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The iPhone Remade Apple 10 Years Ago. Now It’s Slowing Apple Down

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The very first iPhone, announced ten years ago today, was not exactly a surprise. By early 2007, Apple fanboyism was rampant and rabid. In the run-up to Steve Jobs’ now famous Macworld keynote, blogs—remember those?—were all abuzz. Sites like Gizmodo and Engadget feverishly published rumors of the as-yet-unnamed phone’s specs and obsessed over every possible detail. Apple fans mocked up concept illustrations. It was almost anticlimactic that early January day when Jobs finally got up onstage and, with a wave of his hand, changed the idea of mobile phones—and personal computing—forever.

Almost. For a product everyone knew was coming out, the crowd in that darkened auditorium looked elated. “We’re introducing three revolutionary products—an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator,” proclaimed Jobs, ever the showman. Icons for each spun around in a giant Keynote presentation behind him. “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. It’s one device. We are calling it iPhone.” The crowd roared, as if Jobs had scored a touchdown.

Watching an old Apple keynote is a strange exercise. Yes, it’s a stark reminder of tech’s hype machine. At the same time, it’s a throwback to simpler time in tech when people could truly feel anticipation, a more innocent excitement about getting a peek at the next shiny thing that could truly change the future. Today, there’s lots in tech to be cynical about. But the iPhone holds up—at least for the people using them.

At the end of 2006, Apple was a $70 billion company. Little more than seven years later, its value had grown more than tenfold. Its record $18 billion profit in the third quarter of January 2014 is still a corporate record. Apple’s retail stores pull in more profit per square foot compared to any other company in the US—including luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. The reason for this massive, universe-altering success? The iPhone, which famously accounts for two-thirds of Apple’s revenue.

Now Apple is facing a turning point, and once again the iPhone is the reason—but not in a good way this time around. The smartphone market is saturated. Rivals, especially Google, are building hardware that truly rivals the iPhone. After 10 years, the iPhone can no longer serve as Apple’s growth engine. The company now faces the same challenge it did a decade ago: figuring out what’s next.

Building Momentum

It wasn’t like Apple introduced a brand-new class of gadget. A vibrant mobile phone market already did exist. Smartphones— then-premium devices that could make calls, send emails, and browse the internet—were still nascent. But it was already crowded with brands like Nokia, BlackBerry, Motorola, and Palm.

Into this competitive field, Apple launched the iPhone. Tech pundits and mainstream outlets both gave it glowing reviews, admiring the keyboard-less multitouch functionality and its ability to sync easily with iTunes. But others laughed it off as a niche product that had come to market far too late and which was far too expensive to go mainstream. “Talk … all I’m hearing is talk,”

Read More At:  https://www.wired.com/2017/01/iphone-remade-apple-10-years-ago-now-slowing-apple/

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