A full 10 years later, the iPhone still dominates…for now

Steve Jobs would be proud of this one.

10 years after the iPhone debuted, on June 28 of 2007, the smartphone that started it all is still going strong. From the latest sales figures I’ve seen, the phone has sold well over 1 billion units worldwide. Statista claims there are 2.2 million apps in the app store.

My own fascination with the “Jesus phone” (as it was called) started on launch day. I was one of those people who happened to obtain one from Apple on the day of release, then wrote about it that same week. I remember what things were like back then. The Palm Pre was still around; Nokia still dominated. Most models by companies like Samsung and BlackBerry were still big and bulky, running a proprietary interface. (The T-Mobile G1 running Android didn’t come out until 2009.)

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Memo to IT: You do know that a mobile phone is still a phone, right?

Technologists have always been drawn to bright and shiny objects. That’s why mobile development has focused on geolocation, streaming video, biometrics and impressive app gymnastics. But the core of the mobile phone — at it’s heart, it is a telephone, capable of making voice calls — has generally been ignored. As Zappos has discovered, that can be very bad for business.

What the retailer figured out is that texts, emails and other customer communications are far less effective at closing sales than what Alexander Graham Bell thought up. This is one of those surprising conclusions that, if you think about, shouldn’t be surprising at all. Texting and email force the customer to type everything they are saying, instead of just talking about it.

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