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

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!

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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".

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

Have people forgotten how to read?

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>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.

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Anonymous Coward

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

Two different clickbaitish articles.

Next: IoT sucks! IoT rules!

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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.

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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....

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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.

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Headmaster

"the iPhone still currently dominates"

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

Jobs' reality distortion field lives on.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?!"

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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.

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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.

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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? :-)

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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.

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LDS
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'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...

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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?

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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

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Re: smartphone = iphone

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"The iPhone dominates."

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

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Trollface

Re: "The iPhone dominates."

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Re: "The iPhone dominates."

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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When apple release an iOS update everyone gets it.

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

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It also allows Apple to bork older models...

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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.

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