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Ask HN: Is Apple becoming a less innovation company?
10 points by sahin 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments

What is innovation?

Getting some idea proven in a lab or delivered in a half-baked product is one thing. Putting a lot of polish behind it, and making it usable for anyone is a completely different.

I don’t think so.

I’m fully bought in on Apple products. I now have a 2019 16” Macbook, which was an upgrade from my 2015 MacBook. It’s night and day better. Even the audio sounds really dang good.

My airpod pros work seamlessly, switching between my iPhone and MacBook. The sound is great, there are no cables, and these have lasted me longer already than my previous Bose sport earbuds, despite daily use.

The biggest innovation from Apple is a set of products that just seem to work, they’re pleasant to look at and touch, and pretty dang reliable.

I’m actually on an iPhone 7 still. I haven’t upgraded in many years, and not because I don’t think the new phones aren’t great, but because I don’t need a new phone. This one is excellent.

I believe engineers are getting smarter about the value of their innovation and won't gift their best ideas to companies that will just pay their salaries. Also all that mass-patenting of whatever idea some one has is creating a huge horizon of legal landmines nobody wants to step on.

I will take another approach: we have become so used to massive innovation year in and year out that when it doesnt happen to the degree we want, we consider the event a bust.

Actually, I wonder what it could have been, if Jobs were alive.

Would he introduce any meaningful product categories we haven't seen?

Or maybe, because most innovations are an effect of opportunity due to foundational tech (battery, display, silicon, camera, wireless) Apple would end up in a similar place anyway?

One thing we know for sure - Apple would rent-seek and wall the hell out of the garden anyway. Jobs was a ruthless asshole, as evidenced by e-mail evidence unsealed by the courts.

I'd argue that much of the innovation at similar companies has diminished too. The products are mature and will continue to get new models and features. But I think the days of unveiling big changes has hit a pause (as was the case between the early years and the iPod launch).

I'd take it the other way around: how is it possible that the most highly valued company in the world still innovates at all ?

It could be just me, but I'd imagine it's quite windy at the top and innovation is not top priority.

Yes, this has been the case since they canned Forstall instead of making him CEO. (This was done to delay Jony Ive's departure.)

My gut feeling says yes.

OTOH, the M1 CPU is very very impressive. So maybe not less innovative after all.

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