Second acts should not be taken for granted, although encores are too often expected.
Apple has yet to make that mistake as a company and its unlikely to do so with the new iPhone, even though company devotees and tech-heads are clamoring for a suped-up, 3G version of the digital device, which isn't really about telephony.
As our resident tech guru and Tech Check blogger Jim Goldman notes, "the iPhone has been a mobile media player from the day it was conceived ... and a faster network will spur faster adoption of the product and generate booming sales." (We're not talking speed dialing here.)
The iPhone was different from the start -- partly because it looked different, very different --and represented a significant step in the relentless evolution of wireless devices. For a better appreciation of that Darwinian process, check out Web producer Oliver Quillia's slideshow on the history of those devices.
Apple -- and founder/CEO Steve Jobs -- also have a Darwinian side to their stories -- from living on the verge of extinction (or failure) to an ability to adapt and reinvent.
That's more than evident both the history of the company and the career of Jobs. Here's some highlights.
1972: Jobs meets Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak at Hewlett-Packard while serving a summer internship.
1975: Jobs and Wozniak begin working on the first Apple computer in Jobs' bedroom.
1976: Apple Computer is founded by Wozniak, Jobs and Ron Wayne, who designed the company's first logo.
1977: Apple is incorporated and releases Apple 1.
1980: Apple goes public.
1983: John Sculley, former president of PepsiCo, becomes CEO and president.
1984: Macintosh is released.
1985 Wozniak leaves, while Sculley and Jobs battle over the direction of the company amid deep losses; the board backs Sculley, who later strips Jobs of all operational responsibilities, but who remains on as chairman; Jobs officially resigns, revealing plans to start a new company with the help of five departing employees; share price tumbles.
1986: A legal battle ends with Jobs agreeing not to hire Apple employees for six months and not to build competitive computers to Apple's; Jobs founds NeXT and buys the Pixar computer animation studios from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas.
1988: NeXT's first computer is released.
1993: Apple releases the Newton MessagePad, the first PDA, which disappoints; Michael Spindler becomes CEO, after departure of Sculley, who remains chairman; share price tumbles.
1994: Apple releases first Power Macintosh desktop computers.
1995: Walt Disney releases Pixar's first movie Toy Story.
1996 NeXT Computer is taken over; Gil Amelio becomes CEO; share price slumps.
1997: Jobs returns to company via the NeXt deal; later becomes interim CEO after ouster of Amelio.
1998: Newton is discontinued, as are all non-profitable divisions; company officially returns to profitability; iMac and PowerBook G3 are announced; share price begins multi-year surge.
1999: Apple introduces iBook; Jobs becomes official CEO again
2001: iTunes application for free download via apple.com introduced; first retail stores opened; iPod introduced, along with iTunes 2; share price begins multi-year slide.
2002: Apple releases the eMac.
2003: iTunes online music store introduced.
2004: iTunes music store reaches mark of 100 million songs downloaded; shares begin multi-year surge, peaking in Dec,. 2007.
2005: iPod with video capacity introduced along with ability to download some Walt Disney TV programs.
2007: iPhone introduced.
2008: Stock splits (2 for 1) for only the third time in company history.