The king of smartphones

John C. Tanner
17 May 2010

Most Disruptive Technology

The iPhone by Apple Corp

Last Year (Best New Technology):App Store

Three years after its commercial launch in the US, Apple's iPhone remains a force of nature, as much for the App Store ecosystem that sits behind it as the device itself.

Start with the numbers. Three years ago, Apple wasn't even in the handset business. By Q3 2009, the iPhone commanded 18% of the global smartphone market, according to Canalys, making it the third-biggest smartphone player in the world behind Nokia and RIM.

And by all indications, that's only going to get bigger - Apple's Q2 results ending March 31 reported a 131% year-over-year growth in iPhone sales and a 124% jump in revenue, thanks to international sales, especially in China. Little wonder financial analyst firm Trefis predicts that Apple could bump RIM down a notch in the smartphone rankings by this time next year.

But it's fair to add that the iPhone would be nothing without the App Store, which indeed exists mainly to sell iPhones. The App Store single-handedly transformed the relationship between apps developers, device makers and cellcos, and has since been copied by just about everyone to the point that it's almost impossible to sell a smartphone without a storefront to go with it. Even Apple's increasingly controversial content policies haven't dampened developer enthusiasm much - a recent Ovum survey ranked the iPhone as the most popular platform for developers.


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