The software distribution revolution

By Razib Khan | December 6, 2009 5:39 pm

Apple’s Game Changer, Downloading Now:

The way the industry once operated, “Each handset company would come up with its latest iterations and maybe have the hottest device of the season or not,” says Ms. Huberty, the Morgan Stanley analyst. “Enter apps into the equation, and that changes. It goes from being a product cycle game to a platform game.”
“People will look back on the iPhone as a turning point in the industry,” says Craig Moffett, a telecom analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein. “The iPhone will be remembered as the first true handheld computer.

  • Brian X

    “the first true handheld computer”? The hell? How is this yutz defining “computer”?

  • ET

    The “yutz” is probably defining computer in the context of processing power, software, and communications functionality. Sounds like a computer to me! The iPhone, Droid and the like have 100X more power and software functionality than the PC’s of 20 years ago, and another order of magnitude greater power and functionality of the PC’s just 10 years prior to that. I know, I sold VisiCalc for CPM O/S PC’s when it was the only generalized PC software package in the world other than a few accouting programs. Yep, these little handheld wonders are super computers actually.

  • Peter Lund

    I think Brian’s beef was not so much with the word “computer” but with the words “first” and “true”. I know mine is.

  • Alan of Oz

    Ignoring mechanical devices such as the astrolabe and abacus I would have thought something like the HP-35 was “the first true handheld computer” available to the general public. But I agree with the point about platform vs product.
    I also remeber using visicalc and wordstar and agree with ET, cray supercomputers from the late 70’s ran at 80mhz with less that 100MB of RAM. Compared to that an iPhone is indistinguishable from magic.

  • Moopheus

    “I would have thought something like the HP-35 was “the first true handheld computer” available to the general public.”
    I was going to say the 41C–alphanumeric keyboard, expandable memory, card reader, modem, printer interface, video interface, a pretty complete system if you were willing to spend some money on accessories. Admittedly it was less handholdable if you added all that stuff. But indeed, the iphone will be remembered as the first handheld computer by those who were just forgetting about everything that came before.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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