You're missing the fact that Apple does a really good job on some things, like interfaces.
I'm not missing it. I'm simply not considering them the best at doing efficient interface.
They are good at making them nice looking.
They are very good at making them skeumorphic so user don't seem lost to new functionality.
But they are not that good at UI in general. They usually need to dumb things down to an abyssimal level, just so to make things understandable to joe-6-pack. (which is enough to sell tons of shit, so why try harder ?)
As opposed to make an interface that can also be picked quite quickly by joe 6 pack, but don't stand in the way of more advanced users.
The iPhone didn't do as much as previous smartphones, but it was a lot easier to get it to do what it did.
Depends on your point of reference.
- Microsoft Windows CE/Mobile, whatever it was called back then had an absolute craptastic interface. So yeah, there's no way that Apple could NOT do better with iOS.
- PalmOS was already a much older interface for PDA (and smartphones, starting with some Handsrping Visors and later Palm Centro), that already had everything iPhone had on offer, except for multitouch scrooling/zooming (its touch screen wasn't *capacitive*, so no 2-finger gestures) and for virtual keyboard only as a 2ndary input method (main input method was "Graffiti": scribling special gestures. kind of simplified alphabet. keyboard was an alternative mode) (later centro model featured a physical keyboard, which was caried over to webOS devices py Palm/HP).
It did feature a main launch screen with apps, supported 3rd party apps, had standard tools for the era (calendar, address book, notes taking, etc.)
iOS looked no more than a rehash of what already existed on the better devices.
The smartphone market is completely dominated by the iPhone and Androids, and Google copied a lot of Apple UI for Android.
Except for some limited gestures introduced by Apple, both are quite similar to what was already available in PalmOS, or before that in Apple's own Newton, or before that on EPOC (symbian's grandpa). Or the first GNU/Linux attempts on PDA back then (Zaurus). etc.
In fact, Apple failed to innovate badly.
There are OS contemporary to iOS like Palm's own webOS, which at least tried to innovate and make multitasking easy to use (their stack of cards metaphor, with gestures).