A rising iPhone lifts all complements

Eight years later and, while none of those tactics have benefited direct competitors in the long term, the existence of the iPhone has lifted complementary businesses and created new ones. Horace Dediu, writing for Asymco:

Searching for "iPhone killer" returns millions of hits. It's hard to remember any phone/product/service/platform/initiative/merger/startup which was not at some point considered an iPhone killer. A sampling is offered here.In reality, the killers seem to have all faded away while the iPhone continues. We could just shake our heads and move on, but a deeper analysis is possible. Take a look at the graph above. Note that iPhone's (and hence Apple's) ascent has not caused decline in its nominal competitors. When seen in the context of the graph above, the success of the iPhone has in fact been complementary to those companies who would be its killers.

When Apple hired Google to provide services for the iPhone and Samsung to provide manufacturing, it not only provided significant revenue for both companies but essentially taught them how to make a modern phone. Both used that knowledge to compete with Apple as well, Google with Android and Samsung with Galaxy. Even now, both still have jobs, as a service provider and a manufacturer, and both still earn significant revenue from Apple's customers or from having Apple as a customer.

The graphs Dediu supplies, along with his breakdown of the benefits for everyone from Amazon to Uber are fascinating.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

26 Comments
  • Another android bashing iPhone is almighty article. I'm shocked Rene.
  • Pointing out how Google and Samsung have benefited from the iPhone while still trying to beat it isn't bashing Android. Sent from the iMore App
  • "...but essentially taught them how to make a modern phone." This is baseless statement with no facts or citations to back it up.
  • Unfortunately both articles are loaded with those.
  • Google did an about-face when the iPhone was introduced, and came out with a completely different design than originally planned. Samsung BLATANTLY copied the iPhone. There's your facts. Sent from the iMore App
  • + 1
  • I have iphone 6 and HTC One and it reminds me that apple copied design from HTC...
  • That sentence literally irritated me to the core... He talks as if samsung and Google are some small startups who knows nothing.. Also samsung semiconductors has nothing to do with samsung electronics.. Posted via the iMore App
  • See my above reply. Sent from the iMore App
  • It's pretty much public knowledge - hardly baseless.
  • What was the point of this article? There is no new information here.
  • Is there ever a point to Rene's useless articles? I guess he's reaffirming that iPhone needs Samsung to makes parts for it and needs Google's apps so people don't drive into the ocean or the desert using Apple maps.
  • I think Rene likes the sound of his own voice when he reads back his articles to himself. A little modesty goes a long way.
  • ugh. analysts. the scourge of the internet.
  • It's one of the few jobs (alongside weathermen/women) where you can be blatantly wrong on a consistent basis with little to no consequence.
  • Never thought about analysts that way but we talk about meteorologists like that all the time. Could you imagine your accountant being off as much as people doing the weather? Sent from the iMore App
  • Interesting analysis by the Dediu. However correlation does not equal causality. The fact that there hasn't truly been an iPhone killer could simply be due to the massive shockwave from the mobile explosion over the past 8 years that all OEM's have ridden - there's simply been plenty of marketshare to go around. Therefore, even with the meteoric rise of Samsung and Android across the world, Apple continued to grow. So maybe the media is to blame more than anything else for creating "iphone-killer" hype around certain devices.
  • I don't think many manufacturers actually referred to their own devices as am iPhone killer. I think it was mainly news outlets trying to lure readers in using the phrase as click bait. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Samsung did do the whole "artistic barista" thing though. I actually enjoyed that ad. But yeah, aside from those by Samsung, it's mostly been the press, not the manufacturers.
  • Samsung/Sprint actually used it with the Instinct and I'm pretty sure Blackberry marketed the Storm that way too. I tried both. The Instinct was a decent phone for the time but lacked the Android OS and infrastructure it needed. The Storm 1 was poor software and hardware integration. Constant lookups and random reboots plagued it but the Storm 2 was much better. But, it was doomed because Blackberry.
  • Maybe we will get one article from Rene soon with no mention of Google, Android or Samsung. Maybe, lol. "Taught them how to make a modern smartphone"? Come on. Let it go, lol.
  • I see the René haters are out in force today... Sigh.
  • Where are the metrics on all the money Apple is making on the coat tails and hard work of others? If no one supported Apple like they had or been able to manufacture the components they can't make in their own, iPhone would have likely not had the same profitability as fast as it had. Also, the investment into technologies by companies the likes of Google and BlackBerry and Samsung have allowed Apple to do their small parts. NFC for example has been around for some time in many forms. Even as a payment system it has been around for a while. Apple steered clear of this technology while others laid the groundwork and made it possible for Apple Pay to even exist. Apple owes as much to so many companies and vendors if not more. They take/are given much credit where little is due. While Apple has improved upon some technology or perhaps even changed its direction, the same can easily be said for MS, BlackBerry, Google, and Samsung among countless others. The article makes these companies sound like they offered nothing in terms of advancement in mobile and Apple has done the heavy lifting and allowed others to benefit from it's success. Design without the ability to actually make it makes the original iPhone and all subsequent Apple mobile products pipe dreams by those same standards. Let's take a step back and realize that these numbers are just one small part of a bigger story that cannot be reduced to money in Apple's bank accounts. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I see you haven't taken a look at the graphs... There's clearly a pre 2007 and a post 2007. Apple's implementation of various technologies in order to create the iPhone has been either discarded as nonsense (by BlackBerry, Palm, Motorola, MicroSoft) or has been used as a template (Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Google). And today, that specific implementation of tech (large touchscreen as main input method, sensors galore, wi-fi/cell coordinated operation, BSD Linux variant as an OS - and assorted daemons, fullscreen-custom-UI SW clients) has become ubiquitous. The point of the article (and the research post from which it links) is not to diminish other players in the industry... it is merely demonstrating that there is no such thing as an iPhone-killer. They were myths. They didn't "kill" the iPhone. But since most of them took the iPhone implementation as a template (helped by Google on the OS front), they managed to carve their own space and thrive, or survive (or not) in the market.
  • I believe the same thing will happen with smart watches, but more because of awareness than greatness. I for one had very little interest but now I get it. However, I use Android at work and Apple Watch is limited benefit, so will be a Pebble or Android Wear or something (assuming rumoured iOS app comes out).
  • I used to come to this website to know about cool new apps and games etc also interesting articles from Peter.
    Peter is doing his job as usually but Rene is doing Marketing for Apple I don't know why ? And half the website is filled with how to use this and that on Apple Watch last time I checked Apple products don't come with manual because they were user friendly ...