What is Telecommunications? Is it the traditional carriers who provide the pipes to move data or the myraid of software companies creating mobile apps? Before the iPhone, Apple was a PC company—but today, they are a dominant part of the global wireless telecommunication ecosystem. How did that happen? Why didn't other PC companies not see that opportunity—or any of the major wireless or wireline service providers? Can Microsoft still be regarded as a software company since the acqusition of Nokia?
Years ago, the conversational question was, "what is the killer app?" That question is still relevant. The insight that players missed, then and now, is that the answer changes with time and is dependent on an invisible hand—what customers want and need, even when they don't know the answer. It is the consumer preferences that made Apple successful. Yes, the iPhone created industry disruption but the real story is that they made mobile truly mobile, friendly and gave it style.
Going forward, it is not about the phone or apps—it is about how to improve people's private and business lives in the digital economy. The technology will take care of itself, it always does.