Is there anything truly distinctive about the iPhone or iPad? According to the haters, Apple never invented anything.

Is there anything truly distinctive about the iPhone or iPad? According to the folks hating on Cupertino’s big patent victory, differences between Apple, Samsung and anyone else’s smartphones and tablets are purely cosmetic. After all, the iPhone and Galaxy S3 are just collections of garden variety components and software that all look and work the same — really, Apple never invented anything.

Add an Apple logo and suddenly the world owes Tim Cook et al $30 a handset — totally unreasonable and unfair!

Yeah, well, the world doesn’t work that way. Former Apple executive and active tech observer Jean-Louis Gassée shines a light on how Steve Jobs, Apple and its world-changing products really are different and worth protecting:

So, yes, if we stick to the basic ingredients list [Ed: display, processor, housing, etc.], Apple didn’t invent anything…not the Apple ][, nor the Macintosh, not the iPod, the iPhone, or the iPad … to say nothing of Apple Stores and App Stores. We’d seen them all before, in one fashion or another.

Apple never invented anything, damn it! That said, I would add Apple’s PowerBook, which was the template for notebook computers throughout the ’90s, to Gassée’s list of things Apple ‘didn’t invent.’

And yet, we can’t escape a key fact: The same chef was involved in all these creations. He didn’t write the code or design the hardware, but he was there in the kitchen — the “executive chef” in trade parlance — with a unique gift for picking ingredients and whipping up unique products.

Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb, but he’s the person who made it real — it wasn’t obvious until he made it so. Ford didn’t invent the automobile, yet cars didn’t go mass market until Henry worked his magic.

The same is true of Steve Jobs and Apple. That is, everyone started with the same parts and basic software components, but it was Apple’s products that have changed the world, again and again.

Apple’s Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad design, manufacturing and marketing magic are things worth not just preserving but nurturing…

What’s your take?

4 COMMENTS
  1. Glad to be the first to comment. What Apple has done is nothing short of invention in the truest sense of the word. They’ve always gone their own way, both developing original ideas and refining existing one (the so-called “stealing great ideas” that people are fond of quoting Steve Jobs as having said). I fully expect this board to fill up with naysayers…there are a lot of Apple haters out there. But I’ve enjoyed the Apple journey over the last 20 or 30 years, and to say they’ve invented nothing is absurd.

  2. Apple uses ideas and technolgies that are availabe to everyone, but refines and puts them together in unique ways which, although initially controversial, ultimately prove popular. Competing companies seem to like to copy Apple’s designs, claiming that they should have the right to do so because Apple’s designs, in hindsight, seem obvious.

  3. I agree that they refine existing technology, but they like marketing it as if they the first lo, one of thousands of examples, is the slide to unlock straight to camera – Android had that for years already, and the top drop down notification menu. Oh well, I have Apple products, but I will be getting the Galaxy S3, as the specs and features of the iPhone 5 is rather disappointing, I was hoping for a lot more.

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