Re: Factual? Fictional? Factitious? F___!
I think some of the people here doth protest too much, and have forgotten the dark days of what smartphones/feature phones were actually like before the iPhone. I owned lots of semi-smart phones including Blackberry, the Sony Ericsson P series (all of them) and the dreaded windows phone and the first iPhone WAS a revolution regardless of whether the hardware was 'off the shelf' or not or whether parts of its implementation were already on the market. Email is the only smart function I can think of that was done near to correctly on a Blackberry and nothing else. Everything else was a wildly compromised experience, buggy and unreliable.
The fact that the iPhone was a game changer should be blindingly obvious to all but the most pig-headed individual the first time they swiped to unlock or the first time they used the keyboard. Using it in public would draw a crowd, and you never got that with the SE P990.
The capcitative screen and GPU was key as the experience was real-time, not laggy and butter smooth. The other standard sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscope, camera, proximity etc, and crucially the ability for it to play accelerated video and browse the web in near full fidelity, the update system, it was all revolutionary because it was done right in a way that non computer science grads could understand it and it was inherently tied to Apple's OSX software experience. Before the iphone things like Hardware design polish and software stability/usability were barely an afterthought. After the iPhone they are everything. The App Store then caused another revolution and all of this made what we now understand by the term tablet possible with the release of the iPad. Before the iPad, tablet pc's were a completely dead segment of the market, lest you forget.
I can see where the author is going with the VR comparison as the sensors on drones and VR are pretty much the same as on smartphones, and the collection of technology in the iPhone is what all current smartphones are based on, whether you like it or not.
Would we be here without the iPhone? I highly doubt it. If you remember how long it took for other manufacturers (Nokia, MS) to even take the iPhone seriously as a competitor, and then the different iterations ("this one's an iPhone killer") when they cocked it up, through to when they exited the market (Blackberry, Nokia, Microsoft) The ones which are left in the market, with a couple of exceptions (Samsung Edge) ape the iPhone design so closely that from some angles they look like iPhones, (Xiaomi, Google Pixel, One Plus) and if you don't call that influential, I'm not sure what you do.