About Apple mobiles
Apple have revolutionised how we use our mobile phones with their hugely successful iPhone range backed up by its App store. The ease of their touch screen interface brought new possibilities and won over consumers to become industry leaders
The world's most valuable technology firm and America's biggest company didn't get into the phone business until 2007, but when it did it transformed it: the iPhone changed our expectations of what mobile phones can do and gave rivals a very big fright. Today Apple makes three models of iPhone - the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S - and the next generation iPhone is expected to go on sale in September.
Apple doesn't have the lion's share of the phone market, but it does make the lion's share of the profits, and its recent strategy of dropping the price of the outgoing model when a new one comes out has expanded the iPhone's numbers dramatically. Its not so secret weapon isn't the hardware, though: it's the apps. Apple's policy of letting everybody update their operating system for free when a new version ships means that 80% of iOS users are on the most recent version, enabling developers to write apps that work on the vast majority of iPhones.
As a result Apple's App Store is the envy of the smartphone world with more apps, more downloads and more money changing hands than on any other platform.
History of Apple mobile phones
Incorporated in 1977, Apple was a pioneer in the emerging world of personal computing before badly losing its way in the early 1990s. The return of mercurial founder Steve Jobs in 1997 was the beginning of an extraordinary purple patch that saw Apple rise again, releasing beautiful products that, depending on your perspective, were either hugely influential or widely ripped off.
Apple was a computer company, but in 2001 it released something that would transform the company and the entertainment industry: the iPod. It wasn't the first digital music player but Apple perfected the formula, and it wasn't long before digital music meant iPods and rival players barely got a look-in. Rather than milk the iPod for all it was worth, however, Steve Jobs decided to create the device he knew would ultimately kill it: the phone. Apple didn't wait for someone else to make a great phone with a great music player; it did it itself. The result was 2007's iPhone, which some rivals - such as RIM, makers of the BlackBerry - thought was a hoax. It wasn't, and the iPhone went on to destroy many phone firms' market share.
The original iPhone didn't have an App Store - Jobs thought developers could just create websites and users would save the bookmarks - but that changed with 2008's iPhone 3G and the new App Store. To date, the App Store has shifted some 30 billion downloads across 650,000 different apps - raising some $5 billion for app developers. Since 2008 Apple has been on a yearly release cycle for iPhones: the iPhone 3GS appeared in 2008, the iPhone 4 in 2010 and the iPhone 4S in 2011. An iPhone 5 is expected to go on sale in late 2012.