Which technology company over the past 15 years has disrupted more industries than any other? Not Microsoft. Not Google. Not Samsung. Not IBM. It’s Apple. The company leads the industry in new directions, and incrementally improves products that define each industry’s standards. Here are a few examples dating back to the turn of the century.
The Disruption Monster
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, back to the beginning of this century, the end of the last. Apple opened their own retail stores.
If you remember, then you recall that nearly every technology pundit, and market prognosticator predicted failures. What happened? Apple’s retail stores not only succeeded, they changed how a portion of the retail industry handles customers and products.
From there, Apple launched the iPod, an expensive portable music player which only worked on the Mac. Disruptive? Hardly. But incremental advancements moved the iPod to Windows, to the iTunes Music Store, and within a few years Apple owned both portable music player industry, and music sales industry.
You know where this is going, right? The list of hits keep coming.
Apple changed the smartphone industry with iPhone, the tablet industry with iPad, and how applications were sold, distributed, and installed with iTunes App Store and Mac App Store.
Not one of those disruptions happened overnight, but took a few years to gel and gain momentum. Look at Apple’s position in all these industries– music, retail, app distribution, smartphones, tablets, personal computers (how many PC notebooks these days look like MacBook Air and MacBook Pro?). It’s been widely reported that Apple took more Watch orders in the first few weeks than all sales of so-called smartwatches manufactured ever.
Apple has become a 21st century monster disruption machine. Apple designs, others follow. Apple disrupts a staid old market, others follow. Prognosticators and tech soothsayers think Apple is ready to change music again, specifically streaming music. As always, Apple is slightly late to the party, but when that happens, it often results in dramatic change to an entire industry.
Change in technology is an ongoing dynamic, but this century it’s often Apple that points the way.