5 things that Apple killed and helped technology move forward

Whether you like Apple or not, it's hard to argue that the company takes some bold risks and does certain things years before the competition dares to do them.

The list of features, ports and drives that Apple is killed is probably longer than similar achievements of all its Windows rivals combined, but since we're a mobile-first website, we were curious to reminisce and look back at the things that seemed like a necessity, an indispensable part of the phone and mobile computing experience that Apple killed.

Of course, that is a walk back further down memory lane, back to the original iPhone in many ways, but also a thing to give you more perspective when you are contemplating whether or not Apple was right to remove the 3.5mm headset jack in modern times. Of course, the particular reason why Apple kills a particular feature differs, but there is one common motif: the company is doing this to advance the future of technology in the way that it imagines it.

Here are the five key steps it took in mobile, the 5 technologies that Apple killed for this grand idea.

#1: The stylus as a necessity

Related dates and productsThe original iPhone in 2007 with its multi-touch display and finger-optimized iOS 


Steve Jobs was an outspoken person. In a world of corporate mumbo-jumbo, he spoke frankly and without meaningless fluff. That's why you should not be surprised that in times when mobile devices featured stylus not for artistic reasons, but to control the everyday experience, he was short and adamant: "if you see a stylus, they blew it."

A huge part of the appeal of the original iPhone and then the iPad was the fact that both used a very precise multi-touch display that one could easily navigate with their fingers. Apple did the tough job of also writing iOS in a completely finger-friendly manner. This huge undertaking showed how much more efficient can a smartphone experience be. From there on, it took a couple of years for others to catch up, but eventually they did and the stylus-as-a-necessity concept faded away into history. Good riddance!

#2: The 'button phone'

Related dates and products: The original iPhone in 2007 with its multi-touch display and finger-optimized iOS

Steve Ballmer's reaction to the original iPhone is probably the single most shared moment that represents the old versus new clash, the modern versus outdated. There, Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft at the time, laughs the iPhone off and says that it will not appeal to business customers because it does not have a keyboard.

Mr. Ballmer should have probably first used the iPhone more extensively before making a fool out of himself, but while he could ignore reality at the time, he could not ignore the consequences of reality a few years later. Then, Microsoft was practically forced to enter the market, which it did too late with its Windows Phone platform, with phones that mostly did not have a physical keyboard. These days, the concept of a physical keyboard on a phone feels antique and inadequate, and for most, it's also been a good riddance.

#3: Software shipping in physical boxes

Related dates and products: Apple App Store launch in 2008 brought the times of centralized, easy online app distribution

Most of you, our readers, probably have never in their life bough a piece of software in a box. Ask most cool kids around, and they'd tell you that it makes no sense when you can just press the 'buy' / 'download' buttons on your phone or computer.

Just 8 years ago, though, there were no web application stores that would sell popular apps around. Apple first introduced the App Store some 8 years ago, in 2008, and not too long after Android followed suit with the Android Market that eventually was renamed into the Google Play Store. Microsoft was the last to make its app store with the Windows Marketplace.

At the end of the day, some 8 years after the original Apple App Store, it's hard to imagine going back to ordering software and shipping it in boxes. It's another thing that Apple killed and that was a great riddance.

#4: Forcing users to deal with task managers

Related dates and products: iOS released in 2007 signaled a world where task managers are no longer a necessity

Computers back in the day were not something for the general public. We probably don't need to tell you, but some ten years ago, the worst thing about buying a computer as a gift to your parents or girlfriend was that you were effectively signing a long-year contract about also becoming their tech support. And this was no surprise: having to deal with task managers, terminals and so on is no easy task and for the computer illiterate was innerving and frustrating.

Apple's iPhone bet on simplicity: "in multitasking, if you see a task manager... they blew it. Users shouldn't ever have to think about it." The famous quote belongs to Steve Jobs, and these days is also repeated as a mantra for modern operating systems, including Android. Getting effectively rid of the need for dealing with a task manager is another great achievement of Apple in the mobile space.

#5: Floppy disks, CD / DVD disks, etc

Related dates and products: iMac in 1997 kills the floppy drive, Macbook Air in 2008 kills the CD / DVD drive

Last but not least, Apple is known as the company that killed the floppy disk, the CD / DVD drive, and seems to be aiming towards the death of USB flash drives. The death of the floppy drive started in 1997, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and unveiled the streamlined new iMac that has a CD / DVD drive, but lacked a standard-for-the-times floppy drive. The next big step came in early 2008 with the introduction of the razor thin Macbook Air, a laptop for the masses that lacked a CD / DVD drive.

These days, some laptops still ship with a CD / DVD drive, but that's mostly seen as a thing of the past, a relic that the market has to get over very soon. Having lived in an Apple-driven world of less drives, though, has made us more comfortable with a wireless transfer system that promises to be the staple of future phones.



1. limporgyuk

Posts: 369; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

I thought you guys would be trying to get away from the iphonearena stigma. How much $ did you get for this article? Now back to GSMarena

8. Victor.H

Posts: 1076; Member since: May 27, 2011

Millions. I just got a new Porsche off of your comment :) On a more serious note, I'd love to hear some constructive criticism if you have it, that's always taken into account.

9. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Lol the only funny part is that you say you got money off of it. Sadly you ruin your own reputation for the benefit of your corporate overlords.

10. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

So what lies were told in this article? I don't agree with all the directions Apple are taking of late, especially headphone jack and the new Macbook's lack of connection etc but this is still a factual piece.

44. sgodsell

Posts: 7423; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Victor H. You mentioned getting rid of the task manager. It never really went away. However it has evolved. iPhones are really task switchers. Windows, OS/X, Android, and many others offers true multitasking. If you offer real multitasking, then the next step is multi-window, or split screen. For instance all Android Nougat devices now offer split screen. Sure I know a number of Android devices before offered some kind of multi window or split screen before on smartphones, but now it is official. iPhones most likely are going to add split screens in the future. They have it on iPads already, so it will likely come to iPhones as well.

25. AlikMalix unregistered

Do you guys get tired of these comments? I mean EVERY.NEUTRAL.OR.POSITIVE.APPLE.ARTICLE there are several "you're paid by Apple", "iphonearena" conspiracy theorists, or ("SamsungArena" also). Can Apple not do anything right or good in their eyes?

27. kiko007

Posts: 7499; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Do you guys get tired of these comments?" Haha, no. These are the dudes who still bring up Antenna gate whenever possible, just because. Apple is an "evil company" (stupid AF....) to them, so shouting the same things comes as naturally as breathing. God forbid they have to think of new insults.....what a train wreck that would be.

29. AlikMalix unregistered

I'm actually convinced that techie is somehow commissioned by Samsung or some affiliate. I'm not trying to insult him, if this is how he makes money - more power to him. But his posts have so many half-truths, and purposely avoids positives from apple products (just like a Samsung commercial) His posts take time to write and they don't seem like copy-and-paste from before (even though they're the same damn thing every time). I dont know any working adult who would have that much time on their hands trying to prove (or care to prove) unless their getting some sort of compensation.

39. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Well Apple is not doing anything right lately. But they did some right things before, Trying hard to cover the present with the past, is nothing but pathetic. Of course it raises some questions, too.

42. gustavoace

Posts: 187; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

#1 apple pen is a fancy stylus, with nice features, but the same idea. So they don't killed the idea, they just made it their way. #2 this is really a game changing feature. I do remember my Nokia xpress music, which was nice, but the touch was WAY better on the iphone. No comparison. For years, no one had a such refined touchscreen as apple. #3 Well, Steam has been selling games without physical media before 2008. And they sold more Source games than apple sold any of its softwares. So I believe that they follow the trend set by some software only companies. #4 In a post about technology moving forward, this is nonsense. This could be true for mobile (but I dont remember windows mobile 6 enough to say if it has a task manager). My copy of macOS sierra still have a System Monitor (a gnome-system-monitor to be honest) by default, so they just dont implement anything similar on the mobile, but they still use it on desktops and laptops. #5 this last one, I have my doubts. Apple had a very small market share by 1997 (they still have, anyway) to set trend on the market. When you have 95%+ of users as windows had then, you just set the rules, as bad as they are. So you're probably right, but I doubt that Apple's move was that important.

49. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

I think Steam came out in 2003/2004 which in my opinion beat Apple to online software distribution, but I'm sure Valve, wasn't the first, that's just what came to mind.

51. Brewski

Posts: 706; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

"Most of you, our readers, probably have never in their life bough a piece of software in a box." (Should be *bought, typos are way too common on this site...) How old do you think we are? I remember installing software that took multiple 9" floppy disks because it was so large but the media couldn't hold it all in one disk. I still install OS via thumbdrive because it is easy and I can take it anywhere and install it on anything without needing a network connection. Also, "Forcing users to deal with task managers"!?!?!?!?! Are you freaking kidding me!?!?!?!? This is one of the major gripes I have with Apple software. As a system administrator you have no idea how frustrating it is when I can't even access the files ON MY OWN DEVICE in an easy way. I would say being forced to access your files via a proprietary piece of software (iTunes) is idiotic and cumbersome. When I want a file on my Android/Windows/Linux device, I go straight to it and copy/paste/edit or manipulate it however I want.

2. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

"Mr. Ballmer should have probably first used the iPhone more extensively before making a fool out of himself". Many of the readers of this site are exactly like Mr. Ballmer in that regard.

6. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Mr. Ballmer was a competitor and had to down play a new entrant. Most of the users of this site have probably tried an iPhone and smartly, many have chosen the better option of Android.

11. libra89

Posts: 2289; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Lol @ "smartly, many have chosen the better option of Android". Better is subjective, but choice is awesome. Isn't it great that we have OS choices? To me, each of the OSes have pros and cons. It's just up to the user which one they prefer and can live with. iOS is great for me but missing the customization is generally what gets me. At the same time, having the right Android phone makes a big difference in your experience.

15. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Competition is good but not for the sake of competition only. You can like whatever you like subjectively but there are objective metrics by which most things can be measured and Android devices are now ahead by most metrics.

18. kiko007

Posts: 7499; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"but there are objective metrics by which most things can be measured and Android devices are now ahead by most metrics." Every "objective" measurement says otherwise. The iPhone still sells more units than any single model. The iPhone still benchmarks better than ANY Android flagship. Lastly, Apple makes over 100% of the profits! That doesn't happen in an "objective" scenario.

30. AlikMalix unregistered

Kiko, you have to explain to these people that when we mention "sales" it means that what they're saying is wrong and that people enjoy iPhones by huge numbers. Sale numbers determine which device consumers prefer for price and value. Otherwise, they knowingly still divert to the dumb "what do you care what Apple profits" retorts. In this argument where people choose value and experience - iPhone wins.

32. kiko007

Posts: 7499; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

True that......should specify for clarity.

45. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Right, that's why iPhones sell less than Android phones in practically every nation on Earth. Macs sell far less than Windows based laptops and desktops, so MacOS must suck. So by your logic....the majority of humanity really doesn't like Apple's stuff.

47. AlikMalix unregistered

"iPhones sell less than Android". Can you twist your logic any worse? That's like saying ford sells less cars than the rest of car companies together!!! Yes, Apple does sell less phones than all of android manufacturers together!! But even iPhone 5c sold more than any android phone during that time. So it's fair to say that more people prefer the iPhone 5c than they do Note 4!!! (By your logic). And now more people prefer Apple Watch than any other watch. And they prefer iPhone 7 more than any other device!!!! (By your logic).

21. tedkord

Posts: 17397; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's great to have OS choices, but a duopoly of choices isn't all that great. Yes, there are other Android forks, but they're very small and still Android. WP is essentially dead. Tizen is great on the smartwatches, but hasn't taken off on phones. We need at least a third major player. A fourth would be nice, too.

40. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Mr, Jobs did even more stupid evaluations and predictions, but yet, for the media he is a 'great visionist'

3. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Wow, how much do they pay you for this drivel? The stylus as a necessity? It was never a necessity and mostly professional devices even had it. Even Apple has a stylus now for their iPads. The button phones are still selling and iFans keep clamoring for a physical button ironically enough. Software shipping in the box was killed by the Internet not Apple. But according to iPA, Saint Steve probably invented the Internet so maybe that counts in their world. Task managers weren't and still aren't in the user realm, but they are a nice option to have. CD/DVD drive was killed by the Internet, not Apple but once again, iFans like to think so to justify having to swallow the lack of a headphone jack (which is apparently courage and not stupidity). Seriously, stop making this site such a joke. All these clickbait articles, retarded ads everywhere (thank you ad blockers) and authors with no editing ability.

7. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

You epitomize what I just wrote, in that you react to anything Apple related with half-azzed replies that show you don't understand the subject; The buttons being talked about in the article are PHYSICAL KEYBOARD BUTTONS NOT A HOME BUTTON.

17. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

But you're better because you seem to praise anything they do. If that isn't the case, when have you ever had anything bad to say in the past about them. I like Android, but it's not perfect, and neither is iOS or Apple.

28. AlikMalix unregistered

VZ, what if every direction Apple takes works for ctdog? It's not impossible. I understand and enjoy apples direction and choices for iPhones. I haven't used a wired headphone in about two years (untangling them every damn time 10-20 times a day is so annoying). Same with their UI layout, design of iOS, support, services, and integration - which are all done differently on android. VZ, I critisiaze hos comments when they're unnecessarily negative toward android/Samsung/and especially users. but he enjoys iOS/iPhone fully and you basically just told him that "he's wrong for doing that". FF is a true Apple troll - I've just started ignoring his comments, as well as his other buddies, techie, horse, and etc. The worst is when they all troll the users (both sides) calling them some derogatory s**t, or try to be clever and indirectly calling them dumb because their phone can do this and that and the others should be smart enough to get that phone (wth?). Anyways, tldr: what if ctdog, truest likes everything about the iPhone he's using?

34. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Regarding your 4th paragraph, that's irrational logic. Just because someone doesn't share the same views with you doesn't make them whatever crap you call them. FF made his rebuttal to this article, problem? You're the same thing you call him to be, just on a different side.

35. kiko007

Posts: 7499; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"FF made his rebuttal to this article, problem?" Yes.......do you know what a rebuttal ACTUALLY is? Of course you don't....

36. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

If someone thinks everything that a company does is gold, then they're most likely in denial. I'm sorry but that would mean all they put out is perfect products. And I could see someone putting out one someone thinks is perfect, but every one? That's a bit hard to swallow. And ctdog has done the same things you say FF does. Yet you're defending him on this. I'm not defending FF in this case, but I've at least seen him say some critical things about Android before. That at least tells me he's not a blind fanatic at least in terms of Android. Maybe you think he's an anti fanboy in regards to Apple, I dont know. You and a few others who are Apple fans I can have decent and thought provoking conversations with on subjects, Apple or otherwise. But pretty much every post I've seen from ctdog has been aggressive and derogatory towards someone or a group. Maybe if everyone took it down a notch this wouldn't be an issue.

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