In hindsight there is little doubt that the first iPhone paved the way for a whole new smartphone experience, and it is often attributed to have started the “computer first, phone second” trend. But when you analyze what it actually brought to the table you see that it its main improvement, (software wise) compared to what was available then, was the vastly superior web browser. Beyond the browser it was actually one and often two steps backwards in several important areas for a device that was presumably a “computer first”.
Both Windows Mobile and Symbian were [beyond the browser] much more capable and resembled more a “mobile computer”; sure, the overall performance on WM was abysmal and its multitasking, though present, was virtually unavailable to the user unless you installed some third party app. But with both WM and Symbian you could do and had “basic” features that you would take for granted in a “mobile computer”:
-copy & paste
-a user accessible file system
-use you phone as a USB drive / drag & drop files between PC and phone
-user replaceable memory cards
-installing applications from any source, as opposed to a single “app store”
Given all the features the first versions of the iPhone was missing, can you blame Nokia for thinking that the iPhone/iOS was not a threat to them? I myself classified the iPhone as a smartphone (just barely) only starting from version 4 of iOS, when it gained the limited multitasking – prior to that it was simply a “smart dumbphone”; heck, the “phone second” bit seemed to refer more to the missing basic phone features of the first iPhone (no MMS and 3G) than to it actually resembling a computer.
However, you expect a lot more from a “mobile computer” than from a “smartphone”, and as such both iOS and Windows Phone fall way short – there is absolutely no way you can classify either one of them as “mobile computers” out of the box (i.e. without jailbreaking/hacking it). That is one of the reasons I am excited about the Nokia N9 as it is currently the device that, by the looks of it, most resembles a computer in your pocket.
But in the [not] long run I do want a true mobile computer that will give me the same freedom and capabilities as my desktop computer, which I why I am looking forward to see what Windows 8 is all about as it presumably will truly bring the PC to the phone; of course, if MeeGo or Canonical could come up with something before or around that same time, then that would be even more interesting.