1. Apple releases a mobile phone
Why it didn’t make sense: If Apple releasing the iPod music player in 2001 was not enough of a surprise, the computer vendor took the unprecedented step of releasing its own mobile phone, the iPhone, years later. Ignoring the fact that Apple was a PC company that had no past experience with telephony, the mobile market was already dominated by industry heavyweights such as Nokia, RIM, Motorola and others. These companies also had their entire operation dedicated to the development, manufacture, sale and marketing of phones. Even though Apple had shown some diversity by releasing a music player, the decision to release an Apple branded mobile phone came completely out of left field and did not make sense at the time.
The result: Since its introduction in 2007 in the US and in 2008 in the rest of the world, the iPhone has gone on to sell 250 million units. It has also single-handedly kickstarted the “smartphone” revolution, a momement where users are able to do more on their phone than they could in the past, such as browsing the Internet and checking email. While Apple’s move to release a mobile phone was surprising when it was first announced, it was the result of remarkable foresight, as the company was expecting the music player business, where it already dominated with the iPod and iTunes, to eventually converge with the mobile phone business.