There's a great recap from the MWC about the mobile industry responses to the iPhone over at MocoNews, with some thoughts from major manufacturers about the device, including this one from the VP for Europe of HTC:
I think we benefited from the big marketing effort - all the attention, especially directed at consumers, to change their perception of what a phone should be.
I've been trying to put my finger on this sentiment for months now. Apple created an incredible product in the iPhone - it's a great device and an undeniable home run which lived up to its hype. But the most important thing they did doesn't have to do with their technical or aesthetic innovations, it's the fact they were able to market the device in such a way that convinced consumers this is how all phones should be.
Maybe there was pent up demand for this sort of thing, or maybe Apple was indeed the first company to do it "right", but what's for certain is they've spurred a new level of interest in high-end phones that wasn't there previously. Like I posted a month or so ago, no one questions the idea of having the web on their phone any more - but it's more than that - no one questions the idea of having *everything* on their phone any more.
Here's a link to an MP3 of the mobile panel at the first Web 2.0 conference in 2004. At the end of the session, you can hear Jeff Jarvis asking about the idea that mobile phones would become the next iPod for consuming media (he was right) and I addressed the question (in my nervous, blathering way I have in front of large groups). After I explained that I suspected that broadband would make on-demand content more popular that podcasts (hasn't happened yet), I also expressed the conviction that convergence would make your phone into your iPod, camera, videos, etc. since I did that already, and the response from someone was that not everyone was like me. That's honestly stuck with me since.
Well, now that's changed. It only took about 3 years, but it happened. The fact is though, without Apple's genius at marketing and promotion and buzz we might all still be waiting for it! That's why Nokia, Samsung and others are all happy about Apple's efforts. Apple could have just as easily launched the iPod Shuffle of mobile phones and spent the past year marketing "simple mobility" or some such, but they didn't, and instead launched a campaign that educated consumers to the benefits of an advanced converged mobile device. That was a great thing for the whole mobile market.
This is probably something I should have realized a long time ago, but I was so absorbed with focusing on the details of the iPhone, I missed the big picture. I feel like I figured it out now, which makes me happy.