I came across this question and it made me pause for a moment. Has there been any other company that does what Apple does? But directly on the heels of that thought was a second—Apple doesn’t invent, they improve. They improve really well, and through design and marketing, they make their products wildly successful. They just don’t invent completely new products that haven’t been seen before.
Apple has a history of innovating products to make them better than before—more functional, easier to use, and key features that we couldn’t dream of living without now. They didn’t, however, invent the computer. They did bring it to the masses in an easy to purchase, set up and use system. How easy? I was using an Apple II before I could talk, or had hair for that matter. They didn’t invent the MP3 player, but creating an interface to purchase/download guaranteed music and making it sync seamlessly with their product? Ingenious. They didn’t invent the touch-screen tablet computer, but they’ve proven that their touch in design can make quite the stir.
But is the distinction that I’m making—between Apple being inventive vs innovative—is it necessary? Apple has proved, time and again, they can take a product and make it a hit with the mainstream. Does not inventing the initial product impugn their accomplishments? I don’t think so. Apple is an incredibly innovative company and I don’t believe other companies would have come up with the improvements and design elements that they have. So without regards to who’s a Mac and who’s a PC, one has to give credit to Apple for their accomplishments. However, I’m still waiting for the day they finally invent a completely new product that will revolutionize our lives.
What do you think? Should there be a distinction between innovation and inventing?