Last week, ‘Apple’ launched their latest range of products, including the ‘iPad Pro’ and ‘Apple TV’. The general reaction hasn’t been great, but regardless, this moment has reminded me of just how innovative the company is. After all, their slogan is ‘Think Different.’ And you know, this doesn’t just apply to their products and services, but also to how they market them. Therefore, let’s take a look at ‘Apple’s’ most innovative ideas, shall we?!
Some of these ideas have helped to influence the industry as a whole, whilst others are more idiosyncratic with ‘Apple’. Either way, they’ve helped us to look and interact with technology and home-computers in new and exciting ways.
No.10 – ‘Retina Displays’
No longer do designers have to work around immensely pixelated screens, as thanks to ‘Retina Display’s’, we are allowed to see print-quality images on digital mediums; a quality which designers have been dying to have! The idea behind how it works is simple: make screens with a dpi so high, no one can actually see the dots. But it’s the actual technology and manufacture of those screens which makes them so marvelous.
No.9 – ‘Apple Store’s’ Less-is-More Layout
‘Apple Store’s’ have multiple innovative qualities to choose from, such as the there being no cash registers and their ability to sell desktop computers on the high-street. However, I’ve chosen their ‘less-is-more’ approach as their best quality in store. Not only does the uncluttered atmosphere feel more inviting, but it embraces their clean aesthetic and puts their products at the forefront of our interests, creating a customer experience that’s 100% ‘Apple’.
No.8 – Intelligent Voice Recognition
Scientists have been experimenting with voice-recognition since the 1960’s, but ‘Apple’ cracked it with ’Siri’s’ ability to recognise everyday phrases. For example, instead of robotically saying “Find… Mexican… restaurant” into the microphone, you can now casually ask “Where’s the nearest ‘Mexican’?” Also programmed with some ‘Easter Eggs’ for giggles, and you’ve got a voice-recognition app that stands tall above the rest.
No.7 – Smartphones
‘BlackBerry’ used to be the big brand when entrepreneurs demanded smarter mobiles, yet it was the release of the ‘iPhone’ in 2007 that made everybody want a miniature computer in their pockets. Combining music-playing, phone, internet, slab-designs and touch technology into one, the ‘iPhone’ soon became the ultimate smartphone, spawning a mass of imitators with lookalike designs and similar functionalies.
No.6 – The ‘Get a Mac’ Campaign
Rather than simply showing the product, ‘Apple’ chose an alternative route to promote their ‘iMac’s’. Actors John Hodgeman and Justin Long portrayed human versions of the ‘PC’ and the ‘Mac’ respectively in short sketches that were like work colleagues fighting over which one of them was better. They may have burned bridges between ‘Apple’ and ‘Windows’, but they also made us realize that buying an ‘iMac’ is worth every penny.
No.5 – Elegant Computer Designs
Computers used to be all function and no form, but that all changed in 1998 with the ‘iMac G3’, a stylish home-computer with curves, a colour range and transparent casing. ‘Apple’ have continued to make their devices fashion items in their own right, with the paper-thin screens on the ‘MacBook Air’, the improved colour range of today’s ‘iPod’s’, and how the new ‘Apple Watch’ looks like something you can buy from a jewelers.
No.4 – Touch Screens
Anyone my age can be forgiven for thinking that it was the ‘iPod Touch’ which put touch screens into our pockets. Yet, it was actually the ‘Newton’, a nifty device that converted handwriting into print, which gave us the magic of touch-technology, all the way back in 1987. Making the devices we use more versatile, compact, and more fun to use, touch screens have certainly left their mark! Now, how long will it be before holograms replace screens?
No.3 – Graphical User Interfaces
‘Apple’ have become practically synonymous with the design industry because of this! Another innovative idea which came from the ‘iMac’, this practically eradicated the need to understand code, and made computing a visually navigatable medium. It also gave designers, including David Carson and Neville Brody, the liberty to experiment with their works. They took advantage of the new interface, and gave birth to the digital age of design.
No.2 – The ‘Click Wheel’
Touch screens may be more versatile, but back in the ‘old days’, the ‘Click Wheel’ was a true innovation. Acting as both pushable buttons and a rotatable wheel, it created a consumer experience unlike anything before or afterwards. It gave the user an improved sense of control and fluidity when both adjusting the volume and selecting their tracks. They didn’t invent it, but by applying it to their ‘iPod’s’, they made it truly their own.
The ‘Bite’ Logo
A modern shape which is given new colours and form every other year; Rob Janoff hit the nail on the head with balancing timelessness and timeliness.
The ‘Apple Watch’s’ Crown-Control
This takes something you could only find on a watch, and turns it into the key controller for the ‘Apple Watch’, making it more than an extra-small ‘iPhone’ to strap to your wrist!
More discreet and futuristic than regular overheads, ‘Apple’ helped to make inner-ear headphones the most ideal way to privately listen to your music.
The iPod ‘Silhouette’ Adverts
As effective still as they are in video, the contrast of black silhouettes, white ‘iPods’ and coloured backgrounds embraced the vector, and made adverts funky and creative.
The Macintosh ‘1984’ Advert
More iconic than it is innovative, the big budget and influence from the George Orwell classic helped to cement this as the greatest Super Bowl commercial in history.
No.1 – ‘i’ Branding
Brand-names like ‘iMac’, ‘iPod’, ‘iTunes’, ‘iCloud’, and even ‘iTeddy’ (albeit not an ‘Apple’ product) have made the prefix of ‘i-‘ both their simplest and greatest innovative idea. As well as a grammatical experiment, it creates a sense of personalization from both ‘I’ being another way of saying ‘me’, and a small sans-serif ‘I’ looking like a person (which is also why ‘Wii’ got it’s spelling). This just goes to show how simpler ideas are often more timeless ones.
So, do you agree with my list? Is there anything else ‘Apple’ made or did which made you ‘think different’? If so, let me know in the comments below. Also, be sure to share this with your friends.