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Apple's iPhone is most influential gadget ever, says TIME

TIME Magazine named Apple's iPhone the most influential gadget of all time in a list published Tuesday, which included a variety of tech products from the likes of Sony, IBM, HP and other big-name players.




Picked by TIME editors, the "50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time" runs the gamut of tech products, from home computers to game consoles to portable electronics. A few of the companies —and most devices —are no longer in existence, but their impact has rippled through to industry contemporaries, some of which made it on the list themselves.

While iPhone sits in the No. 1 spot, the honor actually goes to Apple's mobile ecosystem. The device itself introduced millions to what is generally considered to be the first viable smartphone platform, but more impactful was the 2008 launch of Apple's App Store for iPhone OS (rebranded iOS in 2010).

"The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work, and complete many everyday tasks," TIME writes, adding that iPhone marked a fundamental shift in computing.

Apple's original Macintosh and iPod also made the top 10, coming in at No. 3 and No. 9, respectively. Sony scored two top-5 spots with the No. 2 Trinitron television set and No. 4 Walkman, a device on which iPod iterated. Two more Apple devices were deemed influential enough for inclusion on the list, with the iPad sitting at No. 25 and iBook at No. 38.

Coming in fifth was IBM's Model 5150, followed by the Victrola record player, Regency TR-1 transistor radio and Kodak Brownie camera. Hitachi's Magic Wand massager-cum-vibrator rounded out the top 10.

Perhaps most interesting for Apple fans are the product categories and technologies iPhone effectively rendered obsolete, had a hand in killing or assimilated as value-added functionality. For example, Palm's Pilot PDA made the list, as did the BlackBerry 6210 and Nokia's 3210 candybar cellphone. TomTom's first GPS, JVC's VideoMovie Camcorder and Motorola's Bravo pager also ranked. Apple's iOS swooped in and gobbled up a large chunk of Nintendo's portable gaming market —represented in the list by Game Boy —though the Japanese brand is still mostly alive.

Apple's influence can be seen elsewhere on TIME's top 50 in competing devices like Motorola's Droid, which was included for its role in popularizing Google's Android operating system. Connected devices like the Nest Learning Thermostat and Fitbit wearables also made the cut.

The list also serves as a reminder that Apple still has room to innovate. The Jerrold cable box landed in 33rd place.