Do you think that Apple is the most innovative company of the recent times?
Well, the answer will depend upon your definition of innovation and your criteria for being “innovative”. For some, it could lie in the consumer-centric approach the company adopts while designing a product whereas for others it could lie in the products, the company had just launched. For me, being innovative is all about that vision of the future that if achieved, can potentially change the way we live today.
So if I am granted the permission of judging Apple as per my definition, it does emerge as the most innovative company of the recent times.
What did Apple do?
Answering in layman’s term, it created some Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads. And these devices much like their counterparts (PCs, MP3 players, smartphones, tablets) changed the lifestyle of the users using them. However, I believe that Apple’s innovation lie less in these devices and more in the vision of how, the company wants to change the lives of people who use these devices.
To elucidate my point here, I searched for some of the ideas that Apple has in mind and that it has already patented. Have a look.
Apple has recently patented the concept of a sports equipment apparatus with smart components that can interface with iOS devices. The patent specifies the “circuits, method and apparatus” that allow sports equipment to write data to a media player. It cites cardio equipment specifically, and provides diagrams of how the interface would work with a treadmill.
Think about a Nike+ running system on two wheels. The bike will not only show the relevant data from you (heart rate, pulse) and your bike (speed, distance) on connected iPod or iPhone but also communicate with the group biking with you.
In theory, Apple has already integrated photocells into the touch screens. This means your future iPods, iPhones or iPads may power themselves by simply soaking up some sun.
Your iPhone has already replaced your compact camera, MP3 player and handheld gaming console. Chances are it could now replace your keys as well. Apple has patented the idea that your iPhone could unlock your car and home with a proximity-based PIN code system.
Do you want to relive the last Halo session that you played recently? If yes, then there is some good news for you. Apple has conceptualized a system wherein user’s character and performance from a videogame can be recorded and can be used to generate a comic book like appearance.
In this patent, Apple has designed a system that can enhance iPhone/iPod camera functionality by attaching to it a magnetic zoom or macro lens arrangement.
Just think about carrying a portable projector with your laptop all the time and you would at once realize how big an impact it could make.
These are just some of the patents that I have uncovered. There are still hundreds of ideas that I don’t know of. But what does these patents have in common? None of them belong to a pure research or applied research area. Instead all of these ideas pertain to those needs of the people that they themselves are not aware of. And this is where Apple scores over the likes of Microsoft that have far more patents but unlike that of former, very few of those patents actually become a part of our lives.
So what do you think? Has Apple really mastered the art of Innovation? And is it the most innovative company of the recent times? Do let me know your take on this.