Walt Mossberg Names Apple iPhone and iPad among 12 Most Influential Tech Products of the Last 20 Years

Walt MossbergTech writer Walt Mossberg will soon be retiring from the Wall Street Journal. His last tech column was just published online and it is a top list of personal-technology products that Mossberg considers to be the most influential from the past two decades. Not surprisingly, the iPhone and iPad are among the list of products. Interestingly, Mossberg listed five Apple products out of 12 total as being the most influential of the past 20 years.

Mossberg’s guideline for his list included two criteria. First, the products had to improve the ease of use and add value for average consumers. Second, the products changed the course of digital history by influencing the products and services that followed or changed the way people lived and worked.

The first on Mossberg’s list is Apple’s Newton MessagePad. Some might argue it was the first version of what would later become the iPad. Even though the hand-held computer was a complete failure, Mossberg noted that it featured the earliest form of artificial intelligence, something that is now a part of every technological device around today.

Sixth on the list is the iPod. The basic, non-touch digital music player completely and forever changed the way we listen to music today. It wasn’t the first MP3 player on the market, but its prevalence has made nearly all other stand alone digital music devices obsolete.

Mossberg put the iPhone at number nine, calling it “the first truly smart smartphone.” By combining music, Internet, and phone, users could take all of their technology with them wherever they went. Thanks to the iPhone and subsequent smartphones that came on the market, the world has turned computing mobile

The MacBook Air was placed at number 11 for the ultra-thin laptop. It was one of the first computers to replace the hard disk with a solid-state storage. Mossberg considers it the best laptop ever made.

The iPad comes in 12th place. In my opinion, it is the most revolutionary technology product since the invention of the laptop. Mossberg says it “cracked the code” on a failing attempt at getting the tablet market off the ground. Since it launched in 2010, the iPad has quickly worked its way into everyday computing life. Some analysts have predicted that tablet use will dominate personal computing within the decade as more consumers pass up space hogging desktops for the mobile device. If Apple continues to upgrade the iPad with better features each year, it will continue to stay on top of the market and could become the number-one personal computer of the new, mobile age.


About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik