Quora Answer : Will the iPhone be viewed as historically important, and if so, to what degree in comparison to other inventions of historical significance?
Not very important in the grand historical scheme of things. Utterly trivial compared to the invention of the telephone or the personal computer.
A lot less significant than either the Apple I or the first mobile phone.
Somewhat less significant than the rise of Amazon, Google, Facebook etc.
Marginally less significant than the Mac.
It will arguably be seen as one of the definitive consumer gadgets of the 2000s in that it :
- popularized multi-touch (the first significant new UI element since the mouse / windows system)
- popularized the app. store (thus creating a new software market distinct from the paradigms of the 80s (desktop) and 90s (web-service))
The second of these is likely to be a significant nail in Microsoft's coffin, as M$ seems unable to adapt to an app-store world ( http://platformwars.blogspot.com/2010/07/question-why-hell-dont-microsoft-have.html ) And I'm happy to bet that in 5 years time, iOS and Android devices (as opposed to Windows / Mac derivatives) will be our normal way to access the internet and do personal computing work.