Apple changed the smartphone landscape with the iPhone, ushered in a new era of tablets with the iPad, and before all of that, redefined the MP3 player with the iPod. Yet a large amount of criticism aimed at Apple claims its innovation has slowed dramatically over the past few years. Apple’s service chief Eddy Cue “disagrees vehemently.”
In an interview with the Indian publication Livemint, Eddy Cue addressed the notion that Apple doesn’t innovate anymore. When asked about the topic, Cue responded:
No way! First of all, the iPhone is 10 years old. That is the last decade. The iPad came after that and the Watch came after that. So, I disagree vehemently with that and I think we’ve been incredibly innovative. That doesn’t even take into account the work that has been done on the Mac, iOS and MacOS, from that standpoint where I think we’ve led the market. When you think of the products that we’ve built over time, you own a lot of them. And you just assume that every year was a new product. But it wasn’t. You can’t do revolutionary new products, every two months or six months or whatever. They take time.
Eddy Cue makes a lot of great points in his response, rebuffing the idea that Apple doesn’t innovate. He cites that it’s not just a matter of hardware innovation, software plays a big role for Apple. Apple still has a huge lead over Android with something as simple as software updates, yet that doesn’t really earn innovation points.
If it was so easy to do, why haven’t Android OEMs caught up?
Apple has put a lot of resources in rounding out the experience of iOS and macOS and it works great. The interconnection between Apple products is second to none and a big reason of why people stay in its walled garden.
Cue also mentions that it takes a while for innovation to truly happen. It took three years and a new iteration (iPod Mini) for the iPod to breakthrough. The iPhone had early stumbling blocks before truly taking off. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of time.
While Eddy Cue had an astute response, Apple isn’t completely devoid of the innovation criticism. Nobody forced Apple to stick with the same iPhone design for four years, yet it does so because its profit margins are high. It’s just two sides of the same coin.