The first iPhone, it really did change everything
iPhone. Nearly every single person in the civilized world knows of this name, as it has become a household name in such a short amount of time. Apple are brilliant marketers, and the iPhone has reached such meteoric heights that it has almost single-handedly destroyed most well-established smartphone makers.
Before the iPhone, we had huge companies such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and many others who had hugely famous devices, but no other consumer device has made such an impact on the industry as the iPhone.
For what started out as such a basic device compared to what the iPhone is today, it has changed not just Apple completely, but the entire technology industry. People can deny this fact, but if you really sat down and thought about it, it is completely undeniable.
Before the iPhone, touchscreen phones were just toys - the iPhone came along and made touchscreens a reality. Now, nearly every single smartphone sports a touchscreen. Before the iPhone, the user interface was a jumbled mess between phones - now UIs are beautiful and carefully thought out.
I could sit here and write 'before the iPhone' for virtually everything - as it really did change everything we knew about technology. From touchscreens, to mobile operating systems, to App Stores, analysts' expectations of the industry, upstream and downstream suppliers, accessory makers, it created entire new industries and markets - the iPhone really did revolutionize the technology industry.
We've seen the absolutely mammoth growth of consumer technology devices in this time, the creation and domination of social networking sites Facebook and Twitter and their continued dominance on the mobile space, with Facebook only reporting last week that they had over one billion monthly active users. A large amount of these are on mobile. Billions of apps are being downloaded per year through various app stores, virtually all businesses creating apps, and so forth. Go out to dinner and ask every person at every table what their life was like pre-iPhone and post-iPhone, as it's the same as asking pre mobile Internet and post-mobile Internet. The iPhone made nearly everyone want a smartphone in their hands - a power that nearly no other company has ever been able command.
Not even Microsoft can say they had this power, as desktop PCs were quite expensive when they were first introduced. Smartphones can be thrown onto a two-year contract, making them quite a lucrative market for even middle-class families, or lower.
Since the original iPhone, we've seen five more generations - the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S and now the latest, iPhone 5. The biggest changes seen in the devices were with the iPhone 3G and 4, with the 3GS and 4S were just subtle changes - but the new iPhone 5 has been built from the ground up, and represents a culmination of everything Apple has learnt from all of the previous iPhone's.
But, how much further can Apple get? Have they reached the end of their unstoppable journey? I think so, and I'll explain why I think that we're going to see the fall of not only Apple's empire, but a huge dark period for the technology industry.
The market and Apple' s performance so far
Apple are one of the most valuable companies in the world - valued at (the time of writing) 619.92 billion dollars. This is just mind boggling. Most of its success, profits, and thus, market cap, are all thanks to the iPhone. We could thank the iPod for starting all of this, but it was the iPhone that really drove Apple into the hands of the young, the teens, the hipsters, business users, and our grandparents.
The problem is, Apple have become a cult-like company, not just in products, but in its ability to constantly drive up higher priced shares. People feel safe investing their money into Apple, because they have just continued to rise and rise on the stock market ladder.
Apple's shares hit a record high on September 21 - the day the iPhone 5 was released. The iPhone 5 has been out for close to two weeks now, and those share prices are now floating back down. On September 21, they reached just over $700 per share, and now we're looking at $661 per share. This isn't a huge jump, but it's close to 10%, and for a company that just launched their biggest product yet, it's not a sign of confidence.
If we take a look at Apple's stock from when the first iPhone was released, we were looking at $123 per share, by the end of 2007, those shares were worth $199. Apple was onto something, and while we may not have all known it at the time, but it was happening anyway.
On July 11, Apple released the iPhone's successor, the iPhone 3G. At the time, Apple stock was trading at $172 per share. But, its shares didn't spike up at all, they gradually fell and hit their lowest point in January 2009, of $82 per share.
Since then, Apple shares have been invincible. There's no other word - they haven't dropped to anywhere near that 2009 level and they've gone from $82 per share, to their record high of $700 per share. This is absolutely astonishing.
On June 13, the iPhone 3GS was released - where Apple shares traded at $139 per share. By the time the iPhone 4 rolled around, shares were hitting $266 per share. This was Apple enjoying the ride, and it doesn't stop there. The iPhone 4 was the phone that really solidified Apple as the power player in the market, and by the time the iPhone 4S dropped in October of 2011, Apple shares were trading at $422 per share.
I'm sure people were thinking that it can't get much better than that at the time, but we all know that it did. Between October 2011, and September 2012, Apple's shares continued to expand, rapidly. From $422 to the record high of $700 to be exact. This is where the problems start.