What it is: Critics keep wondering why Apple hasn’t innovated.
There’s a common theme with critics of Apple. They keep wondering why Apple isn’t innovating. However the real question is that whenever Apple innovates, critics and most of the public simply choose to ignore it. So the general rule is that whatever Apple introduces, that’s not innovative. When it’s later proven to be innovative, then critics conveniently claim that Apple innovated in the past but hasn’t done anything recently.
Let’s look at Apple’s long list of innovations and notice that every time Apple introduces something new, critics claim it’s useless. Back in 1984, Apple introduced the graphical user interface and the mouse as an input device. Today, people recognize that graphical user interfaces and the mouse helped define personal computers, but back then, John Dvorak said, “The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.”
In 2001, Apple introduced the iPod that helped define portable music players. Multiple people quickly derided the iPod as useless as seen on this site. The year 2001 was also when Apple introduced iTunes and helped define online music digital downloads.
In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, which John Dvorak said, “If it’s smart [Apple] will call the iPhone a ‘reference design’ and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures.”
In 2010, Apple introduced the iPad and defined the tablet market while critics simply dismissed it as a bigger iPod Touch. So it’s obvious that a large portion of the public, including so-called technology experts, fail to see innovation when it’s right before their eyes. Now it’s clear that Apple has innovated in the past but critics keep wondering what Apple has done recently. Here’s a short list:
- 2011 – Siri, a voice activated digital assistant that paved the way for Google Now and Microsoft Cortana.
- 2014 – Apple Pay, wireless payment system that paved the way for Samsung Pay and helped reintroduce the world to Google Pay (formerly called Google Wallet).
- 2014 – Swift programming language that makes programming easier, faster, and more reliable than Objective-C and most other programming languages like C++.
- 2015 – Apple Watch that defined the wearable computer market.
- 2015 – ResearchKit, a software framework to allow medical researchers to collect and analyze data through iPhones and Apple Watches.
- 2016 – Touch Bar, a customizable touch screen that replaces the typical row of useless functions keys on a keyboard.
- 2016 – Liam, a special robot designed to disassemble iPhones to retrieve materials for recycling.
If you think innovation is dead at Apple, chances are good you’re either not paying attention or simply ignoring facts right before your eyes. As Apple continues to release innovation after innovation, you can expect others to follow in their wake. While critics wrongly claim that Apple never innovates, they fail to apply that same standard to other companies.
What has Dell Computers innovated? What has Samsung innovated? What has Hewlett-Packard innovated lately?
Innovation is alive and well, and flourishing at many companies including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. Yet a large chunk of innovation still comes out of Apple. As long as Apple continues pursuing the goal of making products that keep customers happy, they should do fine. It’s when Apple stumbles and releases useless products (Ping, their social network) or when they largely ignore their products altogether and let it languish (iCloud and the entire desktop Macintosh lineup) that Apple risks losing their innovative edge and their customers.
For now, look at where Apple’s heading and that’s likely the future of technology. Until another company proves they can innovate as often and as consistently as Apple, it will be hard to imagine Apple losing their innovative edge.