Consider how much has changed since the iPhone 1 ~ six years ago.
Apple has nearly done away with the click wheel. In fact most music devices are now touch screen based.
Clamshell and candybar phones are increasingly a rarity, most people have a smart phone or feature phone.
The iPad grew out of the iPhone and now has dozens of imitators.
The "ebook" grew out of the tablet market pioneered by Apple.
The laptop market has been overtaken by the tablet market.
Tablet and Smart Phones have cut heavily into the handheld game market.
MS decided to glue a touch tablet interface onto it's desktop OS Windows 8. OK, I threw that one in there for laughs.
>>"If CEO of Intel isn't enough to put someone above the "loser" bar, then what are you?"
Your real father.
Your memory is flawed. iPhone was first. iTouch was created shortly after out of popular demand for an iPod with a iPhone's touch interface.
I do. You should see my bathroom.
Interesting but Apple developed iPhone over ~2 - 2.5 years. Depending on when the key players sat with Intel that likely would have been enough time to develop a first generation chip. Apple sold 3 million iPhones it's first year, so the payoff would have been worth it.
Apple met with other vendors who stretched out of their comfort zone - such as Corning to create the first generation Gorilla Glass. Corning had all the reason in the world to play it safe. They had just lost big on photonic technology and were hovering over the junk stock threshold. Corning's closest experience to the iPhone's display was CRT tube glass. Gorilla Glass is now used on 1.5 billion devices around the world.
>>"So you've never let something get away from you that turned out to be huge?"
Of course. Most people don't run around bragging about it. Warren Buffett used to talk about passing on the chance to own Microsoft (back when he told this story Gates still ran the store).
Steve Jobs bet Apple's future on the iPhone and won. It took stones. He said when he introduced the device it would change they way we make phone calls and it has. You, me, and ~80% of the US market using cell phones at this moment have a smart phone that has been influenced by the design of the iPhone.
You could look at Apple's own Newton and see a lineage. PDAs existed before the iPhone and are pretty much a dead market now.
Apple had quite a few of innovations, some created in-house and other purchased. The iPhone has a fantastic interface. Even the earliest iPhone had a quick, responsive interface with excellent graphics. They were first to bring multitouch gestures to a mainstream appliance. As you pointed out they got rid of hardware keys without using garbage like "grafitti". They put a lot of work into a better interface and it shows.
Apple designed their way out of the intimitation factor. They simplified everything down to one button. When grandma gets lost on an iPhone or iPad she knows that one button will always get her unstuck.
I'm not an Apple fanboi, the Galaxy sII and Asus Transformer next to me are proof of that. Android has taken Apple's starting point and improved on things IMHO.
Yeah, we've all heard guys tell stories like this. It takes me about 20 seconds before I mentally paint an "L" on their forehead.
The day Steve Jobs stood in front of a room and introduced the Iphone EVERYONE knew this was a game changer. "Today we're going to introduce a new iPod, a phone, and world class web device" As he repeated that line the graphics on the screen merged and the room realized the leaks about three new products were instead one new device. It was a hell of a mis-direction. It wasn't "the mother of all demos" but it was a close second.
Intel knew this was on the way and didn't think it was lightning in a bottle? Their shareholders should be furious.
Perhaps. But this is the problem when their system patches limited transparency, they create the appearance they are making changes to simply maintain an advantage on the home field.
Microsoft doesn't elicit much sympathy when they complain about closed APIs because they were the masters at this game back when they ruled the world.
"However I'm not aware that Microsoft ever sued anyone for using a hidden API."
No. What would happen is MS would find out a competitor was making calls to a hidden API so Microsoft would go break it on purpose and issue a patch for their own software.
Welcome to the new world MS. It belongs to Google and Apple. You just live here.