It’s ten years old, the iPhone was released this day in 2007. Maybe the product has done more to unleash entrepreneurial endeavour than any single product in history.
Mac World, 9th January 2007 a few months before the iPhone hits the streets:
Steve Jobs in on stage, he says:
“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And Apple has been – well, first of all, one’s very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career.
“Apple’s been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.
"In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. It didn’t just change Apple, it changed the whole computer industry.
“In 2001, we introduced the first iPod, and… it didn’t just – it didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry.
“Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.
“The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls.
“The second is a revolutionary mobile phone.
“And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.
“So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough internet communications device.
“An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it?
“These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.”
Prophetic words, the product really did change the world.
But consider how it opened up a world of opportunity for entrepreneurs.
For one thing, thanks to the iPhone, barriers to entry, in industries across the world, collapsed. A new market in apps made it possible for companies to target a mass audience in a way that was impossible before.
Banking was transformed, but the real change is only just occurring as fintech products, many of which hinge upon a smart phone, disrupt banking.
The internet created the possibility of a long tail, creating global markets for niche products, but the smart phone took this to another level.
Where would Facebook have been without the smart phone? Sure, Facebook became popular on a PC first, but its smart phone usage that gave it a shot in the arm.
And as more and more retail, banking, commerce and business is done via smart phones, entrepreneurs, armed with an understanding that eludes many of the larger companies, are creating new opportunities for themselves.
The entrepreneurial revolution may gain pace with the internet of things, augmented reality and AI, but maybe it started with the iPhone.
Much of this entrepreneurial revolution began with Jonathan Ive, the British designer behind the iPhone.
And just as a new British entrepreneurial spirit gains traction in the UK, it may be worth recalling that in some ways thanks to Sir Jonathan it began with a Brit too, you could say that he is a Great British entrepreneur, or at least, a catalyst.
The UK is emerging an entrepreneurial success story – but more needs to be done, and one way to achieve this is to shine the media spotlight on entrepreneurs, their challenges, their failures and of course their successes.
The NatWestGreat British Entrepreneur Awards are currently open for applications, and entrants can apply here