Apple's iPhone is most influential gadget ever, says TIME

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TIME Magazine named Apple's iPhone the most influential gadget of all time in a list published Tuesday, which included a variety of tech products from the likes of Sony, IBM, HP and other big-name players.




Picked by TIME editors, the "50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time" runs the gamut of tech products, from home computers to game consoles to portable electronics. A few of the companies -- and most devices -- are no longer in existence, but their impact has rippled through to industry contemporaries, some of which made it on the list themselves.

While iPhone sits in the No. 1 spot, the honor actually goes to Apple's mobile ecosystem. The device itself introduced millions to what is generally considered to be the first viable smartphone platform, but more impactful was the 2008 launch of Apple's App Store for iPhone OS (rebranded iOS in 2010).

"The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work, and complete many everyday tasks," TIME writes, adding that iPhone marked a fundamental shift in computing.

Apple's original Macintosh and iPod also made the top 10, coming in at No. 3 and No. 9, respectively. Sony scored two top-5 spots with the No. 2 Trinitron television set and No. 4 Walkman, a device on which iPod iterated. Two more Apple devices were deemed influential enough for inclusion on the list, with the iPad sitting at No. 25 and iBook at No. 38.

Coming in fifth was IBM's Model 5150, followed by the Victrola record player, Regency TR-1 transistor radio and Kodak Brownie camera. Hitachi's Magic Wand massager-cum-vibrator rounded out the top 10.

Perhaps most interesting for Apple fans are the product categories and technologies iPhone effectively rendered obsolete, had a hand in killing or assimilated as value-added functionality. For example, Palm's Pilot PDA made the list, as did the BlackBerry 6210 and Nokia's 3210 candybar cellphone. TomTom's first GPS, JVC's VideoMovie Camcorder and Motorola's Bravo pager also ranked. Apple's iOS swooped in and gobbled up a large chunk of Nintendo's portable gaming market -- represented in the list by Game Boy -- though the Japanese brand is still mostly alive.

Apple's influence can be seen elsewhere on TIME's top 50 in competing devices like Motorola's Droid, which was included for its role in popularizing Google's Android operating system. Connected devices like the Nest Learning Thermostat and Fitbit wearables also made the cut.

The list also serves as a reminder that Apple still has room to innovate. The Jerrold cable box landed in 33rd place.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    rem2xrem2x Posts: 3member
    yeah! I have to agree with this. The main reason is that Apple phones are easier to use as compared to some other phones. Even my grandmother knows how to use her iPhone 5  :D
  • Reply 2 of 34
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 3,949member
    Of course it is.

    Nothing influences the trolls & haters more than an article about Apple or the iPhone.
    kevin keecali
  • Reply 3 of 34

    Hitachi's Magic Wand massager-cum-vibrator rounded out the top 10.

    Umm, perhaps this could have been re-worded a little differently?  :o
    ration albaconstangfotoformatkibitzerlarryaAirunJaestevehmoreckjony0
  • Reply 4 of 34
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    I agree with this!

    If not for the iPhone, then ALL smartphones would be very different today. They would look, feel and function very differently.

    Anybody who uses any type of smartphone today should thank Apple and Steve Jobs every single time that they pick up their phone. 

    The iPhone changed the game. The iPhone changed the world. Nuff said.

    edited May 2016 calilolliverjony0
  • Reply 5 of 34
    digital_guydigital_guy Posts: 143member
    Actually think the App Store's introduction in 2008, finally opening the doors for a mobile application marketplace to a mass audience, was the real genius of the iPhone. Think of it akin to the introduction of an early calculator with only buttons for 0-9 and a 'clear' button, then someone having the idea of not only adding functions for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, but also opening a market for 3rd parties to add whatever functions they could imagine themselves. Much like the iTunes store for music proved what was capable with the iPod with its launch in April, 2003, the iPhone's true capabilities came to fruition the day the App Store was launched in July, 2008.

    P.S.
    Anyone remember 'Software Dispatch'?  :)
    edited May 2016 cali
  • Reply 6 of 34
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 946member
    It has to be the most influential. Look at all the isheep and mindless Apple supporters who would buy a piece of turd if it had an Apple logo on it.
    It is indeed influential, just look at the abundance of Apple haters and Apple trolls even here in Apple forum. There wouldn't be so much negative reactions if there were no positive to balance with. Law of Equilibrium.
    nolamacguycalibaconstanglolliverAirunJaestevehjony0
  • Reply 7 of 34
    rcfarcfa Posts: 746member
    Well, the iPhone was the first to put things together and have a real OS; but Palm devices were conceptionally not that far off (except for having a shitty OS made for low power devices, rather than a general purpose OS brought from the top down (nobody wins trying to grow a turd, you can win paring down a diamond).

    mobile apps, no physical keyboard, etc.

    Apple brought a decent OS, replaced the stylus with the finger (which in terms of input speed was a step backwards, but made it more approachable), nicer graphics thanks to a better display.

    So, not saying Apple didn't create a key leap in this game, but it was fruit ripe for the taking, and someone would have sooner or later: Blackberry and its imitators wasn't the only game in town.
    edited May 2016 dasanman69
  • Reply 8 of 34
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I consider iPhone the greatest invention of all time. Yes I'm including the wheel.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    koopkoop Posts: 337member
    I'm not an apple fanboy, and I don't own an iPhone, but you have to be living in serious denial if you don't credit the iPhone for modern day touch based computers. Everything from Android to Windows 10 is because of the iPhone. The Nintendo Wii U is because of the iPhone. And it's not just products, but paradigms like digital music, mobile gaming, app ecosystems and controlling your lights at home. Asking your phone stupid questions and getting answers. 

    Mobile first computing and today's smartphone is so powerful and can do so much, and it's changed everyone's lives. iPhone could literally just take spot 1 thru 5 because it's just that important.

    The argument to me isn't if the original iPhone changed everything (it did duh), but is it doing enough against Google and other companies to stay a world class technology company that changes how we use technology? 3D Touch and Apple Watch didn't reinvent the wheel so lets see what iPhone 7 is like. I just don't feel the culture of innovation at Apple like I did when Steve was around.
    6Sgoldfishjony0
  • Reply 10 of 34
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,573member
    koop said:
    I'm not an apple fanboy, and I don't own an iPhone, but you have to be living in serious denial if you don't credit the iPhone for modern day touch based computers. Everything from Android to Windows 10 is because of the iPhone. The Nintendo Wii U is because of the iPhone. And it's not just products, but paradigms like digital music, mobile gaming, app ecosystems and controlling your lights at home. Asking your phone stupid questions and getting answers. 

    Mobile first computing and today's smartphone is so powerful and can do so much, and it's changed everyone's lives. iPhone could literally just take spot 1 thru 5 because it's just that important.

    The argument to me isn't if the original iPhone changed everything (it did duh), but is it doing enough against Google and other companies to stay a world class technology company that changes how we use technology? 3D Touch and Apple Watch didn't reinvent the wheel so lets see what iPhone 7 is like. I just don't feel the culture of innovation at Apple like I did when Steve was around.
    Apple hasn't changed, you get a landmark launch then years of product refinement and reiterations. Mac, iPod, iPhone (include iPod Touch and iPad), Watch  next??  Car?

    Also moving to annual OS updates from biennial updates means that there is less 'new shiny shiny' in each OS launch to show
    edited May 2016 lollivertmayjony0
  • Reply 11 of 34
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,505member

    I would add to the list the Apple ][ -- the first really  personal computer!

    pscooter63stevehjony0
  • Reply 12 of 34
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    Time is easily in my top 1,000 most influential websites ;-)
  • Reply 13 of 34
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,894member
    The iPhone is irrefuttably and undeniably the archetype for every smartphone that has been built since Apple released the iPhone to the world. This has been a great thing for Apple but it has also been a great challenge for Apple because of their desire to retain exclusivity around its design, form, and function. I completely understand why Apple wanted to lock it down and they absolutely deserved to be highly compensated for their innovation, efforts, and risks. Unfortunately, once the iPhone was released to the world the rational and business case for any of Apple's competitors to release anything other than an iPhone clone was impossible. To remain in the game they had to copy the iPhone because the iPhone defined a new era of smartphones. There is a very clear and distinct demarcation between pre-iPhone and post-iPhone smartphone designs. 

    The iPhone is the HMS Dreadnought of smartphone design. In exactly that same way that the HMS Dreadnought forever changed how battleships would be designed and functionally outfitted the iPhone forever changed how smartphones would be designed, outfitted, and function. Once the HMS Dreadnought was released it was totally impractical and senseless that any new battleship design would revert to pre-Dreadnought design concepts as they were no longer viable or competitive. As much as we despise some of the cloners - they only had the choice between copying the iPhone or exiting the market. Since the remaining ones all chose to copy they should have provided some sort of financial compensation to Apple for their decision to copy. But it does raise the question of whether there needs to be some sort of special dispensation in the marketplace to handle Dreadnought situations since they really are so few and far between. Is it ever in the best interests of consumers and society to force competitors to build suboptimal products? I don't think so, but the inventors and innovators should still be fairly compensated, perhaps under a FRAND model of some sort.

    Since we're looking at this from a historical perspective you also need to consider that despite the HMS Dreadnought setting the stage for every battleship designed built subsequent to its release the entire class of battleships was rendered obsolete and strategically irrelevant by naval air power and the advent of the aircraft carrier. This situation and establishment of an undeniable  archetype is therefore never a permanently rewarding one. It may last for years or decades but no matter how iconic and perfectly fit to its purpose it may appear, to the point of forcing others to copy, - it too will ultimately be replaced by something newer and different around a new archetype. A new Dreadnought will arise and Apple is only one of many companies that has an opportunity to define what the next platform will be. Whomever emerges as the winner will be faced with the same rewards and challenges Apple encountered with the iPhone. 


    larryawaverboyjony0
  • Reply 14 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    sog35 said:
    This is why Apple needs to bring iOS to Mac.

    iOS is flatout just the superior platform compared to OSX.
    Just curious is this new oft' repeated comment the new 'replace the CEO' from you?  :)

    Actually regarding iOS on a Mac, I'd have though it would be easy enough to have windowed experience of iOS within OS X at the very least.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member


    I would add to the list the Apple ][ -- the first really  personal computer!

    Seconded.  The Apple ][ changed everything and paved the way for all else.  (That and the wheel.) ;)
  • Reply 16 of 34
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,626member
    rcfa said:


    So, not saying Apple didn't create a key leap in this game, but it was fruit ripe for the taking, and someone would have sooner or later: Blackberry and its imitators wasn't the only game in town.
    You can probably say that about every invention. If so and so didn't invent it someone else would sooner or later. 

    Thing is no one did it before Apple or any other inventor. 
  • Reply 17 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    sog35 said:
    This is why Apple needs to bring iOS to Mac.

    iOS is flatout just the superior platform compared to OSX.
    Just curious is this new oft' repeated comment the new 'replace the CEO' from you?  :)

    Actually regarding iOS on a Mac, I'd have though it would be easy enough to have windowed experience of iOS within OS X at the very least.
    I wouldn't be shocked if Apple made it possible to run a windowed version of iOS on your Mac at some point, perhaps sooner rather than later. I can see use cases. FWIW you (well maybe not you personally o:)  ) can run Android on a Windows computer and even some Macs. Load Remix, a version of Android built for the desktop, to a flash drive and boot directly from it. 
  • Reply 18 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    gatorguy said:
    Just curious is this new oft' repeated comment the new 'replace the CEO' from you?  

    Actually regarding iOS on a Mac, I'd have though it would be easy enough to have windowed experience of iOS within OS X at the very least.
    I wouldn't be shocked if Apple made it possible to run a windowed version of iOS on your Mac at some point, perhaps sooner rather than later. I can see use cases. FWIW you (well maybe not you personally o  ) can run Android on a Windows computer and even some Macs. Load Remix, a version of Android built for the desktop, to a flash drive and boot directly from it. 
    It's doable now for developers.   Apple would just have to open the emulator up to be able to access all the ports on the Mac the App store fully as opposed to sand boxing it for devs only.  Actually Parallels or VMWare might be a better option if they were allowed to by Apple.  I'd think it would be a great idea if games worked well.  It wouldn't stop  any iDevice sales I'm sure.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 19 of 34
    larryalarrya Posts: 535member
    This really cannot be overstated. I had "smartphones" prior to iPhone, and although certain components were present then that we use today, the mobile experience was an afterthought that didn't bring much more than email to the party.  Even before the App Store iPhone was revolutionary in its intuitiveness, usability and usefulness.  
    jony0
  • Reply 20 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,608member
    koop said:

    The argument to me isn't if the original iPhone changed everything (it did duh), but is it doing enough against Google and other companies to stay a world class technology company that changes how we use technology? 3D Touch and Apple Watch didn't reinvent the wheel so lets see what iPhone 7 is like. I just don't feel the culture of innovation at Apple like I did when Steve was around.

    The problem with your comment and others like you is that you have no answers. You say Apple must change how we use technology but you offer no suggestions. Instead you trash innovations like 3D Touch and the Watch as meaningless iterations. What exactly is the “culture of innovation” you want to see? What are other companies doing what you say Apple is no longer doing? For example, take the Amazon Echo gadget that all the techies are drooling over. Has it changed the way we use technology? Or has it simply improved on technology that actually did change the way we use technology, like Siri? I would argue the latter. Who did something first is irrelevant. It’s who did that something in a way that caused people to change. The iHaters like to babble on about how the iPhone was not the first smartphone, the iPad was not the first tablet, the iPod was not the first music player, the Apple ][ was not the first personal computer, the Macintosh was not the first GUI based computer, etc. But all of those products caused a sea change in how people used technology in ways the “first” products could not even approach. Even Google admitted that it had to “start over” with Android when they saw the iPhone.
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