Apple used to be at the front of innovation. What happened?

Since its founding, Apple has been heralded as a true pioneer when it comes to consumer technology. However, its unique innovation has been lost as of late.

Apple Products
Apple’s range of products have largely remained at the same level recently. Photo: Julian O’hayon / anckor via Wikimedia Commons

From its early Macintosh computers to its smart devices, the Californian firm helped shape markets in previous years. Nowadays, the firm’s counterparts such as Samsung and Google have continued to launch original concepts. Meanwhile, Apple has remained stagnant over the last few years.

Adapting with the market

Steve Jobs was commended as being a creative genius. He always thought outside the box and always looked forward. Moreover, he was able identify emerging technologies and apply them to his products.

The increase in internet speed and accessibility during the late 1990s meant that people were starting downloading MP3s on their home computers. The process was mostly illegal and often led to music fans downloading low-quality files with viruses.

However, Apple saw an opportunity to monetize this process and introduced iTunes in 2001. Naturally, the iPod was the perfect accomplice to the software and Apple led the way for digital music consumption in the following decade.

Apple portable devices
There was a more obvious evolution in Apple products between 2000 and 2010. Photo: Kyro via Wikimedia Commons

Different era

Social habits were shifting with the public placing more importance on social media and instant messaging. When Apple introduced the iPhone, it catered to several needs of consumers as it was one of the first mainstream products to cultivate the new technologies at the time.

However, for the best part of the last decade, social habits have remained largely the same and there hasn’t been the same need for a massive revolution.

Nonetheless, this could change now that we are in the 2020s. Innovative technologies are emerging in the mainstream. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and biometrics are all becoming part of our everyday lives.

Therefore, Apple has the opportunity to launch pioneering products that cultivate these technologies and steer the direction of consumer habits for the decade ahead.

Big boots to fill

Many users have speculated that it is when Tim Cook took the reins of Apple following Jobs’ resignation and passing as the point when Apple started to stagnate.

Tim Cook
Tim Cook has been the CEO of Apple since 2011. Photo: Apple

However, Ken Segall, former creative director of Apple’s ad agency for 12 years feels that the innovation hasn’t slowed down.

Segall told The Korea Herald that the company is still moving forward but the market has matured. Therefore there won’t be as many landmark moments.

“Steve was quite unique and will never ever be replaced. So it is impossible for Apple to be the same. But I think his value is there, and brilliant people are there, so things move forward. I think the innovation is happening in a same pace, really,” Segall shared, as reported by The Korea Herald.

“I think phones are very mature products right now, (we should) not necessarily expect huge leaps. It could likely become a commodity as we all move toward wearable technology.”

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs spoke highly of the opportunity for humans to innovate. Photo: Matthew Yohe (talk) via Wikimedia Commons

Tighter competition

Apple does have a significant presence in wearable tech. Forbes reports that it shipped 12.8 million Apple Watches out of almost 50 million wearables in the first quarter of last year.

However, with Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, Apple will have to come up with something that stands out to maintain its holding.

Even when it comes to virtual assistants, Apple’s Siri hasn’t left the same legacy as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. These companies have managed to find new routes into consumers’ lives finding a place within their homes.

These firms are also expanding on its business services with cloud and data technologies. Meanwhile, Apple hasn’t placed the same importance on these segments.

Ultimately, by cultivating modern tech and implementing it in its devices, Apple could come up with innovative and groundbreaking products.

It has the audience and the resources to take its creations to the next level. All it needs is the direction to steer it into a new era of creativity.

Do you think Apple has slowed down when it comes to innovation? Let us know what you your thoughts are in the comment section.

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