3 main innovations in the history of Apple

Lately written a lot of articles that Apple has lost its spark. “Whether Apple is experiencing problems with the innovation?” — asks the Washington Post. Forbes claims the disclosure of “innovative.” but this part of the article so confusing and specific details so small that after reading it you will feel enlightenment, and even more confused.

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3 main innovations in the history of Apple

Of course, readers of blogs like to delve into the details, but most applies to this much easier. And in order to hook and the rest of the mainstream media needs a little drama, especially if the real material with which to work, a little bit. It is natural: journalists have to sugarcoat everything they say.

Engadget columnist Richard Haywood believes that there is a stereotype against Apple, which consists of two parts. First, the opinion that the company is under the leadership of Steve jobs was a sort of “innovation engine” constantly perevorachivatel markets up or created them from scratch using their sensational new gadgets. Secondly, the opinion that all this ended with the death of Steve jobs, and now the innovative Apple days have come to an end.

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The journalist does not agree with this stereotype, but to explain why, have to dig a little deeper in the definition of “innovation”. For critics of Apple’s “innovation” basically means “creating new markets or out of them”, and a vivid example of innovations of Apple are iPod, iPhone and iPad. Such considerations lead to the fact that people begin to think, “in which the following areas will invade Apple”, requiring the company to proved its worth by releasing, for example, smart glasses, a television, an electric — only three do not want to dissipate the rumor.

However, if we really want to know if Apple has become less innovative, we need to clearly define the subject of our discussion.

What is innovation

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First let’s define what we actually mean by innovation. The concept of innovation is like art – everyone knows what it is when you see it, but try to ask five people to give art a clear definition, and you’ll get a dozen different answers. Dictionary “Merriam-Webster” defines innovation (innovation) as a “representation of something new, a new idea, method or device”, and the English verb “to innovate” (innovate) as “to present new or as if new”. Big explanatory dictionary of Russian language defines innovation as “innovation, innovation”.

3 main innovations in the history of Apple

However, rather superficial and too General would be the definition of this only as “modifications”. When, for example, Apple released the iPad mini 4 is, of course, was the replacement of something old for the new; but hardly anyone would put it on the same level with the release of the iPod. If we are going to discuss the pros and innovation, we will need a system of assessment of the quality and quantity of the most different changes.

On the page in Wikipedia you can find a set of multifaceted definitions, which are currently deleted from some cranky editor:

  • Innovation as novelty: most people would agree that to say something is innovative, it has to be something new – or in itself, or an application of old ideas in a new way or in a new context.
  • Innovation as change: the most effective innovations lead to change, possibly opening for the user of the new door to work with them. In the best cases, they can change entire industries, creating new productive sectors or new kinds of thinking, completely displacing the old. In other words, these are changes for which the company will be remembered for another 50 years.
  • Innovation as advantage: if someone really wants innovation, then it is reasonable to assume that it will convince people to buy an innovative product. That is, the company will be able to sell more products than otherwise.

The most significant will be those innovations that show high results in all three categories.

Not successful candidates

There are several possible objects to be included in this material, but should be refused. For example, iPhone, iPod, and so forth, because it is more interesting to consider the “partial product”. To call the iPhone innovative is reductionism, moreover, frankly, it’s uninteresting. We need to dig deeper to find out what the specific details are innovative and why. It is advisable to consider not whole finished product, and their individual traits.

3 main innovations in the history of Apple

Graphical user interface (GUI) was also excluded. He certainly changed the industry, and Apple, of course, played in the history of these changes is crucial. But, as in the case of complex products consider GUI innovation, perhaps also too broad – it is more interesting to deal with individual elements.

We also do not consider the system itself, iOS (or iPhone OS as it was called, when only appeared). The first iPhone largely have to thank Palm OS: applications full screen and the menu of running applications, including an ordered series of icons that are very similar concepts, and notably different from how Apple designed the Newton. The most important innovation of iOS is how it brought together a large number of parts and made them work brilliantly in an accessible and understandable manner.

3rd place: Retina displays

Apple introduced the Retina display in the iPhone 4 in June 2010, and then used it in a variety of models of iPhone, iPad and Mac laptops. Retina is defined as a screen where pixels are too small to see individually with the usual custom of the distance (this statement is based on scientifically established fact). These screens are offering, in fact, unprecedented visual fidelity, instantly became very popular.

3 main innovations in the history of Apple

Now it should be noted that this was not the first in the world display ultra-high precision. In 2001, the IBM T220 — 21-inch monitor with an incredible screen 3840х2400 points and cost $ 22,000. With an index of 200 ppi it was a real Retina-display pixel density is only slightly inferior to the MacBook Pro with a real Retina display. T220 resolution is even higher than the 4K format. He needed three of the DVI cable to even remotely bring it to receptive the refresh rate to 41 Hz — all because of the frequency of data exchange needed to power that giant screen. He was sold to a handful of clients to use, mainly in medicine, physical laboratories and also for other special applications. However, this monster is (obviously!) in a slightly different category than smartphones that cost below $1000.

The Retina display cannot be called only a superficial innovation. The increase in the number of pixels on the display four times means that you need to quadruple the graphics memory and bandwidth — to maintain balanced functioning. In addition, you need more powerful graphics chip, and all this must be done not at the expense of weight or battery life; in addition, the device should be sold at a reasonable price.

Apple was the first to conquer this technological mountain — but not the last. After appearing in the 2010 iPhone 4 no high-quality smartphone did not dare to release without precise similar screen. After Apple issued a quality Retina screens are not only smartphones but also tablets and laptops, other manufacturers followed this example, and the product type Chromebook Pixel supplied with screens class MacBook Pro with Retina display.

So, to sum up. New? In terms of consumer-level devices — no doubt. Change? Big fat cross. Advantages? Difficult to measure — of-sale devices with a Retina display, of course, high, but the iPhone and iPad and before was insanely successful. However, it is difficult to make it look like the Retina displays that did not help.

Second place: capacitive multi-touch

It has been suggested that the iPhone was much less innovative. You may have seen this sarcastic picture of Josh Helfferich that made it past the forums and Twitter, which aims to show how the iPhone changed the phone market. The awkward truth that she reveals, is that the basic iPhone design — black panel touch screen — during its release was far from unheard of and unprecedented. One example is the HTC TyTN smartphone, which was released six months earlier.

3 main innovations in the history of Apple

But there were not enough of one part, which wasn’t anyone else — and this was key to increase the attractiveness of this design to consumers. Hint — two elements that are radically different from NTS from the iPhone: it had a stylus and physical keyboard. And both of these elements was necessary because there was no screen that responds to the touch of your fingers. Resistive touch screen TyTN only worked under pressure, and he needed the precision of a stylus for operation. Capacitive multi-touch display was definitely the most innovative invention that Apple brought to market the first iPhone, by implementing an intuitive user experience built for touch, holding fingers and natural gestures like information and fingers apart to zoom in and zoom out the image.

However, at some sacrifice had to go. Fingers cover a much larger area on screen than the tiny stylus tip, so the buttons on the screen had to be more. This, in turn, meant that the screen size is also necessary to increase, and significantly. Early adherents of the iPhone will probably remember friends asking us how we wear such “big phones.” Now, in a world of 5.5-inch smartphones, this question seems weird, but it was logical in the context of the time, when for many years the fashion was increasingly got smaller in size phones.

3 main innovations in the history of Apple

Remark. There is a stereotype that the original 3.5-inch iPhone screen was a kind of ideal to work with it with one hand. But much more likely is that Apple designed the screen as follows: (1) developing the minimum width in which to fit the QWERTY keyboard below keys were wide enough for depression; (2) multiplying the width by 1.5 and get what you want the aspect ratio to calculate height; (3) there is no third step. Take a look at the keyboard first iPhone – it’s hard to imagine how it would print if keys were at least a few pixels already.

New? Earlier, the market had no devices that would use capacitive multi-touch, so if something like that existed, it was very little known. Change? Here is a picture Helferich appropriate – although smartphones only the screen found on the iPhone, they were rare. Now, this pattern made virtually all the models — with very few exceptions. Advantages? This was probably the main unique selling point of the iPhone — and at the moment Apple has sold more than half a billion smartphones, plus iPad. So here the answer is also “Yes.”

First place: micropayments

Now the main thing.

Decades experts in the field of e-Commerce was desperately looking for a feasible way to charge consumers a small amount ($1-2, etc.) without having to in the process not to be eaten alive by fees from credit cards and pay for the transaction. What new forms of Commerce would be possible, they thought, if we could achieve this? We could “decompress” albums, selling customers a single song. We could sell them separate series of the television series instead of collections. We could reveal all sorts of interesting economic models that simply can not exist with microtransactions.

3 main innovations in the history of Apple

And then the Apple without a lot of noise created it for music, in the process turning the industry on its head, and then turning it again, extending the same practice to the application.

Think what effect this has. Without microtransactions App Store would have been much less active; no intermediate zone between “free” and (for example) 10 dollars orders would be significantly less that interested manufacturers. In the interval between the free applications and the amounts they were worth before the advent of the App Store is the most interesting. Well, then we are talking about a revolution in the music industry, which is now almost completely converted to digital model based on microtransactions, and other distribution channels experiencing the same seismic shifts.

New? Yes, to find any real use microtransactions to iTunes is not possible; the possible exception may be except that the system of electronic payments that bypass the fees from credit cards, by loading the smart card with some form of alternative currency. But it’s not quite the same thing.

Change? No doubt. Microtransactions made it possible to market the application, which was later copied everyone else and this has greatly changed how people can buy other kinds of content. Advantage? Isolation of the contents inside the active ecosystem, the App Store is perhaps the most valuable quality of Apple in terms of increasing customer loyalty when choosing gadgets. This is a powerful advantage.

Why is Apple now forcing people to miss?

Wall Street, it seems, defines innovation Apple is very simple: the company goes to some existing product category (portable music players, smartphones, tablet computers), turns it upside down, redefines it, and after a few years ends up being captivated by it. Experts want to see just how Apple is doing it again and again in the new categories: smart watches, TVs, cars, who knows what else.

But if you examine the track record of Apple in more detail, it can be concluded that the original innovation level of the parts is very complex and, as a consequence, a very rare phenomenon. There is hardly any evidence that Apple has become less innovative. Of course, the last time she didn’t do something mind blowing new, but if you look at the last fifteen years or so, between truly disruptive innovations one way or another always takes several years. So something similar is probably already on the way.

The above is only the opinion of the journalist, and the topic is highly subjective. Perhaps you don’t quite agree with how he defined innovation might agree with his design, but deem him an idiot because he overlooked some of the Product Comments are open, so go ahead!

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