The linked article (see below) postulates that the world without an iPhone would be a more interesting one. My views mostly concur.
Today, the two largest phone manufacturers and the ones who dictate the market (or have, anyway) are Apple and Samsung, and they’ve *never* put high end hardware in anything except a slab. Indeed, the only company which ever did regularly was Motorola with the original Droids, and they sold just fine – until Samsung’s marketing death star swallowed the Android market and drove HTC and Motorola into (effectively) bankruptcy. Ever since then, anything abnormal has been relegated to random niches of the market, and have usually been bad phones – no one has managed a clean, high end implementation of a keyboard since those early Verizon exclusives. Likewise, actually useful ideas like the YotaPhone 2 haven’t been picked up by any major manufacturers because it might involve risk in straying from the slab format. So instead we’ve seen a race to the bottom with ever lower cost manufacturers showing up, and the older ones (HTC, LG, Sony, Nokia, Motorola etc.) all being drummed towards bankruptcy.