also selling.

    So in the UK up to the early 80s we still have pieces of crap that rusty as soon as a drop of rain fell on them, and had all the mod cons of a 1920s car in the states.

    Then barriers break down, yaya yada and finally we see cars coming out with 2-3 year old technology like apps, etc rather than 50 year old technology. They now need to compete globally.

    Mobiles were the same way - controlled by the networks for the benefit of the networks... Frankly they still do that as much as they can - it's unbelievable the amount they still charge for calls/MMS/etc - but of course it's a cosy little club.

    But they have at least lost control of tying the handset down to only doing what THEY want. I'd say about 50% of the stuff I use my phone for is not phone related at all (dji GO for the quad, Capture for my GoPro, PPGps for flying), and then there are all the apps I mostly use on wifi and the network gains nothing from (email, browsing, skype, etc, etc). Basically it's 90% PDA, 10% phone. It's fair to say that only apple was big enough to fuck the networks over and get us that device freedom. I believe there's a good chance without that happening we'd still be using tied down handsets that do a fraction of what they could do.

    They're still doing it of course - for example - if I was an hiker in scotland and I wanted to maximise my chances of having a signal the only way I can do it is buying a non UK sim - then my phone will roam to whatever network is available.. buy a UK sim/UK network and you get 1/4 of the networks available - that benefits the consumer not one jot and the networks ain't gonna change that even though it's clearly easy to do (as my non UK sim does it).

    And of course, other than Three, they all still rape you blind for call costs abroad too...

    and there's the give us some money, but if you don't use it in a month it 'expires'... I mean how the flying F*ck do they get away with that crap ?

    networks.. bloody hate em.

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: mobiles and cars

      "For 60 years we saw this circumvented in national car markets - where manufacturers didn't have to give a shit what customers wanted - they gave them what they felt like giving them - cheap rusty shit.. it just needed to be as good as the cheap rusty shit your competitor was also selling."

      I think you've hit a nail on the head and missed the point at the same time. Yes the phone market and the car market were pretty much the same in the way that they structured sales. The point you've missed is that the customer that you perceive - the end user, isn't the one that the phone makers and the car makers were servicing. The phone makers provided phones for the networks. The car makers provided cars for the fleet and hire car markets. Sales of new cars to consumers were much lower down the scale.

      So a phone had to meet a price point and last for at most three years. A car also had to meet a price point and last for at most three years. So that determined the kind of cars and phones we got. The only concession to end-user expectations was to have cars put into variants to met different grades of management, hence the L, GL, GLi etc badges; each associated with a different management grade.

      The change happened for cars when companies decided not to run their own fleets but to lease. Staff were given a band of monthly cost and discovered that the lowest depreciating cars had the lowest lease costs. Hence the rep who used to get a Sierra discovered that he could have a BMW for the same monthly cost. The person who was wedded to BL/Rover cars (such people existed) discovered that a Rover 45 was in the same group as a BMW 520. That sealed the fate of Rover.

      Phones were the same. Motorola and Nokia failed to realise that suddenly the end user was important.

  15. deive

    Not many people seem to remember the Motorola A920 - I had one and then the A1000, such good phones for their time. Full smartphone with downloadable apps and music and everything. Not bad for a phone that was 5 years before the original iPhone, which remember, did NOT have apps.

    As far as I recall the only problem with it was that it was before capacitive screens were usable....

    </silly nostalgia>

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course they didnt invent it, but made is so much better

    I know Apple didn't invent the smart phone as I had smartphones before the iPhone came out.

    However the capacitive multi touchscreen was what revolutionised the smartphone and the software. Which is what the real deal was. And I think it really took to the 3GS before they nailed it and the release of the App Store.

    Smartphones before this were a bit naff in all honesty, I had the Nokia N95 but moving to an iPhone was just so much better.

    1. Peter 39

      Re: Of course they didnt invent it, but made is so much better

      Absolutely KEY comment. Thank you.

      What Apple did is instantly obsolete all the "special web page" stuff that had been previously required. "Pinch to zoom" with the multi-touch capacitive screen was the game-changer. And Apple had to have that so you could connect to the various WiFi networks that were starting to become available.

      1. imaginarynumber

        Re: Of course they didnt invent it, but made is so much better

        "What Apple did is instantly obsolete all the "special web page" stuff that had been previously required. "Pinch to zoom" with the multi-touch capacitive screen was the game-changer. And Apple had to have that so you could connect to the various WiFi networks that were starting to become available."

        My 5" HTC Athena shipped with Opera's multi-tabbed HTML browser (and even had Flash support). Oh and my earlier HTCs had WiFi back in 2004.

        Windows Mobile didn't support multi-touch but it did support double tap to zoom and swiping before the iPhone was released.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    I'll bite

    "The iPhone wasn’t as good as many of the other phones the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola were selling to the mobile networks..."

    Define good: less functionality for sure, but the user interface, easy of use, quality of construction and the way the whole device just flowed was bordering on the magical at the time, compared to the crud the existing incumbents thought was acceptable. Do you remember just how bad Windows CE was?

    Everyone's well and truly caught up now, and some have definitely surpassed Apple; and Apple under Tim Cook no longer has that single-minded vision needed for true greatness. Tim Cook would make a fine COO, but he isn't CEO material, and it shows.

    As a long term iOS user, I'm sadly watching it get worse and worse with each software release due to sloppy bolt-ons (the new lock screen and everything that resides on it), ill-thought out UI design (the Music and Maps apps are now beyond terrible for example) and poor quality, buggy coding (everywhere). But the first iPhone was a revolutionary game-changer and it is disingenuous, mean spirited and short-sighted to write otherwise.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: I'll bite

      "As a long term iOS user, I'm sadly watching it get worse and worse with each software release due to sloppy bolt-ons (the new lock screen and everything that resides on it)"

      As a very short term IOS users I find it astounding that I can't disable the camera on the lock screen. My sturdy Lumia finally had a one knock too many but I could disallow camera on the lock screen there. (not to mention I found the Windows 8 UI way better)

      "But the first iPhone was a revolutionary game-changer and it is disingenuous, mean spirited and short-sighted to write otherwise."

      I agree.

      If also add that before the iPhone there were fanboys for all phone platforms but the iPhone was the first one with loudly illogical fanboys with the RDF symptoms. :-)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know someone who is Mr Apple has had an iPhone since virtually day one, never owned a PC, bids for Apple stuff (merchandise and the such like) on fleabay etc. Even he has admitted that the iPhone is a nice portable network connected computer with phone functionality attached for good measure but that seemed like an afterthought.

  19. juice Silver badge

    Apple may not have invented the smartphone...

    But they pretty much set the mold by taking the existing technology and infrastructure of the iPod, adding a highly polished and well designed UI, and then integrating everything with network-agnostic functionality.

    Back when the iPhone first launched, people were still thinking of smart phones as miniaturised computers - or at best, an upgraded PDA - and designed the UI and software accordingly. So, apps had scroll-bars which needed to be physically clicked and dragged with pixel-perfect precision, which was generally only feasible if you had a stylus or sharp fingernails. It' was all clunky and clumsy, especially since many devices still used single-touch resistive touch-screens and often sacrificed screen-size in favour of an awkwardly small physical keyboard.

    Conversely, Apple ditched the physical keyboard and built the UI from the ground up to use capacitive multi-touch, with little bits of auto-assist technology built in everywhere. And to quote the old Apple Marketing slogan, It Just Worked - as long as you were happy with the functionality Apple was willing to give you.

    Then too, Apple had some other advantages: the iPhone used the same connector as their iPod line. This meant that there was already a reasonably large third-party ecosystem out there (e.g. powered speakers, recharging docks) and the cost of buying replacement cables, etc was low. Also, you could share cables/battery packs/etc between your devices and you could charge via USB. And if you did want to use your iPhone for music, it had a 3.5mm headphone jack, unlike most other mobile phones at the time, which would at best have a 2.5mm jack for a mono earpiece

    (And yes, there's an irony there, given that Apple has now ditched the 3.5mm jack. And to be fair, manufacturers like Nokia and Sony-Ericsson had fairly standardised power connectors, but these didn't transmit audio and they only sold cabled wall-warts, so if you did want to recharge via USB, you had to track down third-party cables, sometimes of highly dubious quality)

    Finally, for all that iTunes is looking very long in the tooth these days, at the time, it was leagues ahead of the garbage supplied by other major manufacturers at the time (Sony, Nokia, etc), which were often unstable/buggy or hamstrung by politics. Sony in particular were bad for this, presumably because the media division ranked higher than the hardware division; the minidisk in particular was one technology which could have made a much bigger impact if they hadn't been locked it down so much to try and prevent music copying.

    The use of iTunes also had a further impact, in that it provided a standardised and relatively simple way to push software updates to an iPhone, improving performance, stability and features. This was something other manufacturers simply couldn't begin to do, thanks in no small part to the fact that there was often network-specific elements embedded in the OS.

    And iTunes also had a further, unexpected benefit, in that it offered a way for people to easily download - and pay for - new applications to their phone. Everything I've seen/read/remembered suggests that Apple initially failed to realise the significance of this, despite the fact that even basic games like Nokia's Snake had become a part of popular culture. Still, in time, iTune apps actually became a major driver of iPhone sales, thanks to effectively-exclusive titles such as Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump.

    Mind you, for all that I admire and recognise the impacts of the iPhone, I've never actually owned one: they've always been too expensive, especially if you wanted extra storage and by the time I could justify buying one, Android phones were giving better bang for the buck, as well as offering far more flexibility - varied screen sizes, expandable storage, replacable batteries, widgets, etc.

  20. Gareth Gouldstone
    FAIL

    Remember this...?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/23/iphone_will_fail/page2.html

  21. Peter 39

    SOZ, El Reg. Fanbois didn't claim that

    No-one said that Apple invented the "smartphone". Maybe the "smarterphone" but we quibble.

    But Apple most certainly DID invent the "smartphone industry" and promptly took all the money.

    SOZ, Samsung, HTC. Nokia, Microsoft. Oh, and Blackberry. I almost forgot :)

  22. RobTub

    Smart?

    Somehow a phone becomes smart when it has internet browser and email. A phone should only be called smart if it is very easy to use even to those new to the device. It must also anticipate user's actions, and know beforehand what a user is trying to do. Apple devices have the uncanny ability to do that. In comparison, all the other devices were positively dumb. I should know - I used almost all good phones through the years, Oki, Moto, Ericsson, Sony, Nokia, BB, etc. Add to that PDAs such as Palm, Treo, and others. When I opened my first iPhone and started using it, I knew the real deal has arrived.

  23. 2Fat2Bald

    Apple definitely weren't the first Smartphone - although I think there is a perception that they were amongst a significant proportion of the population. Certainly I had a SonyEricson P800 many years before the iPhone made smartphones popular. People used to be curious about it and think it was cool that it could run games and pick up email and so on.

    I think what Apple did do it make the Smartphone mass-market and cool.

  24. Glenn Hall

    Surprising perhaps not to mention Nokia here. Nokia produced a number of 'smart phones', experimented at a large scale with some success in different shapes and formats (N-Gage) and also made subsatntial technical moves. The Nokia 7710 ( any collector who wants one, I have a couple) added a new capability, Visual Radio, and, as an early (smart) Symbian platform, had a big screen (sideways, a first) (apart from the Communicator) and a decent FM radio (as long as the supplied ear phones (well before the Apple ear buds, and white) were used. It failed though, as ironically it's poor sound internals were not up to the job.

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  27. GranvilleA

    Except that all your "analyses" are moronic.

    Apple never claimed to have invented the Smart Phone just refined it to the point that their design became ubiquitous and smart phones actually became mainstream rather than a niche product. AT&T (and Verizon and all other carriers for that matter) realized that Apple had completely changed the game and their phones drove subscriptions to Carrier Voice and Data to such an extent that every carrier had to agree to Apple's terms and conditions.

    Then virtually every manufacturer of mobile phones copied the form factor, touch screen design, and virtually every other factor in the design of the iPhone including Android's copying of the Look and Feel of the Apple Operating System. As any fair look at the recent history of cellular smart phone sales, the Apple form factor, look and feel, etc. and copies of it by Android phones has effectively won the marketplace. Alternative form factors, look and feel, etc. such as is represented by for example the BlackBerry mechanical thumb keyboard or other non-touch screen designs have been virtually completely replaced by the Apple inspired design.

    To act as if Apple somehow magically forced the cellular carriers to simply hand over the bulk of their profits without acknowledging that this was an earned bargaining position based on consumer demand for the iPhone is not just an inaccurate reading of recent history, but in fact is such a ludicrous position to take that it requires the reader to completely abandon logic to adopt it. To assume that simply by wishing it Apple was able to get hard nosed executives running the major carriers to enter into contracts with Apple that basically gave away their profits to one of many cell phone providers which was offering an "inferior" product. We all of course have seen that the major carriers regularly give away their profits (Not). With all the basic premises of the story being demonstrably false it is easy to see why the conclusions the author has torturously tried to conjure likewise have no bass in fact nor logic.

    Instead, the facts are Apple with it's design of the iPhone basically created the mass market for Smart Phones and through the continuing refinement of both the product and its operating system along with the development of the App market and its wise management of such market has earned the bulk of the profits in the entire cell phone industry. The survivors of the market have basically adopted copy-cat products based on a copy-cat operating system or alternatively they have either fallen out of the market or become so marginalized that they barely survive as niche players.

    And consumers were far better off for it, Unlimited Data Plans (Which Apple required from AT&T for their USA exclusive), better security, better build quality and better value all came with Apple's Phones. I have upgraded my iPhone to the latest, greatest and most powerful model iPhone every 2 years and I have never not at least received what I had to pay out of pocket (and most times enough to also buy whatever accessories I required as well) by selling my now off contract phone to a buyer who was thrilled to get my two year old phone.

    Value is not based on the gross price you pay buy rather on your net cost. In my case, I paid once for my first iPhone, I have paid a competitive monthly service rate, and have never needed to pay another dime beyond that for 3 additional iPhones always purchasing the latest, most powerful and full featured iPhone available with ever improving memory capacities, larger, better screens, faster and more powerful processors and constantly improving feature lists. I have enjoyed a growing App Market that makes my iPhone more valuable to me almost daily as have most Apple customers. To fail to recognize that this is the reality that led to Apple garnering the bulk of the profits in the cellular smart phone market is simply to deny reality.

  28. JBowler

    First smartphone: 1992

    The EO 440, which, I admit, was more a phablet (a la el reg), had a cellular capability; sure you could do voice. but the system was set up to also allow interactions over the cellular network via it's decimal communication system (aka you pressed numbers on the telephone, but it did it for you).

    Remember: this is BEFORE the WWW.

    So Nokia liked this, even though AT&T had big money in EO. (Technically, Nokia was investing in GO, a doomed Bay Area Company, while AT&T was investing in EO, a similarly doomed AT&T wipe-out; EO swallowed GO because AT&T said it was good to eat and then chocked to death because EO's executive in AT&T had failed to meet his targets.)

    So EO had phablets, but it also had, in development, a smartphone; the EO220, aka "Loki", (the 440 was nicknamed "Thor" and the 880, which was a big <senseid>, was nockgnomed "Odin". The 220 was pretty much everything a smartphone would be.)

    Of course Nokia got clockwise-#8'ed (though they did Sue, though the wrong people.) The Engineering Misdirector #8'ed off while accusing people of being "rats leaving the sinking ship" and became something associated with Marketing and the Newton (more his capabilities I think.)

    The intelligent people got new jobs with old companies; perhaps the most intelligent went to work with Sun, on Java. This was 1993; you have to think very carefully about where Java was then.

    And there were no more smartphones until Nokia recovered, late, from being #8'ed by AT&T, and developed the best smartphone operating system in the world, which then died. So now we are left with Dinosaurs, and this was all before the big sweaty black turtleneck presented his Product.

    That is my opinion.

  29. Oh Homer
    Headmaster

    Apple "invention"

    All so-called "invention" is unavoidably derivative to at least some degree, so in that sense Apple's claim to invention is no less credible than any other, insofar as all claims to invention are equally dubious.

    What sets Apple apart from the other carpetbaggers is the fact that it has stretched this already dubious definition to greater extremes, with "inventions" that are not only highly derivative but almost entirely aesthetic, and even those aesthetics were copied from the likes of Dieter Rams (who in turn copied the designs of Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, and so on, ad infinitum).

    Apple is not exclusively responsible for this strange and morally bankrupt "IP" culture, in which a cumulative assemblage of other people's ideas somehow qualifies as "invention" if it generates vast profits, but it is one of the most prominent players.

    Not that I have some kind of objection to progress, but it needs to be clearly defined as an accretive process in which no single person or company deserves "exclusive rights" to everyone else's historical work. In other words my objection is to fraudulent monopolisation, not the unavoidably derivative nature of art and science.

  30. cream wobbly

    Sorry, but they did.

    See, the iPhone was born of the (almost trademark infringing) iPaq. The iPaq from the Palm, the Palm from the Psions and ... a lesser-known tablet called the Newton, which was actually way better than journos said at the time. I tried one in a shop and without any effort, got a flawless demo of its handwriting recognition. I didn't have to learn special hieroglyphics or anything. But then, I can write. Journos can't.

    The same argument for Apple inventing "the smartphone" also holds true for "the tablet". The invention of the smartphone can only be attributed to other manufacturers if you ignore those manufacturers' inspiration and the phones' predecessors.

  31. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Holmes

    Why did anyone say Apple 'invented' the smartphone?

    For those who care, here are some highlights of the 'smart' phone lineage. It DOES begin with an Apple device, the Newton, whose design began in 1987. But it wasn't a phone. It was the first commercially available touch personal digital assistant or PDA. IBM followed with the Simon Personal Communicator in 1992. That was followed by Palm devices in 1996, which evolved into what were the first actual 'smart' phones. From there, diversity became the rule with a wide variety of companies following the 'smart' phone PDA path Palm had effectively pioneered. That land rush included Apple, who has now effectively owns the world's smartphone profit market share at over 90%.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Newton

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palm_OS_devices

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handspring_(company)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone

    1. Two Lips
      WTF?

      Re: Why did anyone say Apple 'invented' the smartphone?

      "For those who care, here are some highlights of the 'smart' phone lineage. It DOES begin with an Apple device, the Newton, whose design began in 1987."

      WRONG. The lineage of smart portable devices DOES NOT begin with Apple. It begins with Psion.

      Touchscreens do not define the lineage of smartphone design. Ability does.

      Psion released it's first Psion organizer in 1984. Apple didn't even begin to research the Newton until 1987, and it wasn't released until 1993. The Psion Series 3 was released in 1991, the Series 3a was out at the same time as the Newton. The Series 3a utterly trashed the Newton. I owned a Series 3 and 3a which were groundbreaking at the time. There were very few Netwons to be found anywhere, and if you eventually found one, they absolutely sucked. No wonder Jobs pulled them.

      Psion predated both Apple AND Palm chronologically and were far superior in ability. Touchscreen was not on their agenda. Psion's OS EPOC became Symbian which allowed Nokia to create it's own smartphone hardware designs long, long before an iPod or iPhone was even a glint in Jobs eye.

      Regarding the iPod, I owned an Archos French made 20GB hard drive MP3 player four full years before the first iPod. It could play 192kbps VBR MP3's up to 320kbps, better than any other device available at the time. Roll forward many iPod iterations before they got anywhere close to that capacity or quality.

      The only thing Apple genuinely brought to the table was the iPod wheel, which is now redundant.

      Apple in no way invented or perfected touchscreens. The first portable computer touchscreen was the Casio PB-1000. I used touchscreen monitors myself in the early 1982. Apple built upon other touchscreen advances, but they cannot take the credit for pioneering, or inventing it.

      It seems that Apple and their fanboi population still would have you believe that Apple invented any nifty technology which they stole or borrowed from other inventors and competitors.

      Apple's market share is now down to 12.5% from 18% a year ago. And rightly so. Hardly owning anything at the moment. More like struggling to stay relevant.

      The world has long since woken up to the failed American technological dream, and Apple's marketing department's part in it. Apple's forte was, as with many US tech companies: marketing and sales. Nothing more. The rest they beg, steal or borrow.

  32. James Howlett

    Apple "brilliant design" ?

    What, like the "brilliant design" of their Magic mouse 2 and the Apple Pencil ?

  33. Chronos Silver badge
    Stop

    Whut?

    Two models for you: Handspring Treo 270 (May 2002) and O2 XDA (June 2002). The Treo was the first colour integrated PDA/phone, preceded by the Treo 180 (Feb 2002) which was monochrome. The O2 XDA pioneered the form factor we now consider standard, albeit with resistive touch and a stylus. Apple wasn't even dabbling back then; the first iPhone appeared in 2007. It seems someone is doing more than rewriting history.

    There is a very good reason why the premier smartphone firmware development site is called xda-developers.

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