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PR and marketing people tend to exaggerate, some might even say it’s part of the job description. Phrases such as “disruptive”, “revolution” or “unique” are often used in a quite inflationary kind of way.

But what happened on 9th January 2007 was truly unique – it marked a genuine revolution that would prove to be disruptive change across various industrial segments: Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at the Macworld conference in San Francisco with the famous words “today, Apple is reinventing the phone.” He spoke of a “revolutionary device that will change everything.” And he was right.

The iPhone changed our daily lives fundamentally. It changed the way we work, the way we communicate and the way we consume content. It marked the start of the mobile internet revolution.

And it meant a tectonic shift for the entire IT & tech industry. For many market-leading companies, the launch of the iPhone was the beginning of the end. Big name mobile phone brands lost their dominating position in the consumer cellphone market, BlackBerry lost its de-facto monopoly in the field of mobile business communication and it marked the end of PDAs, dominated by Palm. The new smartphone era also saw the end of MP3 players, navigation devices and pocket digital cameras.

However, the success story of the iPhone has also created new markets and business models. It has enabled a multitude of new industries and has had a profound impact on many industries. Here are some areas that have been directly or indirectly influenced by the smartphone:

  • Mobility: With the success of the iPhone, the internet has evolved from desktop to mobile devices. This has empowered users to access information, entertainment, and communication from anywhere and stay connected.
  • Software development / mobile apps: The new concept of software development & distribution has allowed developers to easily create and distribute mobile applications to a global audience, leading to the establishment of an entire industry for mobile applications.
  • Mobile E-Commerce: The widespread use of smartphones has made it easier for consumers to shop online, revolutionising the online retail industry from online business to mobile business.
  • Cloud Computing: With the success of smartphones, users can access and synchronise their data from anywhere, accelerating the adoption of cloud computing.
  • Social Media: The widespread adoption of smartphones has enabled social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to reach a large audience and play a major role in how people communicate and share information. The ease of access and convenience provided by smartphones has been a key factor in the success of these platforms.
  • Fintech: The smartphone has allowed banks and financial institutions to extend their services to mobile devices, driving the fintech industry. And devices such as the iPhone replaced traditional payment solutions and introduced the concept of mobile payments to the market.

But no hype lasts forever. With Steve Jobs’ death, Apple has lost much of its magic. It will be interesting to see what the next 25 years holds and whether Apple still has it in it to create the next wave of innovation.

Rafael Rahn

Rafael is Managing Partner at The RUESS GROUP, one of Liberty's partner agencies in Germany

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