Yup we heard it all. Quotes like ‘Apple is widely considered as the #1 innovative company in the world’, as well as ‘While most companies are lucky to come up with one major innovation, these three continue to develop breakthroughs and don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon’ and Apple it was to some extend true, especially when Steve Jobs was still mortal, around and kicking. Since then they only gave us the Apple AirPods, which is true innovation. The rest is iteration. Microsoft is calling the Surface innovation, wrong! I see it as iteration and a weak copy from the iPad to begin with, it goes on and on, IBM has the Quantum computing cloud, but that has been pretty much it, beyond that most are merely iteration and weirdly enough, they seem to focus on what can be iterated, not innovated.
I have had a fling with my iPad going back to 2011 when the first one came out. It was a present from me to me when I got into graduate school at UTS. I saw all these eager students with a laptop in one hand like it was a serve platter running from corner to corner trying to find a powerpoint, as such I decided on the iPad, the very first one, which had 64GB, cellular and WiFi. I was happy as a puppy with a fresh bone. This would continue until 2020 when it started to show issues and most parts would no longer be updated, it was too old. There were no tears, with 10 years 24:7 service it had earned its keep at least twice over and my storage never exceeded 50%, the 64GB was a true achievement. As such in 2020 I updated to the iPad Air, now with 256GB, a more powerful processor, higher resolution and that fling feeling came back in a rush.
Yet the market has changed, this is fair enough and I see the iPad Air as an iteration, not innovation. It was this step that I saw today that innovation was absent, or more precisely absent from the iPad systems for too much. Now, in the larger scheme I do not care, I am still really happy with what it has, and as pretty much all of it is back, I have little to complain about.
There is this one thing
It is there that I saw innovation, where none was and I do not know why Apple did not see this. You see apps, games (free to play) are all nice, but they need to get their money (as much as possible) from advertisers. As such it does not matter how it is setup, the increasing amount of advertisements, a setting that is beyond the borders of harassment are also grabbing my Bluetooth speaker when I am trying to enjoy music whilst playing a game, and it is there that I saw the lack of innovation. I wonder why Apple never looked at the setting to make the bluetooth an exclusive to for example the Music app. I cannot fault app makers to rely on advertisement, but when your speakers get hijacked every other minute, you either listen to music or nothing at all, why did Apple not see this, or even see this coming?
When we have YouTube playing and the advertiser grabs/pushes through the same speaker as YouTube, it is fine, I get that, but I have a problem in the other event when I play a game muted, but the advertiser will hijack/obtains your speaker. Did Apple not see that coming? So whilst we saw in June 2020 ‘13 new innovative technologies and features unveiled at WWDC20’, Bluetooth innovation was absent, Bluetooth iteration too. As such, whilst we herald the addition of “New cycling directions in Maps take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route”, we see iteration, the natural consequence of what came before, not iteration, which is supposed to mean “the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or improvement in offering goods or services”, yet here we see the problem ‘or improvement in offering goods or services’, the problem there is that ‘improvement’ is now on a sliding scale, especially in software where a lot of improvements are iterations, not innovations.
Is this me?
Yes, it probably is, but in that same light, there is a larger group of people that see the addition of one new chip as iteration, not innovation. Marketing departments globally have ‘abused’ the word ‘innovation’ to the degree that we see it as a debatable word at best. This is pure in us, driven through the advertisers and the larger brands need to see that innovation is no longer a calling to customers, it is a calling to investigate the brand in just how loyal one needs to be. In this I will also admit that it might not merely be marketing, but the brief that their board of director gives out to marketing, no matter how you slice it. As such what information to trust, and that is fair enough. Yet the stage we see is larger, larger than even I can consider, simply because I am not the greatest expert in the field and there is also the stage that I do not look everywhere. It becomes increasingly difficult where we see the Internet of things (IoT), consider that a device is suddenly used in a field that it has never been used in, this (to me) is innovation, not iteration and that field is in motion, in rapid motion in all directions, as such what might be innovation is seen as iteration in the way it is brought to us, it is understandable that we see this wrong, but it is unfair to the player bringing it. We can blame it on their marketing, but that is not fair either. As such you need to wonder where the threshold lies and here we have a nice example. Are the Bravia XR TV’s (2021) iteration or innovation? We might say one, but consider that speakers have to go somewhere and Sony is the first one to put them behind the LCD display, does that make it innovation or iteration? I am not certain, but they call it innovation. Is it true or false? I actually do not have a clear answer, yet my view of what is would call it iteration, an iteration I desire, but an iteration none the less.
It goes deeper and ZDNet gave us that part in January 2021 with a list of ARK Big Ideas 2021, which would include the following:
- Deep Learning
- The Reinvention of the Data Center
- Virtual Worlds
- Digital Wallets
- Bitcoin Fundamentals
- Bitcoin: Preparing For Institutions
- Electric Vehicles (EVs)
- Autonomous Ride-Hailing
- Delivery Drones
- Orbital Aerospace
- 3D Printing
- Long Read Sequencing
- Multi-Cancer Screening
- Cell and Gene Therapy: Generation 2
When I see this list, we see deep learning, Bitcoin fundamentals, and Long Read Sequencing and in these cases we expect iteration.
In case of deep learning (often presented as AI) we see the definition “Deep learning (also known as deep structured learning) is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on artificial neural networks with representation learning. Learning can be supervised, semi-supervised or unsupervised”, yet my issue is with the part ‘Learning can be supervised’, as I personally see it to be deep learning, it needs to be semi-supervised or unsupervised, if not it is merely adapted scripting. I will skip Bitcoin fundamentals, it is in my mind an iterative field, but in that I must admit there is a lot I do not know and I never cared to learn it, as such if someone states to me that I was wrong, it would be a fair assessment, but to see innovation paired with a word like ‘fundamentals’ is weird on too many levels. It becomes a different stage when we consider Long Read Sequencing, I get it data is in evolution and transformation and these sequencings are often linked to biometrics, a field that is very much innovation, even the iterations tend to be innovation, so I see the flaw in my thinking here. Yet it compares to naught when we consider ‘Long-read human genome sequencing and its applications’ by Glennis A. Logsdon, Mitchell R. Vollger & Evan E. Eichler. It was published less than a year ago and it took almost that long for me to get the gist of it (armed with a thesaurus). As such when we see Oxford Nanopore Technologies and its applications we do clearly see a large field of innovation, not merely in biometrics, but in an adapted path towards a string of devices all the way from manufacturer to user, where we see an optional path towards identifying digital forensics, I wonder if Mr or Mrs Technology Nanopore from Oxford considered that part of the equation. In a stage where the IoT is in nonstop motion, setting a chain of identifying hardware and connections in a string, an extremely long string might be (for now) the only way to go and that will be (as I personally see it) a much larger stage in digital forensics to find the paths towards organised crime and disorganised corporate crime soon enough. When parts of a path are identified we would optionally see an identifier of non repudiation. Only that person, and that person could have taken that road. Which might also more quickly identify a larger strain of click farms. Not claiming the innovation, merely stating that this might be a path worth considering. At present some will discard the issue with data size, yet I come from an age where DEC had a Winchester drive with 250,000,000 bytes, which was the size of a work-desk and 50 times the weight, all for the price of a house in 11 specific cities in the USA. This happened within a career, as such do not dismiss the idea, as size becomes ever debatable, as speed is increasing in the better hardware, the application of ONT could go a long way and in directions the makers never considered, or at least not openly considered.
It might be me, anyway, I am meeting up with an old friend (Gaius Julius Caesar) who is giving me the lowdown on his campaign in Gaul, with my rusty Latin, it will take all weekend, so let’s see if I can afford a nice bottle of Italian wine. Have fun!