iPhone— A new era of smart phones

Even if it has been ten years, some people will definitely think back to the queue outside the Apple store on June 29, 2007, and the craziness and desire for new products of these people. Because on this day, the first-generation iPhone was launched. However, when the iPhone is officially launched, there should be many people with an attitude of “seeing jokes”. But in fact, Apple has not only “reinvented the mobile phone” in the past ten years. To be precise, Apple has changed the rules of consumer electronics, changed the daily habits of consumers, and promoted the transformation of the Internet industry from a basic level. And development.

figure 1. “Iphone” Image: Quattro Vageena, CC BY-SA 2.0 


Apple was born 42 years ago in a garage in California. On April 1, 1976, Steve Jobs and his good partner Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple in the garage of his home in California. Apple’s first-generation product, Apple i, was actually a computer, but what Apple has made people more profound is actually their iPhone. The iPhone set the tone for the smart-phone market, and it helped usher in a new era of personal computing devices that is still developing today. In 2007, Apple ushered in the biggest victory for itself and the entire technological world, and that was the release of the iPhone. After that, Apple has always been the top of the world, with a market value of trillions of dollars until now. This is inseparable from a great man-Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs stood on stage and wearing sneakers, showing the most incredible keynote speech of his life.

“It’s a mobile phone, an iPod, and an excellent Internet device.”

Now we take touch screens, digital media playback and network access for granted, but before the iPhone came out, what was the Internet used for? It’s a computer. But the appearance of the iPhone changed everything. The iPhone is not just a mobile phone, the iPhone makes the world within reach. Just like the chapters in the book, each iteration is based on the last one that drives the story forward.


Business model

Business model refers to the method and strategy used by an enterprise or organization in its operations. His purpose, system, and those who add value to customers together (Knight, 2013).

In the early days, Google gained a very high market share with its open hardware model. However, due to the low degree of diversification of hardware, as Apple enters the large-screen and low-price markets, the share of Apple with excellent product experience will gradually increase. Apple controls the hardware, so it can partly avoid product-level competitions, and through channel advantages, Apple Maps in the IOS system defeats Google Maps. The Big Three have different business models. The three major operating systems are Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

In terms of business model,

  • Apple is relatively closed. The IOS system launched by Apple has open software and closed hardware.
  • Google’s android chooses a fully open strategy, with software, hardware, and operating systems open across the board.

Among them, the large-screen market is especially dominated by Samsung. With the large-screen S3, Samsung succeeded in one fell swoop, and then quickly became the number one smart phone. Aiming at the two major advantages of android, Apple launched the low-cost version of the iPhone 5C and the large-screen version of the iPhone 6+ respectively. The 5C wasn’t very successful because it was still too expensive, but the 6+ really hit the Android market. After Apple launched the big screen, Samsung’s sales have taken a sharp turn (Dediu, 2014)!

figure 2. “The Innovator’s Stopwatch” Image: Dediu Horace, CC BY-SA 2.0 

On the other hand, Apple’s business model is through the apple store. The concept of mobile phone applications has appeared in the pre-iPhone era. But application developers were not active until Apple launched the App Store. App Store’s clear revenue sharing model ensures the interests of developers. According to data released by Nelson (2018),

Apple’s revenue from the App Store was US$4.9 billion in the first half of 2017. Due to policy issues, Google Play does not yet exist in China. This makes Apple even more aggressive against Google. In terms of growth, this means that the App Store’s year-on-year growth is approximately 34.7%, and in terms of Google Play it is approximately 34.2%.

figure 3. “Worldwide Gross App Revenue” Image: Randy Nelson, CC BY-SA 2.0 

The abundant and guaranteed profits make it possible for individual developers to appear, which also lowers the barriers for developers from the side and attracts more developers. More new individual developers have poured into the app store market, which at the same time ensures the growth of the number of App Store applications and the stability of their quality. This has formed a virtuous circle for the app store. In general, Apple’s business model is:

  1. Connect their software and hardware. Establish an ecosystem through software optimization and increase the value of hardware terminals.
  2. Sell software through the app store, as well as a commission for music.


Apple’s Internet ecology

Internet ecology is a term used to describe mechanisms and communities to help our Internet work and development. These organizations share common values ​​for the open development of the Internet. It can also mean that the continued development of the Internet can be attributed to the collaborative participation of a wide range of participants (Smart, Heersmink& Clowes, 2017).

As mentioned above, Apple optimizes through software. Link software and hardware to build an ecosystem. When Apple opened the App Store in July 2008, it was the first of its kind. Initially, about 500 applications were provided for iPhone and iPod touch, but now the App Store has grown to be used by a full set of Apple devices (Caminade, Borck & Wartburg, 2020). Provide a complete set of perfect Internet ecology for Apple. In 2019, Apple’s ecosystem is approximately $519 billion. This includes both transactions processed by Apple (such as paid apps), but also purchases and other economic activities through apps that Apple does not participate in transactions (such as rides such as Uber, Taobao, or Bond) (Dediu, 2020). Its growing service application provision, such as cooperation with ordering software, taxi-hailing software, online shopping, etc., allows Apple to exist at every point in time when people are in contact with the world. The smartphone revolution caused by iPhone has made most Internet services now regard smartphones as the first battlefield, whether it’s IMessage software or mobile payment services. It truly enables people to “one device in hand, the world Have”.

figure 4. “Current Setup” Image: Yutaka Tsutano, CC BY-SA 2.0

Apple’s customers are actually the vast majority of young people in the current society. In addition to integrating the applications provided by the Apple store into people’s daily lives, Apple also uses iCloud to fulfill people’s office and Internet needs. By learning the user’s usage, recommend the content of the browser web-page, and in all Apple products, as long as one device is logged in to iCloud, it will make recommendations by learning the usage habits of this account on different devices. The experience of moving between them will become smooth and seamless. For example notes made on the iPhone can be saved in a few seconds on the MacBook, and files can be transferred instantly via AirDrop (Copeman,2020).

And these excellent results, of course, unavoidable that Apple has excellent partner.

Business app

  • Salesforce implements a modern customer experience on the iPhone and iPad.
  • SAP uses iOS and iPadOS as platforms to help enterprises realize the mobilization of core business processes.

Networking, Security &Collaboration

  • Cisco provides advanced networking, security, and collaboration solutions for Apple products (apple,2020).

This is how Apple optimizes through software. The Apple ecosystem established by connecting software and hardware.

Apple’s ecosystem


Changes in smart-phones caused by iPhone

Disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates new markets and value, and ultimately updates existing markets and replaces established market-leading companies, products, and alliances (Christensen,& et al., 2006). Obviously, iPhone did it. This article will analyze the impact of iPhone from three aspects: culture, economy, and society.


  • iPhone makes the physical keyboard history, we enter the era of touch screen.
  • iPhone makes the smart phone a tool for surfing the Internet, no longer a condition.
  • The birth of the App Store has also completely changed the gameplay in the mobile Internet era, allowing users to download genuine applications more conveniently and safely.


There are a lot of jobs due to iPhone. According to Apple’s official data, Apple has spawned nearly 500,000 jobs in the United States, and Apple has paid more than $8 billion in share to developers. And these industries all started because of the iPhone. Since 2008, US developers have earned 1,530,000 revenues from global App Store sales attributable to US positions in the App Store ecosystem (apple, 2020).

figure 5. “job-creation” Image: Apple, CC BY-SA 1.0

At the same time, iPhone has also caused unprecedented globalization. A well-organized global production network has repaid the decentralized development of cross-border production and lower transportation costs. Through investigation, we found that all iPhone are assembled in China. Therefore, the shipment record of ready-to-use iPhone from China to the United States is China’s export to the United States, and therefore has become part of the United States’ trade deficit with China (Xing & Detert, 2010) . The global production network and highly specialized production processes have clearly subverted the traditional trade pattern.


The era of smart phones created by iPhone is always related to our lives. According to statistics from the research organization Statista (2016), people in many countries around the world spent more than an hour or more playing mobile phones every day. For many people, looking at their mobile phones is the last thing they do every night before going to bed and the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning. We use mobile phones to buy and sell goods; we rely on mobile phones to record the places we have walked and what we have done; in quiet moments, when silence often occupies most of our lives, we can have a mobile phone.

figure 6. Mike Nudelman/Business Insider/Statista, CC BY-SA 1.0

Of course, it also keeps in touch with things that happen in society: About the COVID-19, in order to prevent the spread of false information about the coronavirus, Apple has been specifically evaluating coronavirus applications. Software developers contribute by developing technical tools to help fight viruses and save lives. Apple and Google work together to use the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of viruses, while taking user privacy and security as the core of the design (Leo,2020).

figure 7. “iphone” Image: yoppy, CC BY-SA 2.0



This article mainly introduces Apple’s (iPhone) background, business model, Internet ecology and the reforms caused by the iPhone. The iPhone has redefined the smart phone and caused the revolution of the smart phone, not only because of its hardware, but also because of the development of software and the interconnection between its software and hardware. The iPhone will promote the development of this Internet society and bring more convenience to meet various needs in personal life and work. Even in this digital age, the iPhone has many competitors, but with its unique system, diversified software and Apple’s support of a complete set of electronic equipment hardware, iPhone still occupies a place in this market. As the iPhone that redefines the smart phone, the iPhone is always working time and time again where we can see or not. Borrowing the promotional copy of iPad air 2, iPhone has been “changing everything gently.” For the iPhone, we should have higher expectations, and facts have proved that it is worthy of us.




Reference list:

Business Partners.(2020). Retrieved from: https://www.apple.com/business/partners/

Caminade, J., Borck, J., & Wartburg, M. (2020). How Large Is the Apple App Store Ecosystem. Retrieved from https://www.apple.com/newsroom/pdfs/app-store-study-2019.pdf

Christensen, C. M., Baumann, H., Ruggles, R., & Sadtler, T. M. (2006). Disruptive innovation for social change. Harvard business review, 84(12), 94.

Copeman, A. (2019). The irresistible lure of the Apple Ecosystem. Retrieved from https://medium.com/swlh/the-irresistible-lure-of-the-apple-ecosystem-81bf8d66294a

Dediu, H. (2014). The Innovator’s Stopwatch. Part 2. Retrieved 14 November 2020, from http://www.asymco.com/2014/12/17/the-innovators-stopwatch-part-2/#more-6852

Dediu, H. (2020). Apple’s Ecosystem. Retrieved from http://www.asymco.com/2020/09/22/apples-ecosystem/

Job Creation. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.apple.com/job-creation/

Knight, L(2013). What is a Business Model? The Strategic CFO. (2013). Retrieved from https://strategiccfo.com/what-is-a-business-model/

Lin, C., Zimmerman, S., Chu, L., Eng, J., & Fishman, E. (2017). Evaluation of Coronary Artery Disease and Coronary Anomalies with a Handheld Smartphone.

Nelson, R. (2018). Global App Revenue Grew 35% in 2017 to Nearly $60 Billion. Retrieved from https://sensortower.com/blog/app-revenue-and-downloads-2017

Perez, S. (2018). App revenue climbed 35 percent to $60 billion in 2017. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/05/app-revenue-climbed-35-percent-to-60-billion-in-2017/

Smart, P., Heersmink, R., & Clowes, R. W. (2017). The cognitive ecology of the Internet. In Cognition beyond the brain (pp. 251-282). Springer, Cham.

Xing, Y., & Detert, N. (2010). How iPhone widens the US trade deficits with the PRC? (No. 10-21). National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

About Peiying Zeng 4 Articles
Peiying Zeng. A boring girl from China who have negative commutation skills.