The Apple Decade: Where They Succeeded and Others Were Too Lazy to Innovate

By on January 17, 2013, 4:30 AM

In the decade we have been publishing TechSpot, we have watched Apple resurge from the joke that G3 and G4 machines represented, to the Apple 'Mac vs. PC' debate -- during a time the company had better luck selling MP3 players than computers -- to today's ubiquity of Apple products in all forms of computing devices.

Coming from near bankrupcy during the 90's, it took several years to turn Apple around, but perhaps most important, it took several innovations and breakthrough products to rebuild their image as a tech pioneer. Today, Apple gets much deserved respect from its competitors, and within the industry, there’s unsaid expectation that they are the ones paving the way towards the next big thing.

During the past 10 years Apple has systematically attacked and conquered from several fronts. Here's a brief recount of those winning products, and where it applies, the industry incumbents that for one reason or another failed to innovate or at least failed to beat Apple at breaking products to the masses first.

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 33

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1 person liked this | ShadowDeath said:

Funny... They're not very innovative lately. Instead they sue others for money instead of earn it like they did when Jobs was still around.

2 people like this | Guest said:

Lazy to innovate ? That is rich. How about fooling the masses in to buying something "supposedly" great, better or whatever.

This article belongs on an apple blog / fansite.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I agree with the iPod, iTunes and the iPhone, but they didn't revolutionize jack with the tablet. Ultimately it was just a larger form factor iPhone, and still is. And how you can say the MB Air and Retina display's were revolutionary is beyond me. Those three are just the evolution of the tech that existed at the time.

Guest said:

The unibody chassis was very well done and unique. There are a tong of custom components inside the macbook airs and pros. The hard drive connectors were custom designed, similarly with custom batteries, thunderbolt connections, the glass multiouch trackpads (still the best - no PC comes close with any trackpad) and some other things. having the retina displays in a somewhat powerful thin sleek laptop is a big deal. I can agree that the ipad was a larger iphone, but the software ecosystem really got it going for books etc. The surface really did reinvent the tablet aspect much more with the thin type covers though.

Guest said:

You couldn't have said it better. For all those who keep bashing Apple, people, open your eyes !!! which other company has done so much to advance the computer and tech industry as a whole? How has any other tech company in any way innovated anything ever? or do you consider netbooks, backberries or IE6 or Windows or anything else revolutionary?

Stop being such whiners...they sue because everyone out there stole their design, their look and their polish...if you took a company from nothing to what it is today and all of a sudden, every crappy tech company from Micro$ost to RIM to $am$ung copied everything that had made you successful, what would you do? would you sit back and say it's ok, let them copy everything I have worked for...c'mon people, nobody asked you to like Apple for what they are or how they compare to others.

At the end of the day, if you whiners knew better, you would be where apple is now and have the world's most valuable company....STOP THE HATING ! Give credit where and when it's due !

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I have to admit they've done pretty well up till now BUT all good things eventually come to an end & when they finally crash, man is it gonna be spectacular.

3 people like this | Guest said:

One thing worth mentioning is that Microsoft (Bill Gates) was the one to fund the rebirth of Apple (Steve Jobs). I'm not crazy about Apple and their products as Apple is a control freak, they take away user choice and control every element hardware/software/retail and then charge a premium for it, I greatly prefer Linux with its openness. With that said, I think Apple has been great at marketing the right thing at the right time, packaging the products and Apple experience that appeals to the masses. I think some of the other companies that could have been more innovative, were busy counting their money and didn't realize you need to keep reinventing yourself and your products. Apple seized the day in that regard. Microsoft with the loss of Bill Gates as a leader has lost its direction and is following the latest trend, in this case Apple. I wonder what Apple will look like in another 10 years with the loss of its leader. I think now is a great time for a new company to step in and bring even more innovation in this area.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

You call it fooling the masses, I call it exceptional advertising.

1 person liked this | Davin Peterson Davin Peterson said:

Creative Labs pioneered the MP3 Player with it's Zen Players and owns the GUI patent. Apple had asked Creative to make an mp3 player for them and they refuse, so Steve Jobs stole the GUI to make the iPod. This caused Creative too lose lots of money. The Creative Zen, which came out a year before the iPod, was a much better player.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

First let me say I don't much care for Apple's attitude about customers owning their products. As one person already said they are "control freaks".

But all that aside, they know how to make stuff sell. It's been pointed out many times that company XYZ came out with an almost identical product a year or two before Apple's iRipoff. But Apple made it sell. They combined enough innovation with the correct marking to sell their iCrap.

I don't like Apple's attitude towards their users, but I can't deny they know how to make stuff sell.

Sniped_Ash said:

Creative Labs pioneered the MP3 Player with it's Zen Players and owns the GUI patent. Apple had asked Creative to make an mp3 player for them and they refuse, so Steve Jobs stole the GUI to make the iPod. This caused Creative too lose lots of money. The Creative Zen, which came out a year before the iPod, was a much better player.
It's kind of hard for me to weep for Creative after what they did to Aureal.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Apple has done little to advance computing.

its popularity is merely a consequence of a wannabe / self loving / self serving sinful society.

They can thank their lucky stars old Bill G took pity on them and gave them a Mac version of MS-Office and a couple of bob to keep things going.

Then again the rise of China can almost squarely be attributed to "clever" customers buying apple "products".

Ha ha keep buying I can't wait to see how THIS (sad) story ends.

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Man, some serious Apple haters here.

I don't hate them, but I also don't use any of their products. There are cheaper alternatives available in every category.

But I'll give them props for their innovation (whether you want to call it "stolen" or not) in getting products that the masses have just inhaled since their release. But that was 99% Jobs doing. With him gone, we'll see how viable Apple will be 10 years from now.

Good article!

LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

I'm not a huge apple fan, but some people have gotta stop hatin' on the poor guys.

Look, maybe they didn't invent some of the stuff that they made popular. Maybe it was around before they did it. But you cannot argue with the fact that they were the first to fully utilize the technology and bring it to the masses. What's the point of a company manufacturing an amazing iPod like device before apple, and then sticking their heads in the sand and waiting for it to be popular?

Technology would not be where it is today if not for apple, full stop. How much you like or hate them will never change that fact.

Guest said:

LOL They sue people cuz they steal their ideas?

Yeah..they patented a trackpad recently...pretty damn sure those have been around since the invention of laptops.

Apple challenged a lot of conceptions, but recently not so much.

I hope Jobs left them some ideas they haven't put out yet...or they might be headed for trouble.

The Samsung Galaxy has been getting great reviews.

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Technology would not be where it is today if not for apple, full stop. How much you like or hate them will never change that fact.

And luckily for all of us we have TS too continue to tell us this. I know you guys here at TS love Apple, but articles like this are just unnecessary. Apple is in a slump, deal with it. Understand that the 'Apple haters' have good reason for it, and part of that reason is that people are just sick of hearing about Apple.

There's a joke here in the midwest. How many Chicago Bears fans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 100. 1 to screw it in and 99 to talk about how awesome the Bears were in the 80s. Don't start that with Apple please.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I look at the Apple/Microsoft arguments & conversations the same way I look at the Xbox/PS3 arguments & conversations. If your really that immature and selfish to apply some fake allegiance, blame or too much credit to either side, please...go home tonight, lock yourself in a padded room and listen to 80's pop radio for 2 hours.

Both companies have been instrumental for the industry. The way I would word it is, Apple has had more motivation and reason to succeed in the past 10 years because they were in rough shape. Microsoft however has sat on thier hands more because they haven't need to R&D like Apple has. These are just natural aspects of large business and market control.

I wouldn't say others were too lazy to innovate, I just think Apple was extremely motivated to make products people want again.

And to the comment above mine... Apple is in a 'slump'..... really? Now? I would like to think Apple is doing quite well right now, maybe not so much with mainstream PC's and workstations, but that will come. You get someone to buy a pencil and they like it, next thing you know they want the whole desk.

Guest said:

They've kinda slowed down lately, but hopefully they'll come back right up with better refinements like they did in 2007 with the iPhone after 7 years of living on the iPod's success.

I think with $121.3 billion in the bank, they have a lot of room to grow and take a lot of risks if they really want to!

Guest said:

Nokia innovated in the 90s. They put games on their phones and other manufacturers laughed at them. They allowed you to compose your own ringtones and brought out pointless features like Operator Logos, Picture Messaging and a host of other features. The other manufacturers called them fads. They had arguably the easiest to use menu system that was graphical and their phones were durable, small and appealed to most of the market.

They cornered the market on mobile phones for close to a decade and then they sat back and got complacent. They waited for other company's to bring out the good ideas which they then copied or implemented months later. They introduced silly limitations into their phones for no reason and people "ignored" them because they wanted a Nokia.

Eventually the market caught up and then turned round and spanked their ass. They fought back by trying to sue for people copying them and by the time they started innovating again when it was too late. Now their clutching on on the skin of their fingers. Reputation only gets you so far in the tech world. Sit on your a** and you will get left behind.

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I look at the Apple/Microsoft arguments & conversations the same way I look at the Xbox/PS3 arguments & conversations. If your really that immature and selfish to apply some fake allegiance, blame or too much credit to either side, please...go home tonight, lock yourself in a padded room and listen to 80's pop radio for 2 hours.

Both companies have been instrumental for the industry. The way I would word it is, Apple has had more motivation and reason to succeed in the past 10 years because they were in rough shape. Microsoft however has sat on thier hands more because they haven't need to R&D like Apple has. These are just natural aspects of large business and market control.

I wouldn't say others were too lazy to innovate, I just think Apple was extremely motivated to make products people want again.

And to the comment above mine... Apple is in a 'slump'..... really? Now? I would like to think Apple is doing quite well right now, maybe not so much with mainstream PC's and workstations, but that will come. You get someone to buy a pencil and they like it, next thing you know they want the whole desk.

They're doing well? Their stock went down $200 in the last couple months, and it looks like their next round of product releases will once again include features that should have been in the last version. The mini 2 will have a retina screen for example.

Don't assume because someone dislikes Apple that they are some huge MS or Samsung fanboy. It's not like the Nvidia/AMD video card market. Many of us are just annoyed (hate is too strong a word) by Apple. WIRED had an interview with tech modul Tim O'Reilly, he sums it up well saying 'Apple is on the wrong path. They file patent suits that claim nobody else can make a device with multitouch. But they didn't invent multitouch. They just pushed the ball forward and applied it to the phone. Now they want to say, "Ok, we got value from someone else, but it stops now." That attitude creates lockup in the industry. And I think Apple is going to lose it's mojo precisely because they try to own too much.'

It also gets people riled up because right when Apple is being criticized for weak innovation and their stock is taking a beating we get stories like this about how great they are and how everyone else is lazy. Blind hero worship is annoying anyday.

Guest said:

Serious, Samsung, Intel, Dell and Microsoft has innovated PLENTY compared to Apple, God some people are fools.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

I hope they get to a point where they have to take off the apple tax... That will be the final nail in the coffin.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I keep hoping that the Apple rebirth is a large social experiment by Bill Gates.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

And luckily for all of us we have TS too continue to tell us this. I know you guys here at TS love Apple, but articles like this are just unnecessary. Apple is in a slump, deal with it. Understand that the 'Apple haters' have good reason for it, and part of that reason is that people are just sick of hearing about Apple.

Please don't include me in that statement.

Guest said:

You have been fooled.

Guest said:

What benefit would you see in hoping a company, any company, meet its demise? does it matter? if you spend $500 on a Samsung phone, you're just making some korean dude richer... and that makes you happy?

Guest said:

@MilwaukeeMike

you don't know much about the stock market hey? keep dreaming.

Ultraman1966 said:

Even with the slump they're seeing on the stock market they're still pulling in more revenue per annum than a lot of countries in the UK. They also have a huge surplus in their treasury to keep them afloat... they won't be selling their HQ like Nokia or Sony for a long time even if their sales dived bombed now.

Guest said:

How about a mention of apples dirty secret.

The foxconn factory.

All apple users read up on it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You couldn't have said it better. For all those who keep bashing Apple, people, open your eyes !!! which other company has done so much to advance the computer and tech industry as a whole? How has any other tech company in any way innovated anything ever? or do you consider netbooks, backberries or IE6 or Windows or anything else revolutionary?

Stop being such whiners...they sue because everyone out there stole their design, their look and their polish...if you took a company from nothing to what it is today and all of a sudden, every crappy tech company from Micro$ost to RIM to $am$ung copied everything that had made you successful, what would you do? would you sit back and say it's ok, let them copy everything I have worked for...c'mon people, nobody asked you to like Apple for what they are or how they compare to others.

At the end of the day, if you whiners knew better, you would be where apple is now and have the world's most valuable company....STOP THE HATING ! Give credit where and when it's due !

You're an employee of Apple, right? I think the ":shape of the iPhone lawsuit", was when they managed to prove, "it's not what you know, it's which lawyers you hire, and which judges and juries you pay off. Not to mention the lawsuit was aimed at Samsung. Which is, as we used to say in the old days, "biting the hand that feeds you".

Is that enough "credit where credit is due", to (law) suit your liking"?

Then there's this. The Windows platform spanks Apple''s little red unbitten behind in the area of gaming. Yet Apple runs an "I'm a PC" ad, running their lying corporate mouth about how Windows isn't any fun, while waving around terms like, "visual C++ programing guide". I figure the iSheep had no idea what that even meant, they just bleated along, like the farm animals being fleeced they are.

Even with the slump they're seeing on the stock market they're still pulling in more revenue per annum than a lot of countries in the UK. They also have a huge surplus in their treasury to keep them afloat... they won't be selling their HQ like Nokia or Sony for a long time even if their sales dived bombed now.
Yes, but we can still have the audacity to hope and dream, can't we? You won't take that away from us.

Guest said:

I just shiver when I see sentences with technology and crApple in the same sentence. What is this world coming to ? Next we'll have imperialst / capitalist articles in Pravda.

It is really sad that people would equate a tablet "computer" to any form of technological advancement. Humanity has given up on itself and these celebrations of our mediocrity is sheer lunacy.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Man, some serious Apple haters here.

I don't hate them, but I also don't use any of their products. There are cheaper alternatives available in every category.

But I'll give them props for their innovation (whether you want to call it "stolen" or not) in getting products that the masses have just inhaled since their release. But that was 99% Jobs doing. With him gone, we'll see how viable Apple will be 10 years from now.

Good article!

I agree in full with your first two paragraphs but they weren't really innovative, it was more like a lot of smoke & mirrors. Apple reminds me a lot of Lance Armstrong, they try run rough shod over everyone with their strong arm (Armstrong) tactics & try sue the pants off entire world when they're up against it.

It's always going to be a love/hate relationship with Apple.

fullmetalvegan fullmetalvegan said:

You couldn't have said it better. For all those who keep bashing Apple, people, open your eyes !!! which other company has done so much to advance the computer and tech industry as a whole? How has any other tech company in any way innovated anything ever? or do you consider netbooks, backberries or IE6 or Windows or anything else revolutionary?

Stop being such whiners...they sue because everyone out there stole their design, their look and their polish...if you took a company from nothing to what it is today and all of a sudden, every crappy tech company from Micro$ost to RIM to $am$ung copied everything that had made you successful, what would you do? would you sit back and say it's ok, let them copy everything I have worked for...c'mon people, nobody asked you to like Apple for what they are or how they compare to others.

At the end of the day, if you whiners knew better, you would be where apple is now and have the world's most valuable company....STOP THE HATING ! Give credit where and when it's due !

I'm fairly sure Microsoft and Sony made sizable advancements to technology in the past, Lol, do you sleep under Apple rocks? Is 95% of the consumer PC market Crapple Macs? How about all the TV's and flat panel monitors we use, they all Crapple? No. No. No. Crapple only deserves credit to marketting, I give them that, amazing marketing. But they did not, in any way, shape or form, solely invent the technology behind the iPod, the iPhone or the iPad... touchscreen technology was being developed since the 80's... the idea of a tablet PC began in 50's, Samsung was working on the prototype Galaxy S1 two years before the announcement of the first iPhone, and had an MP3 player that looked like the design they follow now released a year before the iPhone, and I imagine many other companies were also working on concepts. No single company develops a technological product, anyone that believes this is completely ignorant and naive, the forerunners of said tech are being developed by many individuals across decades before finally being assembled into a completed product by a company. Apple jumping the gun and releasing products to mainstream consumer attention first doesn't mean they invented it, or any part of it, they simply packaged it up first. Arguably the first iPhone was so buggy and featureless it was basically a beta release product, any company could have had such products in a similar state and chose not to release beta versions, Crapple is only company seemingly capable of releasing incomplete, dysfunctional products and get away with it.

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