The game changer of the iPhone wasn't features. It was UI and updates. Prior to iPhone, you typically would never receive software updates for your phone. After all, why bother, it doesn't sell more phones. The opposite, even. Bug frustration was a reason why people would "upgrade" by buying new phone whenever they hit the end of the contract period.
Apple was big enough to force the phone companies to allow updates to happen.
Well except for Blackbery, Symbian, and Windows Mobile huh?