The iPhone - an Overnight Market
Back in the 70s and 80s, the first personal computers (PCs) arrived, and slowly but surely they were brought into the home, allowing newborn software development companies, such as Microsoft, a slowly expanding market for their wares. Over time some companies did very well and others dropped out of sight.
The pattern was: hardware got better, faster, and less expensive, and software makers pushed their products into an expanding market that has become over 1 billion machines running all manner of software. The iPhone is a different story...
Apple first released the iPhone in January 2007 and in that first year sold 5.4 million units. Then in a stroke of genius, 6 months later, Steve Jobs and Apple announced at the Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference that the iPhone would support third-party applications.
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Apple’s elegant solution for distributing the new software, the "App Store", opened early in the morning on July 10, 2008 via an update to iTunes. Applications were immediately available for download to the existing 6 million phones, soon to become 13 million. This in effect was a market of millions of users that appeared overnight, who could sample and buy new software instantly, anywhere.
No other market for software development in the history of the computer processor to date has resulted in so many possible users in such a short amount of time. And given that the iPhone has ground-breaking capabilities both in interface (multi-touch), sensing (accelerometers, GPS, camera), and wireless comm (wireless LAN, Cell, 3G), all this adds up to a very exciting platform.
The possibilities are as endless as the creative minds of thousands of developers all over the world - all at the fingertips of any iPhone owner.