“I think it is a reminder to everyone in business that you have to keep innovating, and to not innovate is to die,” Tim Cook once said in an interview. As the hype of Apple's recent launch event is now simmering down, I could not help but think: has Apple become an innovation zombie with its new iPhone7 and 7 Plus?
Let’s take a look at the event highlights:
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
Evolutionary? A yes. Innovation zombie? A definite yes!
The leaks you heard about beforehand is true, and sadly, Apple’s launch event did not take the iPhone a step further by even trying to make it more meaningful or ground-breaking. All that was mentioned were undoubtedly great features that only went on to improve what Apple’s iPhone already had.
With decline on year-over-year sales for the first time last year, the launch of Apple's next iPhone will definitely be an important one to improve their sales. Though not as innovative as we thought, would this be good enough to improve Apple's sales next year?
Sure, the new 12-megapixel camera was never before seen on an iPhone, and we’ll never really know how good it is till we get our hands on it.
But mind you, countless of other Android phones already have them, so this is definitely not a ground-breaking feature. Not to mention, its new software will be made available to most iPhones with the next update.
For now, it might be ideal to find ways to get iPhone 7’s biggest feature without needing to upgrade.
Apple’s ditching of the headphone jack
Revolutionary? A definite no. Though I personally believe going wireless is the future, Apple’s AirPods is nothing but gimmickry.
What I saw from the launch event was Apple’s attempt to sell its AirPods by eliminating the headphone jack. A general consensus was that the Bluetooth earphones felt exactly like Apple’s wired earphone, minus the wires. Glass half full; I appreciate Apple’s plans to further accelerate the wireless vision, but Apple is an innovation zombie with this.
As rightly mentioned by their Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil, Apple is courageous with this move — as it would surely create much difficulty, danger, pain and fear among its current and potential users.
Super Mario Run and other features
Among the great surprises from the announcement was Nintendo’s entry into mobile gaming. Vowing never to enter this arena, Nintendo somewhat contradicted themselves here. Maybe the Pokemon Go phenemon changed their stance on this.
Though I am looking forward to try this out (with an Android!), I personally doubt that they might stand out against countless other running games like Temple Run, Subway Surfers, Sonic Dash and a million others.
Compared to other greats phones with similar specs and pricing, the iPhone stands out only for its internal storage variety, rear and front facing cameras, and probably with its improved durability against water and dust.
But overall, it does not stand out against the competition.
Should Apple still consider themselves innovative?
Topping The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Most Innovative Companies list every year since it began in 2005, Apple was the thought leader and provider of innovation to people around the world.
Nobody can dispute Apple’s ground-breaking innovations back in the days with products such as the first mass-produced Macintosh I & II, the first iPhones, iPods, MacBooks and great software like its retina display, iTunes, Siri, multi-touch and many others.
But that is all in the past, and now that we’re towards the end of 2016, is Apple still innovative? Though BCG rated them very highly for the past few years, one might like to take note of how they rank innovation.
- 60 percent of the ranking is influenced by 1,500 senior executives from a wide variety of industries around the world; voting on who they thought is the most innovative company both within and outside their fields.
- 40 percent of the ranking takes into account of each company’s five-year growth in total shareholder return.
To sum it up, BCG’s methodology rates companies on hindsight, rather than on its contributions for future innovation.
Forbes conducted a study to rank forward-looking innovators, and Apple ranks at 282nd place. Not to mention that Apple ranks only at 11th place in the top companies by number of patents granted in 2015.
To repeat Tim’s statement, “you have to keep innovating, and to not innovate is to die.”
One can’t help but wonder, is Apple now dead? Would Steve Jobs approve of Apple’s current level of innovation zombification?