Is Apple Iterating While Amazon is Innovating?
Tech media is once again focused mostly on the iconic Apple. Widely considered the most innovative company of the past decade, Apple recently announced and showcased the forthcoming iPhone 5. It’s sleeker, thinner, smarter, faster and as Wall Street salivates upon the news of the company’s ability to launch the new device in so many countries with such swiftness, a deeper question has begun to arise: Is Apple still innovating? A tip of the cap should go to Mashable columnist Chris Taylor whose Op-Ed last week politely asked the same question. In the story Chris points to an amazing grand entry by Sergey Brin of Google recently when he displayed Google’s Project Glass in an incredibly dramatic, stunt-heavy fashion. Clearly, Google’s new foray is innovative and represents a leap in wearable device technology that might forever change the human digital/physical experience. But innovation often happens in much smaller slices too. And we don’t mean an iterative, this screen is now slightly taller, fashion, but rather a more subtle innovation that itself does the one thing innovation does – it changes the user experience.
Late last week, Amazon moved another piece on their digital chessboard. With much less fanfare, Amazon announced that their amazingly popular eReader device – Kindle – along with their Whispersync technology that allows a reader to stop reading an e-book on one device and pick-up reading at the same page on a different device is greatly expanding its capabilities. Now, a user can be reading a book on their kindle, put that device down, strap on their running shoes and access the book through their mobile phone. Only this time, while they are jogging the book is being read to them as the e-book has been seamlessly transformed and delivered to the user in audio-book format.
It may be subtle, it may not wow Wall St. but make no mistake this is innovative. When you alter and improve a consumer experience while simultaneously delivering to that user newer interfaces that allow them to digest more of your paid content, more often… that is innovative.
Surely Apple’s iPhone 5 will sell incredibly well and no one doubts the regal-like stature iPhone has established. It is the world’s best-in-breed smartphone. Yet, from a technology and consumer experience perspective, what Amazon just released is more exciting.
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image credit: wastedcontinuum.com, runnersillustrated.com