2007 - Apple iPhone: When PDA Weds Smartphone
Even though by 2007 Apple was one of the largest music retailers on the planet thanks to its iTunes music store, the company wanted more, it wanted to be with its customers all the time and be ready to sell both content and software. To achieve that, it developed the iPhone smartphone.
The first personal digital assistant (PDAs) is officially believed to be Apple Messagepad (Newton platform), which was formally unveiled in 1992 (some believe that the first PDA was Casio PF 3000 released in 1983, but its functionality was just too limited, it only could store phone numbers, addresses and memos and was limited in memory capacity), but it never was mass produced due to various reasons. However, companies like Compaq, HP and Palm actually made PDAs popular in the early aughts only to lost the market to smartphones in the middle of the decade.
By 2007 it was obvious that the best features of PDAs (large touch-sensitive screen, high-performance CPUs) and smartphones (connectivity) should be combined in one device. Apple was not the first company to formally unveil a phone with touch-screen. For example, LG Electronics Prada phone was demonstrated by various web-sites back in December, 2006. But Apple understood well with the iTunes and Macs that the general public likes to get plenty of bundled programs as well as additional services and that what iPhone was all about.
Like pretty much all first-generation devices from Apple, the first-gen iPhone was far from perfect. Although it utilized Internet heavily, it lacked 3G; it had proprietary headphones output, it lacked FM radio and many other minor and major disadvantages. But the iPhone back in 2007 was the first smartphone with touch-screen that could playback a variety of video content and allowed to read big texts pretty easily; it had advanced synchronization technologies as well as numerous capabilities not available on smartphones at the time.
Many call it a joy, but the iPhone is an excellent toy - that is one of the claims from Nokia users, who managed to buy an iPhone back in 2007.
With the launch of the Apple iPhone, all of a sudden the market of smartphones was completely reshaped. If previously smartphones were primarily used by business customers, the iPhone was quickly adopted by consumers. The new Apple App online store quickly became the largest repository of applications that could ease life of end-users. All-in-all, the iPhone was another inflection point of the industry.