This article on the O’Reilly Radar credits the TiVo with forcing cable companies to demand better equipment/interfaces from those that produce their set-top boxes.
I think that a similar effect may be the best thing that will come from the release of the iPhone. While phones in other parts of the world, especially southeast asia, have seen dramatic improvements, phones in the united states have seen few interface improvements in recent years. As consumers and carriers see what Apple is doing, they will start to demand better interfaces. Motorola, Nokia and others will have little choice but to adopt interfaces based on more dynamic technology such as Flash to compete.