What made the Original iPhone so successful?

In 2007, Steve jobs took the stage to introduce what would become the most successful consumer products in history.

In this article we will review the marketing and design that went into the original iPhone and how this has transpired into the biggest revolution in the mobile phone industry.

This revolution can be split into three main categories: hardware, software, magic.

The Hardware

Whilst the current race is to see how far companies can extend a screen towards an infinity display, this is merely a improvement on current technology. However, when Apple if initially revealed a screen that did away with the conventional and somewhat useless buttons, this was orders of magnitude greater than what was available at the time.

This true innovation created a device that did not need unnecessary buttons to remain present when a user navigated applications that did not require those buttons. Instead, Apple simplified the experience into a single home button that could take you home from any application that you were in.

Gone were the days of playing a game on a phone and only using 1% of the buttons which were soldered onto the motherboard.

The Software

Whilst those who live and die by the android ecosystem claim superiority in the customisation of their home screen, the original innovation that led to this was Apple’s remarkable new approach to simplicity when categorising applications.

Instead of a cluttered environment where users found it difficult to prioritise applications Apple created a simple home screen that soon became synonymous with the smartphone era.

Most importantly however, was Apple’s innovation in stepping away from what was known as the baby Internet and instead delivering a full desktop experience when surfing the web. This was most prevalent in the iconic moment that Steve jobs showcase the New York Times website.

The website spanned the entire screen and was unlike any desktop website seen on a mobile before – that simply didn’t exist.

The Magic

There is something about Apple. Something that keeps those who use Apple devices locked into their ecosystem. Something that keeps users engrossed by the simplicity and effectiveness of Apple devices.

This is perhaps above all else the most astounding part of the launch of the original iPhone. There was something about the user experience that could not be boiled down into a single sentence – or even a few sentences.

It is this lethal mixture of hardware and software that creates an experience that has been designed with the user in mind.

Whilst the current market strives to push current technology to its maximum capacity, Apple had the rare and unique ability to move the goalposts of technology itself.

So what exactly distinguishes improvement from innovation? We believe that this boils down to 3 main components: the idea, the team and the marketing.

The Idea

Apple’s idea on the original iPhone was simple, to take three separate devices and combine them into one. The three devices in question were an iPod, a mobile phone and a breakthrough Internet communications device.

By consolidating the three devices into one and doing so in a flawless and elegant way, Apple was able to create innovation from efficiency. Often this is the key ingredient to a great idea. Analysing the current state of affairs and making it more efficient for the end user.

Take the current marketplace apps such as Uber, a B&B or at sea – all of these billion-dollar apps where as a result of taking an inefficient distribution channel and boiling it down to the most effective way to deliver the customers required experience.

The Team

When Steve jobs returned to Apple after a short departure, he was also able to make strategic and key hires that allowed him to bring ideas into fruition.

As stated by Henry Ford, coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.

The Marketing

Apple’s marketing strategies have been 2nd to none. Their ability to capture the consumer’s imagination and emotion is being taught across universities all over the world.

As with many Apple innovations, the marketing technique has come down to exquisite simplicity and an understanding of current culture and how their products impact this.

Apple was able to learn from previous marketing campaigns with their iPod and Mac devices and capitalise on that success when planning their marketing campaign for the original iPhone.

As such Apple was able to tap into a culture that they knew already existed due to the response of their previous successful products. The most common strategies to achieve this level of success, is to split test many marketing strategies and channels in order to see what is the most effective.

Upon realising their strengths and most effective form of communication to their target market, Apple dug their heels in hand were able to access the mass market by producing emotional marketing material that sparked joy in the mass-market due to its simplicity.

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