The First Trillion Dollars is Always the Hardest

In its first 10 years, the iPhone will have sold at least 1.2 billion units,[1] making it the most successful product of all time. The iPhone also enabled the iOS empire which includes the iPod touch, the iPad, the Apple Watch and Apple TV whose combined total unit sales will reach 1.75 billion units over 10 years. This total is likely to top 2 billion units by the end of 2018.

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 10.15.00 PM

The revenues from iOS product sales will reach $980 billion by middle of this year. In addition to hardware Apple also books iOS services revenues (including content) which have totaled more than $100 billion to date.

This means that iOS will have generated over $1 trillion in revenues for Apple sometime this year.

In addition, developers building apps for iOS have been paid $60 billion. The rate of payments has now reached $20 billion/yr.


Not included in this payment total are “mobile-first” or “mobile mainly” businesses such as FaceBook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tencent, YouTube, Yahoo, NetEase, Pandora Radio, Google Search, Baidu, Google Maps, Gmail, Instagram, Amazon, eBay,, Alibaba, Priceline, Expedia, Salesforce and Other Enterprise Software, Ride Sharing Apps, AirBnB and many other services which monetize independently of the App Store.

I estimate that the cumulative revenues enabled by iOS across these businesses have exceeded $500 billion, with a rate of revenue soon to reach $300 billion/yr.

The revenue numbers can only hint at the change in behavior among users. An iPhone is unlocked 80 times a day. Assuming 600 million devices in use there are 48 billion sessions on iPhones every day. 17.5 trillion sessions every year. It is these instances of interaction and engagement which are desired by all businesses built on top of the ecosystem.

These instances of engagement must be multiplied by the quality of the customers which Apple captures. iOS users spend more and are more loyal than those on alternative platform thus qualifying the platform as “premium” and thus adding to its value in the eyes of developers, content producers and service providers.

As the install base of iOS increases and as users hire the devices to do more and spend more time with them the virtuous cycle of value creation will continue and accelerate.

There is a temptation to think that such a business is fragile and will be disrupted. Challengers appear daily and the number of iPhone “killers” is not measurable. One can cite the billion users of Nokia phones which defected. One can cite the loyalty of BlackBerry users that evaporated. One can even cite the juggernaut of Windows and how it became impotent. One can cite the vast number of Android devices offered at low prices.

But there are reasons to believe that the iOS empire is far stronger and resilient.

Unlike Nokia’s phones, Apple’s product is an ecosystem with network effects and dependencies on software and services. It’s also a monolithic product with a singular interface and form factor.

Unlike BlackBerry, the iPhone does many jobs–too many to count. Indeed the iPhone evolves and changes its core value over time.

Although different in many ways from Windows there are strong similarities in terms of loyalty and persistence of users. iOS even developed a dominant position in enterprises. Microsoft’s attempt to become a hardware company is a testament to the confluence of the two business models.

And whereas Android was originally seen as the “good enough” iPhone, potentially disrupting it, it turns out to be the ersatz iPhone. Chances are higher that users will switch from Android to iPhone and not the other way. Again, the reasons have more to do with the ecosystem and quality of users (which are hard to measure) than with the hardware (which is easy to measure.)

As we look toward the second decade of the iPhone, the expectation isn’t one of another “big bang” but a process of continuous improvement. The market is nearing saturation so the goals must be to capture more switchers from Android. Apple has achieved this with the Mac: survival, persistence and eventual redemption.

More exciting is the apparent expansion of a network of ancillary “smart” accessories. The Apple Watch, the AirPods, Pencil and possible new wearables point toward a future where the iPhone is a hub to a mesh of personal devices. The seamless integration of such devices is what has always set Apple apart.


  1. Includes forecast for first six months of 2017 []
  • It’s good to see your analysis view again on the mobile industry. Good read but:

    “As the install base of iOS…” should be “As the [installed] base of iOS…”

    • This means that iOS will have generated over $1 trillion in revenues for Apple sometime this year.

  • Shameer Mulji

    “One can even cite the juggernaut of Windows and how it became impotent”

    With a user base of approximately one billion users, Windows still is a juggernaut.

    • Fran_Kostella

      I think Horace’s point isn’t about the size of the user base, but that nobody outside of corporate IT really seems to care what happens on Windows. I haven’t used it for a decade and I can’t name one reason why I’d even bother to check out the latest version. I work with a lot of startups filled with younger people and they all use iOS, macOS, Android and I see the occasional Chromebook or linux machine. I don’t think they hold a negative view of Microsoft, but none of them know or care about Windows. It like Aol, still there, but not very important.

      So it isn’t about the size of the user base, it is about the acceleration and the direction of growth. Does anyone imaging that a new version of Windows matters?

      • Shameer Mulji

        Good point. I thought Surface Pros / Surface Books were popular with the young crowd. I’ve been told by some of my college-going relatives that they see them more and more on campus.

      • Narg

        Most bloggers state 2016 was the year MS beat Apple on all hardware releases as far as popularity.

      • ggruber66

        Then again, most bloggers are idiots.

        Microsoft surely had some very interesting new products, like the Surface Studio, but that one is a very niche product and is outsold significantly by the iMac. If you want to call them design wins, I might agree to an extent.

        Secondly, Surfaces still seem to trail MacBooks and many corporations are still sticking with HP, Dell or whomever they bought before. Some of those vendors are making Surface knock-offs (as expected and perhaps desired by Microsoft). Not to mention that iPads — even with their downward trajectory — probably outsold Surfaces by a wide margin. So as a single vendor, I don’t think it’s accurate to say Microsoft was more “popular” than Apple, but to look at the market as a whole (PC v. Mac + iPads), perhaps. But is that any different than the last 30 years?


      • art hackett

        The Surface Studio is an interesting product, with apparently more promised than delivered. The parallax and lag making the kind of work advertised difficult IRL, though I suppose it’s another concern for Wacom, coming on the heels of the Pencil and iPads Pro combined with Duet or AstroPad.
        I’m still utterly perplexed by the alleged obsession with touch screens on regular computers. I have enough trouble hitting the required targets in Windows with a mouse, never mind a meat stick, and on Mac, you already have the incredible precision of the Apple trackpads and their gestures. Why on earth does anyone imagine that could be improved by stabbing at the screen with fingers? Especially when there is already a touch based interface that has now been supplemented by the brilliant Pencil for those that can utilise the added performance and accuracy.

      • tmay

        2016 was the year that Apple released an accessory that will likely produce some 20 million sales and $3B in revenue in 2017; Compared to MS, I’m thinking that popularity still sits solidly with Apple.

        Oh, and that accessory is the AirPod.

      • Good lesson on why one should not base decisions or judgement on blogger commentary.

      • Simon Hibbs

        Exactly. If you follow tech blogs and discussion sites you’d think the new MacBook Pros were a disaster. Actually they had the highest launch sales of any previous generation of the product.

      • art hackett

        Most bloggers you choose to read apparently. Popular with anyone that counts?

      • If you go on shops after holidays you can see the bunch of stuff that didn’t sale as expected and are now abandoned in outlet drawers. It gives a concrete sensation of how the products behave in the season.
        This year I have found drawers full of heavy discounted surface accessories, more than the usual mess of android’s. Some bet has been lost I suppose.

      • art hackett

        Not only that it doesn’t matter, but irritates the, er, stuffing out of virtually all users, especially corporate IT.

      • In addition, developers building apps for iOS have been paid $60 billion. The rate of payments has now reached $20 billion/yr.

    • art hackett

      A juggernaut suggests irresistible forward movement.

  • hannahjs

    The expectation isn’t of another big bang. It never is, and that is why the one in 2007 took everyone by surprise. There are still residual dissidents along the lines of Fred Hoyle, but the rest have folded their hands. Instead, there emerged a new expectation: that there cannot be another big bang. But I will hold my mind open and ready for the wonders sure to come, despite the oracular pronouncements of shamans steeped in yesterday. Surprise is the one thing I expect in this marvellous universe. And when the pundits are confounded, I laugh. Oh, how I laugh!

    • art hackett

      Steeped in something anyway. For some reason now, I can’t help getting visions of the endless boiling morass of Buffy’s demons in the Hellmouth.

  • If you see a product as something hired by the buyer to execute a particular job or a set of jobs, the iPhone is really something particular.
    The jobs it can handle are software enabled and revisions of hardware or creation of dedicated accessories enhance and multiply the jobs.
    As you say “Indeed the iPhone evolves and changes its core value over time”.
    The creation of accessories is an effective way to contrast disruption, the iPhone periodically updates the jobs it can be hired to do and adapts to market needs.
    The very small number of different iPhones models, each one can do every job, has been a very smart move by Apple, way way better than having tens of different models with different jobs to do.
    Could we say Horace that a focused product family is more resilient to disruption than a bigger one.

  • Jared Porter

    Horace is correct to point out under-recognized unique innovations like Apple Watch and AirPods.

    As white, wired EarPods were the best advertisement for iPods back in about 2005, in 2017, white, wireless AirPods will become a huge advertisement for IPhone and mobile, wireless iOS. They will start showing up in commuters’ ears and the campus Starbucks set. Control the volume with the rocker buttons on that iPhone in your pocket by touch or by your Apple Watch. I can’t make mine fall out and I’m confident most wearers will say the same. Who wants to keep untangling wires each time you need headphones? If you want to wear cans, what pocket do you stash them in? Apple was brilliant to delay the introduction for a few months. If they had come out at the same time that iphone 7 were introduced, the extra $160 cost would have been a deal breaker. But now it is a newly-reviewed, sexy addition to iOS. The novel look of wireless AirPods now, will become the coveted look of intimate, convenient mobile podcast listening in the near future.

    • handleym

      re unrecognized innovations.
      I’d urge everyone here to read through this PDF:

      It shows ARM’s vision (in 2010!) of where we’re headed. The stuff of immediate relevance to this post starts at page 54, but most of the rest is just as interesting, albeit more technical.
      Unlike 95% of internet commenters, our man in ARM clearly understood
      – the constraints on future products (and so what made them interesting)
      – how better technology enables new form factors which in turn enables very different use cases

    • BMc

      I agree. While on the surface AirPods are just “wireless earbud headphones”, there is something that I (and many others it seems) find “magical” about them. Perhaps the most magical Apple product since the iPhone (and I love my Apple Watch). They really just are a joy to use to listen to anything (music, movies, phone calls…).

      It is a combination of being two separate truly wireless pieces, the ease of putting them in & having them automatically activate, the ease of setup and use across all devices without hassle, the “very good” sound from them, the small charging case that holds them perfectly…. They are so light and comfortable, you forget they are on, and you are just surrounded and immersed in the sound.

      Apple should really advertise AirPods with association with Apple Watch. The two could really reinforce each other, and could lead to a great 2017 for both products. If we consider the ASP of AW potentially at around $350 (combinations of Series 1 and 2, 38mm and 42mm, and an extra watch band), plus AirPods, you get to a combination (~$500) that is approaching iPhone territory.

      Give it another 3 years (AW with cellular data for standalone use), and these two products together will likely be Apple’s “next big thing”, perhaps bringing in as much revenue as the iPad line, or more.

  • iLove

    The author Horace Dediu is over optimistic. I just read an article pointing out by Peter Thef that Apple era is over. In addition, Apple has been bashing constantly by its CEO is gay and incompetent. They made it like Apple is in big trouble and would file bankruptcy in the near future and any given time a negative article was published then AAPL tanked. We’re living in a crazy world.

    • melci

      Dediu backs up his “optimism” with numbers iLove. What evidence do you have that he is incorrect?

      Oh and I don’t know why you think sexual preference has anything to do with the topic, but the irony is Peter Thiel (not Thef) also has the same orientation.

  • eselimgonen

    Thank you for the insights, I really like the session approach.
    A quick question:
    How do you see Apple’s chances if top used apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, Google Maps, Youtube, Spotify etc (which have been becoming more and more indistinguishable in terms of user experience in both platforms) increasingly capitalize those sessions to an extent experience becomes mostly the same?

  • Space Gorilla

    “a future where the iPhone is a hub to a mesh of personal devices”

    Yes. I’ve been calling this the Apple Network of Things for years.

  • berult

    Peculiarly, this trillion in iPhone dollars can be characterized as seed money. This is a running, self-fulfilling prophecy on the future of humankind. Money is no object here. It is pure subject of foresight, with no end in hindsight. The iPhone is humankind’s ‘Jobs One’, eventually either downscaling to naught or upscaling to infinity, downscaling to infinity or upscaling to naught. The iPhone arose as the 50/50 existential juggernaut in a world of ~20/80 rationales.

    Our future depends on a completed us, mortality seekers…or immortality achievers…

    It’s really, really hard, impossibly hard to shrink the timeline of a boundless daydream to its serendipitous abacus dimensions. Wherever our mind sets as a species, the iPhone mindset begets. Whenever the iPhone mindset begets, our mind sets…

    Depends on a fulfilled us… A ‘danse macabre’ into wishful extinction, a ‘pas de deux’ into hemispheric sublimation. Homo sapiens sapiens terminus, Homo sapiens sapiens…sapiens ad infinitum… berult.

  • Don Joe

    Looks like North America is still obsessed with the iPhone despite the demonstrable fact that it did not revolutionize the smartphone market either at home (didn’t beat the Blackberry for the first 4 years of iOS existence and even when it did it just inched a bit forward) or internationally (it was dominated by Symbian until Android came out and then it was – and I suspect continues to be – dominated by Android in terms of total number of devices).

    It’s a spurious and very non-humanist analysis to measure “success” in dollars spent, where the iPhone owes part of its “lead” to simply being an overpriced device sold mostly in the richest countries. All the while, much cheaper technologies or inventions may have made a far greater impact to actual human quality of life on the global scale and should probably be hailed as the better ideas we’ve produced as a civilization.

    • phatejack

      have you been in coma the past 10 years? You think you owe the use-revolution to Android or Blackberry? Really?

      • Don Joe

        Sorry, what was that? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of actual statistics from physical reality:

        So on graph #1 we can see that around the beginning of 2010 the smartphone ownership trend takes a visible turn upward. Looking at the smartphone OS market share trends on graph #2, can you tell me which OS took off toward the moon around that time? This should be an easy one, you got this.

      • Space Gorilla

        Yes, around 2010 Android got a lot better and became essentially the cheap iPhone, and that’s a good thing, the iPhone was never going to serve the majority of the market. Something else has to serve the rest of the market. But you’re deluded if you think Android wasn’t guided by the iPhone. Just as all computers now work pretty much like the original Mac, all smartphones now work like the original iPhone. Both the original Mac and original iPhone were widely criticized as failures of design, innovation, vision, etc when they were first launched. Today we know both the Mac and iPhone were spot on, because everyone eventually copied them.

        You have to get out of the mindset of winners and losers. What has happened is that both Apple and Android have won. iOS isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Android, and they mostly serve different segments and deliver different kinds of value and experience. Apple gear isn’t overpriced for me, because it delivers a ton of value and benefit. You may not be looking for the same value/benefits, so for you Apple gear is overpriced. But you must understand this is not a universal truth, it’s only your perspective.

      • Don Joe

        Like Apple would ever allow its most lucrative ideas to just be copied by another company and used to achieve and maintain the dominant position on the global market. Now who’s delusional?

        No, Android never copied iOS, only the most generic ideas of what a GUI should look like to be usable by humans. The most important thing Google did with it was the one thing that blindly greedy corporations like Apple and Microsoft have always fought against, which is creating an open-source platform that allows tinkering and innovation – the true way forward for software of all kinds and the main reason Android achieved and maintains user base _and_ market dominance to this day.

      • katherine anderson

        I imagine that if Steve Jobs were alive today he would be pleased to acknowledge that the business imitators, even the copycat businesses that make the cheaper copycat Android devices, have not only impacted millions of people on a global scale, but have impacted their lives in truly life-altering ways …

        Imitation is a fact of the human condition. Imitators can also be correctors; they can make improvements on a product or a device … they may get their ideas from places like Apple, but they can also extend on those ideas, and in the process they can offer a base for future developments.

        When Steve Jobs was a boy Japan was the poor, imitator nation … and anything “Made in Japan” was the mark of low standards, but the Japanese automobile industry shows how the country surpassed itself as an imitator nation, just as China is making the transition now.

        So, I guess you are probably right, it is possible that Android might one day surpass itself in the imitation business?

      • melci

        Ahem, prior to the iPhone, the vast majority of smartphones featured the Blackberry-esque little keyboard filling half their face in preference to a large screen. The few smartphones that had a slightly larger screen like my Sony P900 Symbian phone or my various O2 Windows mobile PDA phones all had poorly performing resistive screens and a mini stylus to peck at horrible tiny button targets on screen – Windows Mobile had a stupid Start Menu for goodness sake – horrible WAP web browsers, terrible confusing, fragmented GUI, horrifically developer-unfriendly Carrier-specific app ghettos and tiny amounts of on-board storage.

        Then the iPhone came along boasting industry-shattering innovations like a large finger-friendly multi-touch capacitive screen, accelerometers to detect screen rotation and 3D motion, a physical switch for silent mode, gorgeous intuitive UI such as swipe to unlock, desktop-class web browser and Industry-leading App Store (a year later).

        Within a few years, what did every smartphone feature – copies of all the iPhone’s features of course and Blackberry’s chicklet keyboard and dominance was no more and Nokia had began its tailspin into the dirt.

        Apple led the way and though many aspects of the iPhone have been copied since, Apple has continued to dominate the industry in all the metrics that actually matter.

        The iOS platform generates 90% more revenue for 3rd party developers than the Android platform, up from 80% the previous quarter and 70% the previous year according to App Annie. Vision Mobile reports that “Apple owns the high end. The iOS ecosystem appears to have a lock on the high end that will be hard to break”
. “Android handset makers are increasingly unable to compete effectively for the premium customers. Those are the customers that are most interesting to well-funded developers, as well as advertisers, retailers and various service providers….The result is that most developers who are primarily interested in revenue target iOS first”

        IBM and Adobe report that the iOS platform generates 400% more e-commerce revenue than the Android platform.

        Apple’s iOS also utterly dominates the Business world capturing between 64% – 72% market share with Android languishing on 26% and Windows Phone and Blackberry utterly obliterated.

        In terms of advertising revenue (Google’s lifeblood and the reason they created Android), iOS users generate an incredible 1,790% greater advertising ROI than Android users according to Nanigans, the latter of whom actually lose money for advertisers. Google is reliant on the iOS platform for an amazing 75% of their mobile search revenue according to Goldman Sachs.

        And of course Apple themselves generate a 103% of the profit share of the entire Mobile industry while most Android OEMs scratch to barely make a profit leaving their users with orphaned, unsupported, un-upgradable devices.

        Sure Android dominates the profitless segment of the market and thanks to an utterly broken software update architecture is the target of 99% of the mobile malware in the world.

      • Don Joe

        “prior to the iPhone, the vast majority of smartphones featured the Blackberry-esque little keyboard filling half their face in preference to a large screen
        Then the iPhone came along boasting industry-shattering innovations like a large finger-friendly multi-touch capacitive screen”

        … and spawned a new genre in comedy from all the idiotic mistakes that touchscreen-only “keyboards” started making, when all the while a true keyboard should have always been physical and producers like Nokia and Motorola proved to be perfectly capable of making them highly usable without much compromise on screen size:

        Now because of Apple’s aggressive marketing of the stupid touchscreen-only devices we all have to live with these ridiculous mistake-generators with no real keyboard on them. I actually had to buy a bluetooth keyboard just to have something to use when I want to type longer replies without making mistakes.

        I don’t think you realize how much Apple has created its own market niches through aggressive marketing rather than responding to non-brainwashed users’ actual needs and expectations. But then again you wouldn’t be an Apple fanboi if you realized that. This whole hysteria around everything Apple does is due primarily to North Americans’ supreme susceptibility to marketing.

      • Space Gorilla

        “This whole hysteria around everything Apple does is due primarily to North Americans’ supreme susceptibility to marketing.”

        This is foolish. Apple is approaching one billion users and we cannot explain that large a user base (with very high customers satisfaction levels) using the old myths of ‘marketing’ and ‘fans/sheep’. The old ‘excuses’ for Apple’s success don’t hold up. Apple’s success is real and sustainable.

        What you’re missing is that Apple and Android don’t serve the same segments. They don’t compete as much as you seem to wish. Apple will likely never serve the majority segment of any market, not in any sustainable way. Apple dominates the higher end segment of the markets it operates in, and others take the rest of the market. This is true in the PC market, and is now true in the smartphone market. That is neither good nor bad, it is simply reality.

      • Don Joe

        “Higher end” in price only. Other companies’ products can do pretty much everything Apple products can do, and then some. You want to talk “high end” computing? Count the servers and supercomputers running an OS made by Apple. Yeah, not a lot of those. So “high end”.

      • Space Gorilla

        You’ve misunderstood what is meant by “high end segment”. The high end or premium consumer segment is not defined by the capabilities of the device, it is defined by the nature of the consumers themselves. I also call this the Best Customer Segment. You would most likely call these people fools too easily parted from their money, but the truth is this segment is looking for the value/benefit that Apple delivers. And Apple does dominate this market segment, that is not up for debate. Just as it is not up for debate that Android leads in total market share.

        You obviously don’t feel that Apple provides value and benefit, that Apple products are simply overpriced and not capable enough. As I’ve said before, you must understand this is only your opinion based on what you find valuable and beneficial. Your needs are different from others, this is a basic human truth. Your experience is not universal. I can find Apple products incredibly valuable and worth every penny while you find Apple products almost worthless. Neither of us is wrong.

      • melci

        Actually, Apple 64bit smartphone hardware is indeed higher end in performance compared to its smartphone rivals:

        AnTuTu (higher is better)
        iPhone 7 Plus = 179,811
        Samsung Galaxy S7 = 134,000
        HTC 10 = 131,088
        Nexus 6P = 60,007
        Blu Life One X2 = 43,984
        Moto G = 17,014

        iPhone 7/7 Plus……………..3,450…….5,630
        Samsung Galaxy S7……….1,806…….5,213
        Samsung Galaxy Note 7….1,786……5,228
        Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge..1,744……5,203
        Huawei P9 ……………………..1,729……4,735
        OnePlus 3……………………….1,698……4,015
        Google Pixel…………………1,648……4,121
        BLU Life One X……………..629…….2842
        Moto G 2015………………….428……1,070

        GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen (higher is better)
        iPhone 7 Plus = 58.2 fps
        Samsung Galaxy S7 = 53 fps
        HTC 10 = 47 fps
        Nexus 6P = 36 fps
        Moto G = 11 fps
        BLU Life One X = 3.4 fps

        GFXBench Manhattan on-screen (higher is better)
        iPhone 7 = 59.1 fps
        Samsung Galaxy S7 = 29 fps
        HTC 10 = 13 fps
        Nexus 6P = 17 fps
        Moto G = 3.9 fps
        BLU Life One X = 2.1 fps

        Basemark OS II Overall
        iPhone 7 = 3,862
        Samsung Galaxy S7 = 1,943
        HTC 10 = 1,806
        Nexus 6P = 1,894
        BLU Life One X = 828
        Moto G = 581

        And Superior battery life:

        Battery Life Benchmark:
        Apple iPhone 6s Plus…..9h 11 min (Excellent)
        Apple iPhone 7 Plus……..9h 5 min (Excellent)
        Apple iPhone 6s…………..8h 15 min (Excellent)
        Apple iPhone 7……………..7h 46 min (Good)
        HTC 10………………………..7h 10 min (Good)
        Samsung Galaxy S7………6h 37 min (Average)
        Apple iPhone 6 Plus……..6h 32 min (Average)
        LG G5………………………….5h 51 min (Average)
        (Source PhoneArena)

        Yet another example is superior camera features like 52mm + 28mm 2x Optical Zoom camera with the second camera lens enabling binocular vision-powered smarts like Apple’s Bokeh effect in Portrait mode.

      • Shawn Dehkhodaei

        These “argument” points are so childish and comical …. you pivot your own discussion from smartphones to servers. Who’s talking about servers here? Please enlighten us what those “supercomputers” are running …. not the servers, just the supercomputers. If you think it’s Linux, you’re grossly mistaken.

      • melci

        “Now because of Apple’s aggressive marketing of the stupid
        touchscreen-only devices we all have to live with these ridiculous
        mistake-generators with no real keyboard on them.”

        Ah yes, the other myth used to try and excuse Apple’s success. You evidently aren’t aware that Samsung has had an advertising and promotions budget 12x larger than Apple’s and copies the “aggressive” style of all of Apple’s ads.

        Oh, and the several billion smartphone users worldwide aren’t stupid – as
        much as you wish that was the case for some reason – they all simply
        appreciate the benefits of having a keyboard that changes and customises
        itself automatically depending on purpose or app and don’t like the added weight, thickness and mechanical unreliability that physical keyboards suffer from.

        “This whole hysteria around everything Apple does is due primarily to North Americans’ supreme susceptibility to marketing.”

        Actually, Apple’s success goes far beyond just North America.

        Apple is strong not only in the USA (the second largest smartphone market in the world) with 31% to 43% market share, but Apple also captures between 17-27% smartphone market share in China – the largest smartphone market in the developed or the developing world according to Kantar. (variations due to seasonal fluctuations)

        In addition Apple also captures 32-46% market share in Australia, 37-48% in the UK, 14-24% in Germany and a massive 38-57% in Japan to name some of Apple’s other major markets around the world.

        However, quarterly smartphone marketshare is not of course the most important metric to consider – active installed base is far more important. Apple a year ago reported there are over 1 Billion active Apple devices worldwide (of which around 900m were iOS devices back in January). Since that time Apple has sold well north of another 200m iOS devices.

        In contrast, Google reports they only have 1.4 Billion active Android devices (smartphones AND tablets) and AOSP forked Android only accounts for another 20-30% of Android devices according to ABI Research.

        That means Apple’s iOS platform is around 64% the size of Google Android and close to 50% the size of Google + AOSP.

      • Space Gorilla

        “only the most generic ideas of what a GUI should look like to be usable by humans”

        Yes. This was in fact the essence of my comment. Ideas are generic and obvious only in hindsight. Both the original Mac and original iPhone were derided at first. But now everyone (even you) admits this is the way these devices should work, as you put it “to be usable by humans”.

        Open source can’t solve every problem. But open source is great at extending concepts to every corner of the earth (or as far as possible at least). Again, you’re thinking in terms of winners and losers, and in this case there really are two winners.

      • Space Gorilla

        “to achieve and maintain the dominant position on the global market”

        Another point you are missing, Apple isn’t trying to win by total market share. If you are familiar with business or marketing concepts you’ll know what segmentation is. Most businesses operate by focusing on specific market segments and do not chase total market share. Basing your analysis on market share without understanding segmentation will only lead to a flawed analysis. For example, you can’t understand why Burger King succeeds by analyzing total market share. You’ll only convince yourself that Burger King is doomed.

      • Simon

        > No, Android never copied iOS

        The head of software engineering on Andorid at the time has this to say:

        >>Chris DeSalvo’s reaction to the iPhone was immediate
        >>and visceral. “As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted
        >>one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought
        >>‘We’re going to have to start over.’”

        >>“What we had suddenly looked just so . . . nineties,”
        >>DeSalvo said. “It’s just one of those things that are
        >>obvious when you see it.”

        There are multiple sources on this, but the below is pretty good.

      • Don Joe

        Interesting, but if you pay close attention you will find – yet again – that Apple didn’t so much invent the new technology that became market-defining as they _made_ it market-defining by flexing their only major muscle: marketing. All Google did was to prioritize similar projects out of the many that it already had _going_, because they knew about Apple’s market-defining power. If anything, this article reveals even more about how many ways the market gets distorted by overly effective manipulative PR techniques and how little the evolution of profitable technologies has to do with either fundamental research and technological creativity or preexisting user expectations.

      • melci

        Don, did you not read Simon’s comment?

        “as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.'”

        Those are not the words of someone who already has “similar projects” going on in their labs.

        >”Apple didn’t so much invent the new technology that became market-defining as they _made_ it market-defining by flexing their only major muscle: marketing.”
        I’m sorry but your comments merely betray how cheesed off you appear to be for some reason at Apple’s market-shattering success.

        The reality is that Apple’s marketing for the iPhone merely showed how gob-smackingly easy and fun it was to do things like search for a restaurant on the iPhone “calamari anyone?” and phone through a booking – it was the iPhone’s amazing technology that sold itself.

      • Space Gorilla

        You don’t seem to know your tech history very well. Steve Jobs was talking about small wireless book-like computers that fit in your pocket as far back as 1983. Apple worked on a touchscreen OS and device in the mid to late 1980s. When talking about the iPhone Steve Jobs commented that many years previously they had larger touchscreen devices in the lab and he realized they could make a pocket computer out of what they had in the lab. That project actually started in the late 1990s. In fact Apple has continually been working on this type of device since the 1980s. I would guess Jobs kickstarted this ongoing work when he came back in 1997.

        Now, of course it is obvious that Apple didn’t invent everything that is in every product they make. Nobody does that. You build on what came before, you iterate, you improve, you integrate. What Apple brings is Design (with a capital D), and Design is not how something looks. Design is how something works. Design is Apple’s “major muscle”, as you put it. Marketing cannot explain Apple’s success, it is not a reasonable or logical explanation. Marketing is your excuse for Apple’s success, to somehow create a narrative in your mind that Apple’s success isn’t real. I coined a phrase years ago about this phenomenon, about people who simply cannot accept the reality of Apple’s success:

        “No matter how much Apple succeeds, Apple is not succeeding.”

      • BMc

        You will never win attempting to argue with a clueless moron:) Best to save your well thought out comments for someone with a bit more brain power.

      • Didn’t think that many gays in the U.S.

      • phatejack

        you’re missing the point.
        Smartphone 2.0 and its subsequent use-cases were started by Apple in 2007. The others caught up with good and bad products, now selling more devices (but leaving the real money to Apple, har har, idiots). So what?

        People came up with even better applications, now serving all of us regardless of iPhone or not, but they are looking for Apple to produce the next big thing, not Google, not Samsung. There is a reason for that, and its more then just hype.
        If you can’t stand it, that’s ok. Just stop crying about it. Its not gonna change anytime soon and its well deserved by SteveJ and his Apple.

    • althist

      Android wouldn’t exist, as it does, without the iPhone.

      • Don Joe

        The iPhone wouldn’t exist, as it does, without Windows. Or windows. Or chairs.

      • althist

        No idea what this means. Are you okay?

      • Don Joe

        Hint, hint. How about you make a little intellectual effort to figure it out?

      • althist

        Android is a me-too clone of the iPhone, in basically every detail. And where it isn’t, it is seriously inferior. Which parts of the iPhone do you think are slavish clones of Windows?

  • berult

    Today’s brilliant ideal casts itself unto tomorrow’s isotropic background noise. Whichever way one turns to, in space…in time, the humming of its memory stays constant. berult.

  • joshhyde

    “The Apple Watch, the AirPods, Pencil and possible new wearables point toward a future where the iPhone is a hub to a mesh of personal devices.”

    I remember way back when the Mac was the digital hub. When do you think Apple Watch will take iPhone’s place as the hub? Five to ten years?

  • katherine anderson

    So seamlessly are Apple devices integrated into our world people don’t seem to see something else hiding in plain sight, Apple’s entry into augmented reality … IMHO the next-big-thing, the AirPods.

    Isn’t this “ancillary” wearable the augmented reality we’ve all been waiting for? … Audio augmented reality … Didn’t Tim Cook comment some months ago about augmented reality needing to still be immersed in the real world, with the benefit of tapping into another layer.

    Audio is the only form factor of augmented reality that fits that niche in the mobile space, allowing a person to stay engaged in the real world. (With wearable “visual” devices you can’t look at the real world and have your eyes on a screen at the same time, looking at things from a different location. This is a problem of divided attention, and a dangerous problem, particularly when you’re walking or driving.)

    Like other Apple devices, AirPods will evolve over time to offer more user interaction … more than a listening tool; more than a speaking or search tool with a W1 chip and accelerometers to detect whether or not you want to listen to something, or speak to someone through its onboard microphones, including speaking to Siri.

    … AirPods, married with location positioning capabilities for example, can become a Navigation Device for Visually Impaired people … providing sound in the environment, simultaneous to capturing audio cues from points of interest, with objects and scenes rendered live as you pass by.

    … AirPods as a navigation device for explorers and experience seekers … a price-guide device for the food market … a guide for the museum, commentary for public spectacles and sporting events, commentary for group tours, and a whole lot more …

  • alamwag
  • Ray

    Apple is a chokepoint in the industry, and overall it is destroying value for software developers. 30% cut, free updates forever, no control over marketplace, etc.

    More insights here:

    Essentially they took over the web, transitioned it into iOS apps, and made themselves the gatekeepers. Sure they are making money off developers.

    In no industry it’s good for anyone to have only one company controlling access to consumers, except for that company.

  • James William Steven Parker

    Yeah… generating a Trillion dollars has, with respect, always been an issue with me too. Poor Apple, * cough cough. But seriously, they deserve the money because of their great marketing. IT’S JUST A SHAME THAT THEIR PRODUCTS ARE SHIT and not as good as average hardware offers in other shops.