Apple ‘No Longer the Most Innovative Company’


Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Steve Jobs, went on record this week to express his belief that Google and Amazon have overtaken Apple to become the most innovative technology companies of the modern day… More at MacRumors.

When I first saw the headline, I thought it was pure clickbait, but then I thought about what he had said.

Take a moment to consider what Apple has released in the past half-decade and there is evidence that it is no long king of innovation.

A touch bar on a MacBook.

A bigger iPad with a stylus.

The Apple Watch.



In that list above only the AirPods stand out to me as being truly innovative. There is an argument that the little things matter, however, and this is evidenced by the stunning iPhone cameras, the way the Apple Pencil works and that clever touch bar, but we have not really seen a breakthrough product or at least not one that stands Apple about the rest.

Alexa is doing well for Amazon and alongside Google, personal assistants are improving all of the time. Compare that with the video below and you can see that Siri is barely moving. Even if Apple releases a comparable system in June, Amazon and Google got there first.

Besides PA’s think of what Google has done in online services, how Amazon has changed the entire face of retail and all of the other inventions that most people do not consider tech.

I am not saying that Apple is behind the others in terms of innovation, but it has not offered products to prove that it is ahead. It may be a more tasteful company and one that understands what users really want better than most others, but innovation is coming from everywhere now.

4 thoughts on “Apple ‘No Longer the Most Innovative Company’

  1. Could you be more specific about what Amazon and Google and Samsung and others have done tho, since say 2010?

    Amazon changed the face of retail in the same way Sears Roebuck did a century ago, but they’re still stuck in the web front. Where they might be pushing the envelope is with AWS and such cloudness? I guess maybe Echo as well, that kind of tech?

    Of all of these I credit Google with the biggest game changer in terms of search, maps, and mail, but I think those are all pre 2010. (I’m not trying to be strict about 2010, I’m ok if there’s a new “blossoming” of an idea or service that was established before)

    Samsung? I dunno, they were early on “people want bigger phones” and now this edge to edge trend…

    Tesla has made fully electric cars much more of a thing

    No one has really gotten AR/VR. Sony might be cloesest with VR, Google Glass was kind of a swing and a miss.

  2. I still think that wearables are in for a lot of innovation including AR and medical. Apple is well placed to be a leader but will they?

    There’s major innovation, like what we consider the iPhone to be, and minor innovation like the airpods or a touchbar (although lots of people don’t consider that an innovation). Does every new feature count as innovation? Remember that we’re talking about mobile tech. The next big innovation in that arena will be something new or significantly better. There’s lots of innovation going on in other areas besides mobile.

    Remember that the iPhone was innovative because it combined tech that was available and changed how people perceived the mobile phone, not because everything in it was new.

    1. Well, there’s innovation, and then there’s innovation that matters? Or makes a qualitative change.

      Ironically there would be plenty more room for physical innovation if physical keyboards were still popular… physically there’s only so much you can do with a “fondleslab”. (I need to think for a while to figure if we’ve seen much innovation on the virtual interface, at least since “pull to reload” and “swipe” came out)

      the capacitive touch screen WAS something new in the iPhone however… there was like maybe that Prada phone that beat it to market. Also new was some interactions the new touch screen encouraged: customized scrolling hardware let scrolling have inertia, and made the whole thing feel real. So there were absolutely pieces parts of it that were new, it wasn’t just the combination…

      1. “fondleslab” – Love it!

        And then there are features or innovations that don’t seem like much until they’re investigated. I’ve been reading about the accuracy of the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor as in Apparently it’s accurate enough to allow algorithms to detect variations in the heart rate which may lead to earlier detection of heart problems.

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