Off the top of our heads, we can easily enumerate some of the most innovative companies. Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Facebook, General Electric, Renault, Alibaba, Huwaei and so on. They have all created products and/or services essentials to our daily life.
But what is innovation?
As per the Wikipedia definition, innovation is often viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. Innovation is more apt to involve the practical implementation of an invention to make a meaningful impact in the market or society. As per the Business Dictionary definition, innovation can also be the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.
Let’s consider Apple, for example. Steve Jobs changed our telecommunication market and ecosystem with the invention of the iPhone in 2007. He was a visionary who imagined the need for better-connected devices in our global world. Not like flying cars that they have been putting in our mind since the Fifth Element in the 90’s. As you might already know, it was not an overnight success. It was a long process for him and the company, with a lot of setbacks and changes. Yet, they didn’t stop, took risks and did innovate and revolutionize the phone and telecommunication industry. Who would have thought 11 years ago to create a business plan on his phone and share it? Nobody. In the end, with Apple, Steve Jobs managed to transform his idea into a product that creates value for them and their customers. And Apple became one of the most innovative companies.
When does innovation become a consumerism’s factor?
We are all grateful for these tech innovations. And I’m not even talking about the huge improvement we’ve made in other industries such as health care, automobile, retails, etc. But at what cost? What and where are the limits? When does innovation become another factor of consumerism? If you take the Business Dictionary definition of innovation, it is to create a good or service for which customers will pay. So profits. But one shouldn’t forget the first “rule” of innovation:
To make a meaningful impact on our society.
And that’s why, in my personal opinion, Apple and many other brands forgot to make better solutions for their customers and problems. My latest personal story with an Apple product is a proof of that.
I bought my first Apple product, the iPhone 4, 8 years ago. And then 5 years later, in 2013, I changed it to the 5s. After many struggles with the battery and heating issues for more than a year, I have recently decided to change it and buy the new iPhone 8. After a couple of months, I’m not 100% satisfied because of software bug issues. But I’m impressed by how fast it is and the bigger screen. I knew about the new Lighting Connector, that replaced the Audio Jack, and it didn’t bother me that much. Until a couple of weeks ago, when I realized for the first time the meaning of having only the Lighting Connector. If you’re not familiar with these “technical” words here’s a picture comparing the two.
I had a professional call, that I usually take with my earphones on, and was running low on battery. Without the Audio Jack, you connect the earphones to the Lighting Connector, where you plug in your charger as well. So it was either the earphones either the charger, but definitely not both. And to tell you the truth I was quite annoyed. And then a similar situation happened when I wanted to listen to music with my earphones and charge the phone as well. Nop, can’t happen! And the final straw and why have I started writing this post in the first place? Because on my way to Paris, on my 2 hours flight, I had planned to watch a movie on my MacBook Air. And again, I couldn’t. How? I couldn’t connect my earphones with a Lighting Connector to my Mac! As simple as that! And for your information, even on the newest MacBook Pro, you cannot!
Innovation is not only about ideas
I respect Apple and everything they have done for our world. But they forgot, and they are not the only ones, the essence of innovation. Innovation is not only about ideas. Innovation is about solving our problems, as customers, and not only about profits for the company.
The solutions to this particular problem I have are pretty simple:
- Buy the AirPods wireless Bluetooth earphones
- Buy the Apple wireless charger
- Buy an adapter
Where’s the problem? Every solution consists of purchasing, again, an additional accessory. And my biggest problem is that most of us will buy this extra accessory. Because, they say, the future is wireless. If Apple had a vision of a wireless future, they would have included in the box the wireless accessories or adapters. But when the AirPods cost 179 EUR and the Earphones with Lightning Connector cost 29 EUR, you understand why the latter is in the box. Profits my friends. Profits. And that’s why Apple must recalibrate and focus on our needs, not their dreams.
Last but not least, having two earphones, one for my Mac and one for my iPhone, as suggested by some of you, is not the kind of society I imagine myself living in. That’s what I call tech waste. And with our planet at the brink of destruction, any kind of waste is not welcome and should be banned. Instead, give your extra devices or accessories to someone who needs it. A parent. A friend. A non-profit organization. That’s what I have done. And I refuse to buy another set of earphones, even if it means not being able to use my Mac as I would like to.