Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Mar 2013 15:51 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry's CEO: "Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market ... They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that. History repeats itself again I guess ... the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don't innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about is now five years old." Ironic, perhaps, that this comes from a BlackBerry CEO, but that doesn't make him wrong - although I'm sure the usual suspects will claim that it does.
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RE[2]: He's right but
by Tony Swash on Tue 19th Mar 2013 00:17 UTC in reply to "RE: He's right but"
Tony Swash
Member since:

He didn't say Apple wasn't successful. He said iOS has become stale.

To put it differently, Apple's success does not mean they are innovative; similarly, Microsoft's failure (so far) with Windows Phone does not mean Microsoft is not innovative there.

But yes, this has become a common spin in certain circles, you're right there. Back when Apple was an also-ran, we were told that numbers didn't matter. Now that Apple is highly successful, they suddenly do. It's somewhat entertaining to watch these massive 180s in pro-Apple circle (not necessarily you, by the way).

I think what's changed is that there is no Steve Jobs to hand hold, reassure and excite the sceptical. When Jobs was around there was a constant narrative of change and innovation at Apple which was very powerful and very persuasive. That narrative was rooted in a real process of change and innovation at Apple but the real process was, and is, very opaque and difficult for many tech observers to understand or accept because much of it runs counter to the (empty) shibboleths of tech cultural discourse (exemplified by the vacuous 'opens always beats' sort of piffle). So Jobs role as master of ceremonies and magician in chief helped calm the nerves of tech observers, they still couldn't understand how Apple had made the apparently startling and sudden transition from a side show to the biggest show in town, but the belief in the special genius of Jobs and his magic helped ease their confusion. It turns out that Jobs mattered to sceptical tech observers far more than to the fans, supporters or believers in Apple.

The reasons I say all this is that the notion that Apple is slowing it's pace of innovation, other than just being the latest tech junk journalism fad, is rooted in a misremembering of how Apple actually innovated in the past. The pattern at Apple for the last decade or more has been occasional stunning and utterly disruptive new product launches that spark a massive new line of products and new areas of large business growth followed by the slow iterative polishing of the products, the restrained diversification of models within product lines and the steady building of a deep ecosystem and service stack to wrap around the break through product lines.

The article contains a nicely done info-graphic on the Apple product innovation timeline.

It turns out that when you strip out some of the less significant stuff and concentrate on the big product pillars then the average time between major product innovation is three years and ten months. By that math, Apple is due to announce a fifth major pillar of its business around this October. That doesn't mean that they will but it does mean that the gap since the iPad was introduced is not particularly long by Apple standards.

The actual timeline of major product pillars is as follows:


3 years 4 months later


5 years 3 months later


3 years


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