Apple should try to out-innovate its competitors – that’s a terrible idea which runs counter to Apple’s strengths

“Apple Inc. has always had a talent for perfecting the work of others,” Christopher Mims writes for The Wall Street Journal. “And now, it has the market-defining scale to keep doing that for the foreseeable future.”

“Still, Apple’s normally festive Worldwide Developers Conference begins Monday under something of a pall,” Mims writes. “The company’s first quarterly sales decline in 13 years has many people asking whether it will grow again. They also want to know how Apple, with its healthy supply of cash, could make that happen.”

“The conventional answer is ‘create a totally new product line,’ or its cousin, ‘unveil something no one has done before.’ That is, Apple should try to out-innovate its competitors,” Mims writes. “That is a terrible idea. It runs counter to Apple’s strengths, as well as its growth trajectory.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No, the terrible idea would be to ignore your visionary founder and instead lazily rest on your laurels.

If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will. – Steve Jobs

Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat. – Steve Jobs

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. – Steve Jobs


  1. Umm, aren’t the competitors just copying Apple anyway? So Apple needs to out-innovate Apple?
    Everything competitors to innovate is just a gimmick that leads nowhere. They wait until Apple makes a move and then just warm up the copiers. Business as usual.

    1. Chicken and egg article which doesn’t foretell an answer.

      Inventors & Apple must be able to see 5-10 years downstream if they are going to identify potential new markets. That is perhaps the most difficult task in the world to do.

      Millions of inventors and companies are trying to do just that.

    2. No, the competitors are not copying Apple, Apple has become the copier. They have lost Steve Jobs vision, rested on their laurels and they are behind in both hardware and software. Just look at the IOS 10 announcement yesterday, new stuff for IOS for sure, but not new for their competition who have had most of these features for ages.

  2. Innovation is a horribly overused word that has in many people’s minds become synonymous with doing something new/different. Innovation is great if it moves things forward, makes things easier/quicker/cheaper etc, but “innovation” for the sake of it is pointless. Most innovations are just gimmicks. Innovation isn’t always some whizz bang feature or product that is fundamentally different than what has come before. There is perhaps case that Apple’s genuine innovation has slowed, but at the same time if you define it as fundamentally new products then you could narrow it down to a handful over their entire existence.

    The MacBook Air was just thinner and in many ways less powerful than some laptops available at the time. How innovative was it? Just making things smaller isn’t really an innovation, it’s probably the defining trait of the technology industry. You could argue that Apple’s greatest strength is not what they put in their products, but what the leave out. Sometimes it’s because they realise people will be able to do without it once another technology gains traction, sometimes it’s because they feel it isn’t ready yet and they’d rather wait.

    People who demand innovation for innovation’s sake probably aren’t worth listening to.

  3. ‘People think focus means saying “yes” to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying “no” to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying “no” to 1,000 things, saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track, or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important. Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles’

  4. Depends how you define innovation doesn’t it. It is so often mistaken with the term invention The television brought together a number of inventions to form something greater than the sum of its parts to provide something useful, the lightbulb before it was a similar path of many. many decades. Edison is often deemed the arch innovator but in reality what he did was for the most part, very similar to what Apple does. It takes often disperate themes, ideas and technologies and brings them together that is novel and able to bring to the masses, rather than geeks, scientists and developers something new and easier to use and thus often for the masses something able to be used by and for them the very first time. If that isn’t innovation I don’t know what is. Indeed its true innovation, without which most ‘inventions’ would never become widely useful as artificial refrigeration didn’t for some 75 plus years.

  5. We circle around to the key question:

    Q: How much ‘competition’ does Apple actually have?!

    A: Not much! They have lots of copy cats, ripoff artists, black market cloners, ad nauseam. But for all the whiny hand wringing that ‘Apple isn’t innovative enough!’ *sniff*sniff* . . . Show me what company IS innovative enough to make the 🍎🐻🐂💩-ers STFU!

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