Was the iPhone the Gadget of the Decade?

Steve Jobs iPhone

It wouldn't be polite for TiPb to proclaim our signature device, Apple's iPhone, the gadget of the decade -- but luckily we don't have to as it's one of the more common memes circulating the 'net as we pass from the 00's to the 10's.

Sure, the Treo smartphone came first, as did Apple's original iPod, but arguably no device converged so many technologies of the last decade so elegantly, or coalesced more of Apple's own strategies, as the iPhone. If the 2000s were about going from portable to mobile, then the iPhone certainly made the mobile mainstream.

From phone to internet to media to computing, from OS X to iPod to iTunes to iTunes store to Apple Retail to Apple Online to MobileMe to iLife and back again, the iPhone brought so much together so simply that it certainly makes and obvious candidate.

What do you think? Is the iPhone the gadget of the last decade? And if not, what was?

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Was the iPhone the Gadget of the Decade?

60 Comments

I agree! I kind of wanted an iPod but got one of it's imitators instead (Archos Jukebox) and was mostly satisfied. I really wanted a Treo 750 and was kind of satisfied. When I saw the iPhone when it first came out, I was intrigued enough to go to an AT&T store and pick one up, and I was hooked. Especially with it's software and hardware updates, it has become the one gadget that leaves me feeling entirely satisfied! I can't think of anything that came out before it, or even any of its imitators, as contenders. And I'm not gung ho about all things Apple, though I do think their rather pricey technology is neat--I just love the iPhone based on its own merits.

Gadget of the decade, absolutely for me.
Mine has replaced half a dozen gadgets that I once considered essential!

Yes!
I found out that iPhone is the best gadget I have to date when I realized I prefer to browse the net using iPhone instead of my MacBook.
When I think about it, I prefer to use iPhone to do almost anything that doesn't require me to type more than a paragraph or two.

I would probably vote for the iPod, being around and popular for almost the whole decade... But the iPhone is up there to, normally I'm buying a new phone every 6 months to a year, and I've had my 3G for 18 months with no plans (as yet) to upgrade. Apple really nailed the iPhone, just don know if it's been around long enough for "gadget of the decade" honours.

I think it can be categorized, I really like my ps3 not just for games but because i dump all my stuff on it; my pics, movies, hd camcorder videos. but for a phone, iphone definitely takes the cake

I think the iphone takes the cake here mainly because it revolutionized the smartphone industry. It "inspired" dozens of companies to come up with "iphone killers" and literally changed the way people see their devices. Iphone would've been impossible without Ipod before it, but the iphone in my opinion made many more waves than did the ipod.

Too early to say since the decade ends at the end of this year - there was no 0 year for those interested in finding out why. With that said it's looking good so far.

"YES"!!!!!!!!!!!
Definately the gadget of the decade. I use it for EVERYTHING. I am excited about the 4th Gen. I can't wait to see what Apple will do to keep it ahead of the competition.

I think the question is more of a personal one. The people who don't own iPhones won't list it. The people who use droid will list that too. I've owned all apple products in one way or another with the exception of the Mac Pro line.
To me, the iPhone was revolutionary.
Just like the iPod was revloutionary.
And the mac was revolutionary.
To me, the iPhone wouldn't be possible without the granddaddy of them all, the Original iPod. THAT to me, started my bond with Apple products.
"Wow factor" should not determine gadget of the decade.
To me, iPod was the "portable gadget" of the decade. The iPod made way for all of the "iproducts" we have now.
That's my two cents.

Sucess of the Ipod spwaned the iPhone. Which in turn caused the moible industry catch up with what apple was doing. As for ATT killing the iPhone over the decade, is nonsense. Any carrier who would have took the exclusitvy of this phone would have had the same growing pains. (2 years to get cut and paste ring a bell). I think evey brand and every carrier has it's flaws period!!! I think ATT is the only carrier that could hve handled the influx of customers that the iPhone brung and still handle all that traffic.

iphone definitely. Especially if the apps are included as part of it. Changed everything regarding mobile apps.

It's only been around for 3 tears of the decade, so NO, not in my opinion.
The gadget of the decade was the CELL PHONE (including the Iphone) which became truly ubiquitous even for children during the decade.

I think the iPhone is definately one of the most desired gadgets of the decade, but then it's early days, the iPhone has been out for 2 1/2 years and is still quite pricey, one reason why it is desireable to some but so was the iPod when it came out. The rate the price if the phone is falling we can see it becoming one of the most used phones come 5th or 6th gen like with the iPods. Gadget of the decade is questionable but then it has brought so much together, for example I am writing this on my phone through my Twitter client but as many have said it have revolutionised phones like the iPod did to MP3 players and forced companies to really leap especially nokia who were doing reasonably well in the past and are bow have problems due to the wide range of phone manufactures but especially the iPhone when before Nokia had been changing personal mobiles, which the iPhone kinda is as it has brought the smartphone more into regular customers view. It's all dependant. On one had it has changed the way we see mobiles and mobile computing but on the other hand there have been other tech that has brought about the phone in the last decade

From my point of view the iphone is the second best gadget of the period. Th iPod is definately the first. Not just because it's sold more (of course, it's cheaper, no plans required, etc), but it obviously has changed the way people interact with media and the way the music market sells their products (from discs to electronic files) and it really is a HUGE thing.
But one thing is true: Apple is the 1st in electronics and entertainment.

As much as I love the iphone, everyone seems to forget that it was Palm that fused pda/phone/camera/mp3 together. The iphone just revolutionized the industry.

Yeah I can say the iPhone is the gadget of the decade, so many copy cats trying to catch up. Can't wait for the 4 th generation one.

Very odd Diordon 22 says everyone is copying Apple immediately after miked points out Apple is copying Palm.

It all depends on what your using! An iPhone user will probably say yes, but everyone else will probably have a different opinion. I know lots of people that don't own iPhones, and don't plan on owning one, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't vote iPhone.

I would probably have to say iPod, or anything that doesn't require a tape or cd to listen to music.
What about how far cameras have come along? A few years ago you would have to spend a fortune developing roles of film to see your pictures, now you put them on your computer, and just order the prints online, or print them yourself if you got a decent printer.
I know that the computer isn't from this decade, but the way it is being used now a days is incredible. Everything else wouldn't be happening without it.
It's a hard poll to answer.

I agree with other posters, that the iPod was the device of the decade. I think without an iPod, there would be no iPhone.

Nope the gadget of the decade is the rise of the laptop, in my mind. The desktop is definatly a niche devise now the only reason to get a desktop now is to crunch some seriously hardware bogging and hogging applications and programs.

No. Gadget of the decade is definitely the iPod. Literally transformed the way people listen to music, and by the middle of the decade, it was ubiqitous for anyone who listened to music, and even some who didn't. Most importantly, the iPod's market share, especially at its height, was unbelievable.
As much as I love my iPhone, it hasn't made the impact that the iPod made. Maybe that's because it has better competition than the iPod had, but for whatever reason, the iPod was the gadget of the decade. (Also, the iPhone's only been around for 25% of the decade. Hard to be the gadget of the decade when it didn't exist for 75% of the decade.)

Nope the cel phone in general due to the large impact that they have had over the population in general. Apple had only been in the market for less than half that time.

If verizon had it, I would have definetly got it! AT&T service sucks and I have had great service from verizon so there was no way I was going to switch. I do have the itouch though and love it! If verizon ever gets the iPhone, I will definetly get it!

Hmmm... I used to wonder why Apple bothered to release an iPod Touch but after reading so many posts about the iPod being the #1 gadget, I'm starting to see why: many more people use the iPod than use the iPhone, and regardless of how neat and handy the phone feature is, an iPod that does everything the iPhone can do except make calls still deserves gadget of the year I suppose. But I definitely do love my iPhone! ;)

I think the DVR should have a high place on the list. It has changed how we watch television.
I also think we can add GPS devices...I used to have five maps folded up in my car until these gadgets became available.

well, i really wanted to nominate iPod, but iPhone has become most reliable gadget i own, beating my Win 7 laptop (my iPhone does not freeze randomly, connects to ANY wifi, its much quicker to check mail on it etc.) so yes, iPhone is for me gadget of the decade

Naah, the cellphone in genera is the gadget of the century. Smartphones combined that with the Internet and iPhone made it usable. But still the big change for lifestyle for all of humanity (even poor folks in Africa) manifested in one gadget is the cellphone.

@Microcosmos: Apple gained a worldwide market with the iPod. Their computer lines have nowhere near the same level of penetration. The iPhone 3G was their second product for the worldwide market, in part because they are often distributed by carriers. However, 3G smartphones are strictly products for the developed world. Also, they're expensive, both to purchase and to use. They make a lot of money, but you can't sell them everywhere.
I would hesitate to call the iPhone the gadget of the decade. The iPhone 3G is less than two years old, and as big as an impact it has had so far, it's so far from being done having an impact that it doesn't seem right to say that it has had the most impact in the past 10 years. I don't even think I would call the smartphone generically the gadget of the decade.
I would have to agree that the DVR may be it. The DVR did a lot of things that were not always great. But ultimately it led the way for online streaming video (Hulu, Netflix) and the explosion of video torrenting by changing the way we watch TV and changing the value of TV advertising. Time shifting and place shifting were a big part of the last 10 years.
Time shifting and place shifting of video content are also a main focus of the smartphone/3G evolution going on today. Whereas, the smartphone and cellular networking scene of which the iPhone 3G is a part is really just getting going. So, I think the question could be, will the iPhone be the gadget of the next decade? Or will there be something even more useful and later essential in our vision of technology than an internet connected phone?

I think the iPod Touch was the gadget of the decade. It has a lot of the benefits of the iPhone, but many fewer of the headaches (cost, slowness, etc.). I agree with Microcosmos, above.

The gadget of the decade was definitely the Razr. There are still more Razr's than iPhone and iPod touch's in the universe. If it wasn't for the Razr's popularity At and t wouldn't have never signed off on the iPhone deal.

When classifying a gadget of the decade. I think it would be better to classify a type of gadget. So for me the Smartphone overall, is the gadget of the decade. Game changers would be:
-Treo (first true smartphone and convergence devices)
-BlackBerry (revolutionized mobile e-mail delivery and convergence)
-iPhone (put it all together and revolutionized smartphones merging the iPod functionality with a game changing Touch UI, shout out to multitouch, accelerometer, app store etc.)bringing us a great overall mobile device and user experience.

Unquestionably it is the Razr as gadget of the decade, well over 110 million units in hands for just a phone (comparative to the iphone) and paved the way for making cell phones sleek and sexy.
Still today you can easily find Razrs still in service or being sold to this day, this is one of the gadgets along with the iPod that help absolutely change the industry.

The breakdown seems to be following Age lines.
Young (guessing less than 27) think the ipod is the be-all and end-all gadget, because music is so important to that age group.
Those older, old enough to actually remember the prior decade, and a time before cell phones seem to go for Cell Phones in general or the Razr in specific.

I think so, but don't overlook Bluetooth. It has grown in functionality along with smartphones and will continue to evolve to make are phones, music, keyboards, ect. more wireless

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