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Is the iPhone the Most "Disruptive" Technology Launch Ever!

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Morgan Stanley recently released a 424-page report calling the iPhone the most disruptive technology event ever!  They foresee the mobile internet as growing to twice the size of the desktop internet, and say that one of the ways Apple changed everything was by creating the first centralized storefront for applications.  So do you agree, is the iPhone the most disruptive technology launch in history?

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  • The iPhone has certainly made a big impact on my habits, but I think what's disruptive is bringing the Web to the handset, which someone was going to do sooner or later, so it's not specifically the iPhone that's disruptive.

    What Apple did so well - and is probably unique - is the work that it put into making the user interface so intuitive, especially the way it exploited technologies like the touch screen and the accelerometer. That turned the iPhone from just another device into something that has been really groundbreaking.

  • The introduction of the iPhone is definitely a milestone event in the evolution of computing. It drmatically changed the IT world and legitimized smartphones, similar to how the introduction of the IBM PC legitimized micro-computers. However to say that the iPhone is the most disruptive technology event ever would be an exaggeration. I can think of many other technologies that have been far more disruptive, for example TCP/IP, the semiconductor and HTML. Without these technologies there would have been no iPhone!

  • Disruptive? Yes, iPhone made mobile web accessible to the masses... it made mobile web consumable... it made mobile web useful and sticky via applications.

    The MOST disruptive? No.

  • I am not sure either if it is really the 'most' destructive technology launch 'ever'. Too many qualifiers there really :)

    But if you recall, for over a decade we have been talking about convergence of devices - and I think the iPhone has finally made that happen. Not really for being the first to do it, but for doing it so well that it has changed our habits - just as Phil said it. It has brought into our lives a rather seamless digital continuity.

    The true power of the iPhone though is really its ability to influence design and delivery of digital content.

  • I agree that mobile internet will change some habits. But why iPhone? maybe at the personal level it is a revolution, but I think that the first telephone was more disruptive or the car or elctricity or ....

  • I agree, most disruptive ever is a pretty big claim. If it is compared to others throughout history you would have to judge it against the light bulb, AC current, 24 hour satellite news, the telephone, as well as the general internet fueled by TCP/IP as Rashid mentions, above. As a technology, the larger internet is far more disruptive. But there was no launch of the internet like there was the iPhone that day in June 2007.

    As a single, point in time product release it ranks pretty highly. Other than the reasons already posted it cut across a number of industries including entertainment and music. So its disruption was not felt by one specific industry alone.

    Difficult to single it out as the "most" though. It's got tough competition. But to be considered in this dialog is pretty impressive.

  • Well it looks like we all agree that the iPhone is far from the most disruptive technology of all time.

    I will say that based on this report, if Morgan is your broker, you may want to switch. The 'prognostication' that the mobile Internet will exceed the desktop Internet is no shocker either. Of course this has been forecast for many years, but the years at the bottom of the graph has kept changing. But what's at the core of the reason for the growth of mobile is that mobile devices are in the hands of many more people than have tethered access and the emergence of 3G and 4G networks, standards for delivering mobile content like WAP and WML, and ever more powerful devices is what's causing the leap, not any individual device.

    I do agree however that the app store, built on the back of iTunes -- and the ease of building applications, is probably the biggest reason for the iPhone's success and adoption by so many.

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