The Many Ideas That Led To The Modern-Day Smart Phone: Chart

I came across an interesting chart while reading a research paper on innovation multipliers by Vanguard. The study notes that the smart phone is based on hundreds of ideas or patents that were invented before. This is surprising indeed. For the average user it looks the smart phone was invented from scratch just a few years ago. But that is not the case. Some of the features that are in a smart phone today were invented many decades ago all the way back to 1960s.

The below chart shows the number of patents referenced in the original iPhone development by Apple(AAPL):

Click to enlarge

Source: Megatrends – The Idea Multiplier: An acceleration in innovation is coming, Vanguard

An excerpt from the study:

The creation of the modern-day smart phone, for example, relied on hundreds of previous discoveries, many outside of the United States, in fields ranging from automatic data compression to zooming functionality (see Figure 5). A key component of all modern-day smart phones is the alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass used on the touch screen. This innovation was developed in the 1960s but had little practical use until the consumer electronics industry experimented with the chemically strengthened glass in the mid-2000s (Gardiner, 2012).

The entire paper is a fascinating read.

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