Benedict Evans, an analyst for venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, compared the first iPhone to the first modern battleship, the HMS Dreadnought in an interesting blog post on Wednesday.
The first iPhone, which came out in 2007, and the Dreadnought, which came out in 1906, were remarkably similar, Evans says.
Like the HMS Dreadnought, the iPhone didn’t introduce anything radically new. It combined some key features into one groundbreaking device.
The iPhone also jump-started smartphone evolution in the same way that the Dreadnought spawned a flurry of new battleships seeking to gain an edge.
That is, before the Dreadnought, all battleships were about equal. Whoever had the most of them was the most powerful navy. But as soon as it came out, all those previous advantages went away.
Same with the iPhone and personal computers.
Evans points out that battleships disrupted military tech from a cost perspective. When battleships gave way to aircraft carriers Britain couldn’t afford to keep up and the US gained naval supremacy.
The iPhone disrupted Microsoft’s PC dominance in a similar way.
No one wants to be the next Microsoft, which is why tech companies are constantly developing and buying new products in a quest to blow the status quo out of the water.