The Economist On Apple Innovations: Not Inventive, Just Innovative

from the how-you-put-it-all-together dept

We've suggested in the past that Apple's iPhone perfect demonstrates the difference between invention and innovation (i.e., there's nothing really "new" in the iPhone, but what's impressive is how Apple packaged all of it in a way that consumers find appealing). The Economist has picked up on this, apparently, with a cover story on how Apple innovates, where it notes that Apple isn't particularly inventive, but knows how to package up a bunch of outside inventions and make them useful. This is important, since so many discussions around innovation tend to confuse innovation and invention, and it can greatly distort policy debates when you think that the two are the same (or even that one is a proxy for the other). With that in mind, it's nice to see the Economist highlight the difference at Apple.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2007 @ 9:38am

    This is a common trait among large companies, including both Apple and Microsoft. Instead of coming up with new products, they just wait for smaller startup companies to invent them and then buy them out. I think both Microsoft and Apple are quite innovative in their own right, but I wonder how much actual 'inventing' either of them has done. Apple didn't invent the PC, they just did it 'right.' They didn't invent the MP3 player, they just did it 'right.' And so on.

    I know this is going to insult the Apple fans, but Apple isn't as bleeding-edge as you might think. They just seem to have impeccable timing when it comes to pushing new (but existing) technologies into the public spotlight. True bleeding-edge companies blaze the trail for the rest of us by inventing exciting new technologies that nobody has ever thought of before.

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