Apple’s Present Day Innovation is Not What You Think

Innovation concept.

Page 2 – News Debris For The Week Of July 24th

Failure Was An Option

Windows Phone is dead. Microsoft’s 4th quarter results affirm it. And so, Jean-Louis Gassée, in his always extraordinary Monday Note, explores how the Microsoft culture resulted in that failure.

This essay is full of interesting insights.

As a retired Bill Gates postsciently said: Success is a terrible teacher.

Mr. Gassée resisted the temptation, but I shall not as I include the reaction to the original iPhone by (then) Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer in 2007.

That video is both amusing and instructive, and it underlies the theme of Mr. Gassée’s article. A company’s directions, indeed culture, is driven by the vision and technical astuteness of its executives.

From the article:

For a long time, Microsoft’s orthodoxy placed the PC at the center of the world. When smartphones took center stage, the company’s propaganda censured talk of a Post-PC world. Smartphones and tablets were mere ‘companion devices’.

Amidst the consumer movement to mobility, such agenda cannot and did not endure. And so Window Phone was doomed from the start.

Mr. Gassée concludes:

Now, let’s look around. Are there successful companies soon to be victims of their own culture?

More Debris

One of the things that’s very hard to do, and something that’s been lacking in products reviews is the cyber security aspect. Reuters is reporting: “Consumer Reports to consider cyber security in product reviews.” It will be interesting to see how well Consumer Reports does with this new initiative. Will CS have credibility?

Apple is making a big push for Apple Pay in China, according to Business Insider . BI points out that it’s a challenging market. My take is that while Apple was early with Apple Pay, other organizations recognized how important this kind of secure payment technology could be and planned to go their own way all along. Apple has had to work hard to compete, and it’s not surprising at all that not everyone fell into line behind Apple Pay. That’s just how modern technology evolves.

4th gen Apple TV with Siri
4th gen Apple TV with Siri is basically obsolete.

There’s more fuel on the Apple TV fire, namely that Apple is frittering its talents away in small-time original TV content and not shoring up its primary connection to the customer via great hardware. The discussion continues in that vein. See: “Apple TV falls behind competition as Internet-connected TV continues to grow.

Finally, Neil Cybart (Above Avalon ) looks at Apple and AR in his customary thorough way. The title is deceptively simple, but the analysis is not. “Apple Glasses Are Inevitable.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weekends.

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Nice cherry-picking, CudaBoy. This all coming off the BRILLIANT assessment you made one short year ago that AAPL will never surge over $100 ever again. You expect people to actually listen to your dribble? Same garbage as Bosco, but with a lot less intellectual analysis.

July 26, 2016: “A billion here, a billion there. The whole smartphone thing can’t go on forever so it levels out to a nice steadily declining revenue still made of billions, it’s only natural. No panic; just don’t expect APPL to ever surge over $100 ever again, and that’s fair.”



Apple hasn’t innovated anything in quite a while as seen by stagnant market penetration in an Android and PC world. Indeed tend to steal (see the many lawsuits they have paid up so far to the tune of a few hundred million – or see the stylus and flip keyboard for that matter). They sort of designed a cool interface a LONG time ago; realized that proprietary I/O was a failure and became more PC every year even down to switching chips to the PC chip Intel – what happened to “RISC chips are the future and much better than… Read more »

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: Very insightful comments about the nature of innovation at Apple. The implications go beyond simply the range of products and services that will be the subject of innovation, but the impact of those advances on the relative impact of those innovations on Apple’s overall portfolio and bottom line. As has been pointed out numerous times, were the iPad Apple’s only business, or more precisely, were another company to have created the iPad with its current level of market domination, it would be hailed as a runaway success, more so if Apple’s tablet’s market performance were on par with Samsung’s… Read more »


John: “There are several ways to define innovation, and I think that contributes to an enduring misunderstanding.”

You got that right!


Great piece Jon! I strongly agree that Apple’s innovation engine is still firing on all cylinders. One thing I’ve noticed is that folks seem to remember Apple’s past achievements as more epic that they actually were. I recently watched a few Steve Jobs’ keynotes including the 2010 WWDC announcement of the iPhone 4. I was struck very strongly at how little meat there was in the actual presentation beyond the iPhone 4 itself. This year’s WWDC was packed with so much more substantive innovation that I was shocked at the difference. These days most in the tech media just don’t… Read more »


Your comment about Apple ‘frittering away’ it’s talent on programming when it should devote those resources to making better hardware makes me wonder,

would you prefer to use an iPhone running Android or a Galaxy with iOS?


Au contraire, it is exactly what I think, and I think it is pandering and backward thinking. Just my opinion, but those are two words that I never would have formerly associated with the company.