Where do the seeds of innovation for much of the tech world come from these days? Well, where else, from where they have mostly always have - they are coming from the field of dreams that just happens to have it's address at 1 Infinite Loop, Cuupertino, Calfornia.
Zach Bass recently wrote an interesting article titled, "Apple Imitations: Just Like the iPhone, Only Crappier," for SeekingAlpha that outlines how tech companies and organizations like Dell, HP, Gateway, Microsoft, or Linux, have all one thing in common - they continue to advance by ritually copying many, if not all, of Apple's innovations, but yet never quite equalling them.
"Where have all the innovators gone? Is Apple (APPL) the sole possessor of creative genius, the lone leader of usability and aesthetic, the single creator of new markets, the only company that knows what buyers want before they know themselves?
It would appear so. Just look at all the imitators of iPhones and the all-in-one computers trying to duplicate the iMac experience. This isn’t a new phenomenon, by the way. Apple has been the de facto leader of innovation in the personal computer industry from day one. But now it appears Apple will lead the way from hereon-in with consumer devices as well, a la the iPod, iPhone, and iPod Touch."
Years after Apple introduced animated desktops in OS X, for example, both Windows and Linux (innovation pretenders) now have now introduced their own style of animated desktops, such as found in Microsoft's Vista and Linux's Beryl, etc. Did they innovate this cool concept all by themselves? No, of course not - they simply copied the idea from Apple who had it on the market for years, going all the back to 2000 and 2001.
As Zach points out, just look at all of the 'iPhone' styled phones that are coming out of the woodwork these days such as Verizon's 'Instinct' and the seemingly millions of others from Nokia, RIM, Palm, LG, etc.
Of course you don't have to limit yourself to recent examples of companies scrambling to copy Apple innovations such as OS X or the iPhone. No, copying the leader in innovation goes a long way back, as Zach mentions. From copying elements that Apple introduce to the Graphical User Interface such as hierarchal menu's, drag & copy, widgets (gadgets for you Window users), cut & paste, resizable pop-up windows, to all of the variations of the desktop garbage can, Apple's competitor's have been blissfully copying away as much of Apple's designs as they can.
There are far too many examples of others copying Apple that I could also mention, but this is, after all, just a little blog of mine, so I won't beleaguer the point except to mention that Apple was also the first to introduce computer videos and sound files, personal laser and ink printers, and, as well, the first to introduce digital camera's and digital assistants (Newton) and the like. Oh, by the way, let's not forget that virtually all laptops now follow Apple's design, where the track pad (also first brought to market by Apple - who else?) is placed in front, as well as the first 3.5 inch floppy drive which was designed, by Sony, for the very first Mac according to Apple's input. Funny how that after Apple finally decided to ditch the 3.5 floppy (much to the laughter and condemnation of the PC crowd), PC manufacturers also finally followed suite some two years after Apple did!
Apple has been recognized as the world's most innovated company, not only once, but many, many times by various magazines, trade associations, etc., and has been handsomely rewarded for it's innovations with numerous awards and recognition, and, as well, by an increasingly very, very large piggy bank which should soon exceed even that of Microsoft's own legendary piggy bank - if it already hasn't!
Apple's past is rich with innovation, as is the present, but will Apple continue to lead by innovation in the future? Only God can know the answer to that, but I think that its fair and reasonable to say that based on both the past and present, it's most likely. They say that it is foolish to bet against Apple and it's founder, Steve Jobs. Wise advice, if you ask me.
So, in conclusion, Apple has innovation in very it's blood and DNA, so it's no wonder why Zach Bass concludes his piece by saying:
"Come on folks. If you want the most innovative products in the world, that are designed from the ground up with your needs in mind, that just feel right, and work the way you would expect them to, just go Apple. Trust me, you won’t regret it."
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Monday, June 30, 2008.
Image via: Wikipedia
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