While it almost seems hard to believe, it was just five years ago today that the first iPhones were sold. I remember the enormous amount of people lined up outside of Apple Stores eagerly waiting for their new device. It was easy to understand the hype of the device, but what many did not predict would be the way it would shape our behaviors and give birth to an entire industry.
The iPhone itself is a game changer, few could deny that, but much like iTunes was the real power behind the iPod, the App Store has been the big game changer for our industry.
We didn’t all immediate realize the power of the App Store, in fact my partners wrote an interesting post in 2009 about how little revenue Apple was making from apps. But today, we have seen companies emerge as App providers and other that have started as popular Apps and then expand to other platforms. Rovio, makers of Angry Birds, Pulse*, Instagram, Uber and Foursquare are just a few examples of companies that have seen incredible success as mobile apps.
In addition, the iPhone has played a big role in reducing the friction for consumers to use products from businesses that were previously web-centric such as TaskRabbit*, LivingSocial* and GrubHub* as well as retailers like Gilt. These companies not only built better customer engagement through the iPhone but also attracted new users who discovered the brand for the first time on a mobile device.
Despite all of these early successes, the market is still in its infancy in many ways. While it may seem that everyone we know has an iPhone or Android device, Nielson recently reported that only about 50 percent of US consumers have a smartphone today. As that number grows, the audience and demand for new applications and types of mobile solutions will grow too.
For my part, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to watch the market emerge and evolve and help companies take advantage of this amazing platform.
*Lightspeed portfolio companies
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