Consumer Experience

The Trick Behind the “Innovation” of Apple Products

Apple products

FYI, the “trick” referred to in the title is at the bottom of the article if you want to skip the intro. Just figured I’d set the stage first. So, with that being said…

Cue the lights. It’s time to put on your black turtlenecks and black jeans. You should leave your belts at home, too.

I’m going to start this out by saying that I’m no fanboy of this brand, but I call it like it is.

The brand Apple has developed a reputation over the years for being synonymous with innovation — at least, some would argue, was synonymous before the death of the beloved king of the black turtleneck.

For a while there, every year’s keynote would raise the bar on the last one, and we were left wondering, “How much further can this go?” Every single year with every single Wait… There’s more!, Apple seemed to be taking giant leaps with their products — leaps that would result in upped stock prices and the infamous “This will ship in 12 to 16 weeks” message on its site.

Let’s take a trip back to when I was 12.


Not a joke. I was 12 in 2001.

2001 was a big year for Apple products.  Many of you are probably assuming that I’m referring to the birth of the iPod on October 23 of that year, but you’d be mistaken. Let’s take a step back about 7 months to March 24.

Anyone know what happened on March 24 of 2001? You got it! Rosie O’Donnell turned 39!

But, also, MacOS was released. The operating system that would be reused and revamped time and time again in iterations of iMacs and Macbooks — even to this day.  It was a big day for innovation.

And then, of course, the iPod came out later that year. Which effectively launched Apple into technology stardom. Since that day… Well… You can just read paragraph four again.

apple products

I mean… Look at that beautiful family.

Alright, the suspense is over, here is what makes Apple products innovative.

Content curation.

(Ben drops the mic. Walks off stage.)

(Walks back on stage. Picks mic back up. Apologies to crowd for rash behavior.)

I personally think this brand is the king of content curation. Or, maybe the better term is innovation curation, but the foundational idea is one and the same. The fact is, since 2001, this brand has recycled the same, highly performing technology in new ways to give off a persona of innovation. Granted, they’ve thrown in some cool parlor tricks in there too (see Force Touch) which add to this pool of items to curate, but all-in-all, the fresh ideas since 2001 have been few and far between.

Let’s give a quick rundown of Apple products.

  • In 2001, MacOS was released. This was refined and built upon for years and is still used in Macbooks, Macbook Pros, iMacs and Mac Minis today. These machines are essentially the same technology (with some better hardware and new ports and things), at least until Apple’s keynote this past Thursday. But that is curation in and of itself. Will get to it later in this timeline.
  • In 2007, the iPhone comes out, which completely redefines smartphones as we know them.
  • In 2007, the iPod Touch comes out, which is essentially an iPhone sans the ability to speak with others via cellular towers.
  • In 2010, the iPad comes out, which is essentially an oversized iPod Touch.
  • In 2012, the iPad mini comes out, which is essentially a slightly less oversized iPod Touch.
  • In 2015, the Apple Watch comes out, which, to Apple’s credit, was a fairly fresh idea.
  • In 2016, the new Macbook Pro is announced, featuring a touchpad that’s pretty freaking awesome, but it’s basically an Apple Watch on a keyboard.

Granted, I know there have been oodles of software updates in there, but with hardware, Apple has figured out that they don’t have to completely revisit the drawing board every time they want to create something new.

And this same principle is true for all innovators. Whether that has to do with product design, packaging or whatever else you can think of.

Find what works. Stick with it. Work it. Throw some truly fresh ideas in there sometimes.

I personally like Coca Cola’s 70/20/10 rule. That brand’s content team spends 70 percent of its time on things they know will work, 20 percent of its time on fresh-ish ideas based off of the aforementioned 70 percent, then 10 percent of its time working brand new, off-the-wall ideas.

Time to innovate.


A variant of this post first appeared on Here is your Content — a new blog about content creation and life, in general.

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