that's the game apple plays. they take what other companies have already created and turn a couple unique tricks, and slap a pretty gui on top of it all, and they say that they were the ones that invented it.
virtual desktops -> OS X spaces
konfabulator & co. -> dashboard
CVS and SVN -> time machine
many mp3 players predated even the original ipod
multi-touch has already been under development at many research labs, operating independantly of apple
touch-screen and multimedia cellphones are not at all uncommon
don't get me wrong, i think the iphone is an impressive piece of hardware, and apple has struck a few chords by putting existing
hardware together in this particular combination. the only thing that i see as problematic is how apple showboats its products (as of late) as if they single-handedly did everything themselves.
in terms of forecasting, apple fanboys will flock to the iphone, which will put a serious dent in the existing telecom market (at least the GSM market). t-mobile will feel the hurt until people start unlocking their phones, and verizon and sprint are just plain out of luck. other manufacturers (sony ericsson, nokia, motorola, samsung, etc) will also feel the burn, since they will lose some market share, and will also have a new major
competitor when it comes to buying supplies of chips.
if proof is in the pudding, did anyone see Apple's stock peak today, while RIMM and PALM (blackberry and treo, respectively) dropped? take a look
and see what's in store.