You know, for a company castigated as much as Apple for losing its mojo and forgetting how it just works works and for falling behind Amazon, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and every other company that sells gadgets that use electricity, Apple seems to be doing OK.
OK? Not according to the nattering nabobs of negativism which permeate mainstream tech media or market analysts, but somebody up there likes The House That Jobs Built enough to make it the #1 most innovative company in 2018.
The Future Today
Color me a bit naive but how much would it take for a technology company to pay for accolades? Samsung does it all the time, right? Yet, Apple managed to sneak by the critics at Fast Company while they were on a retreat in the Catskills or Las Vegas (both are chilly this time of year) and someone moved Apple ahead of Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, and The Washington Post. I know, right? The Post?
Surely, some PR hack at Apple wrote this and submitted it to Fast Company’s editors who rubber stamped it while heading out the door for the aforementioned retreat.
But creativity is more than skin deep—and Apple’s approach to the hardware and software engineering that creates its experiences has never been more ambitious. Other makers of phones and tablets buy the same off-the-shelf chips as their competitors. Apple, by contrast, designs its own chips—so an iPhone packs a processor designed specifically optimized for Apple’s operating system, apps, display, camera, and touch sensor.
We could talk about software, too. Apple doesn’t buy Android or Windows off the shelf and rolls its own.
Software comes in many varieties, and there’s iOS and macOS which compete against Android and Windows respectively, but artificial intelligence is a thing and it’s a good thing Factless Company’s editors were on retreat because Siri is more artificial than intelligent.
Apple has also made major inroads in artificial intelligence, an area where the competition from companies such as Google couldn’t be any more daunting. For instance, it uses AI techniques to wring as much life as possible out of the iPhone’s battery. Because of Apple’s privacy-driven decision to limit the amount of information it aggregates and analyzes in the cloud, it also does much of its AI right on the devices rather than using massive server farms. When it calls machines such as the iPad Pro “supercomputers,” it isn’t exaggerating.
HomePod sounds great, Siri is the neighbor child Alexa and her friends disdain, and there’s Batterygate, which only proves that PR has its limits.
I found Fast Company’s list to be, uh, um, entertaining. Yeah. That’s it. Entertaining. Amazon made it to the Top 10 because the company’s founder doesn’t mind selling techno gadgets at near cost to help create a market for new tech. But the NBA at #10? Ahead of SpaceX which can safely land rockets that have already launched? What’s with that?
Come on. What kind of list puts Walmart at #15 among the most innovative companies? Waze at #28? Meh. Some of those so-called innovative companies on the bottom of the list are truly deserving of being on the bottom. But I wonder how many of the business and technology media are surprised at Apple taking the top spot?