Apple has been a long-standing pioneer for new tech and innovation since the 1980s and up until recently, that statement has held true. The beginning of the 2000s saw a boom of innovations coming out of Apple with the advent of the iPod, the iPhone standardizing touch screens and the iPhone 3G making third-party apps standard.

With all this innovation one would think Apple has kept this train going but it hasn’t.

Apple has continually slid from setting a high bar for innovation to being a year behind many flagship devices. The past five years have shown that Apple has lacked innovation and would be more properly dubbed a trendsetter rather than an innovator.

Apple has continually shown its sluggish nature when it comes to adopting new tech, whether that be hardware or software.

Android has been able to multitask from the get-go, while iPhone didn’t receive multitasking capabilities until iOS 4 in June 2010. Before iOS 4 multitasking on an iPhone was impossible; iPhone users couldn’t listen to music and browse the web simultaneously, a key feature Android users were enjoying for nearly 2 years before the release of iOS 4.

Still, much of the hardware in iPhone falls short of its competitors along with most Apple products. Yet Apple products are still viewed as superior despite costing more for less.

Compatibility

Despite Apple products being used more now than ever before, their products still have a wide range of compatibility issues. If an app or program is available on Android or Windows that doesn’t mean it will be available on iOS or macOS, however, if an app or program is available on iOS and macOS then it is almost always available on Android and Windows.

iPhone still is incapable of installing third party apps not supported in the app store unless the iPhone is jailbroken.

The main advantage of compatibility for Apple products is how uniform they are with each other; finding the right fitting case for an iPhone is simple compared to finding a case for the wide range of devices that run Android.

It is far easier for developers to design apps for Apple products due to the uniform nature of Apple’s products, e.g., the quality of a picture taken with an iPhone while using Snapchat is far better than when doing the same on an Android device.

This isn’t because the camera on an iPhone is better but because each Android phone uses different camera hardware and software, complicating the development process for third-party apps that utilize a handset’s camera. This leads to worse photo quality on apps like Snapchat.

Uniformity across devices isn’t true innovation, uniformity being one of the few things Android handsets probably will never have.

Headphone Jack

The removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone is a leading example of Apple’s proclivity for trendsetting rather than legitimate innovation.

Their reasoning for the removal of the headphone jack was that headphone jack technology is archaic, removing the headphone jack made the iPhone more water resistant, removing the headphone jack allowed more internal space for hardware and lastly that the future of tech is wireless.

Of all the reasons stated the only reason to hold real weight was the internal space issue but all other reasons stated are more excuses than actual reasons.

Headphone jack technology is old but it is effective by not compromising audio quality, Samsung Galaxy phones still have headphone jacks while being water resistant and wireless technology may be the future for many things but it isn’t for everything; wireless charging still requires a handset to be placed on a charging pad that is ultimately hooked to a wire.

I remember when lacking a headphone jack and using a special adapter to plug in headphones was viewed as a handicap for a handset but now Apple has used their status as the Gucci of tech to make it appear as innovation when really they just want to influence the market.

Now users either need an adapter for their standard headphone jack or use headphones that utilize Apple’s lightning connector both of which don’t allow you to charge your iPhone and listen to music simultaneously. There is always the option for wireless headphones but remember that is just another battery to keep charged.

The removal of the headphone jack was ultimately a decision based on profit. Having to deal with the inconveniences of using wired headphones on their new devices, Apple offered their own solution, a pair of wireless Apple AirPods costing US$159.

By removing the headphone jack Apple has effectively changed the rest of the cell phone industry around their wireless their model.

AI

Siri is horrible compared to her counterparts, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Siri can rarely give actual answers to questions and usually offers to search the web for solutions. When a user asks an AI a question they do so with the intention of receiving a direct answer rather than sifting through an online search for an answer.

Siri is not capable of handling multiple questions at once, something Google has been able to do for a while. Siri is also not integrated into smart home technology which is one facet of future tech known as IOT.

Lack of Customization

The iPhone still doesn’t have the potential for customization that Android devices have. iPhone requires all apps to be displayed on one of the many screens that can be swiped back and forth from.

Because of this, it forces apps to be compartmentalized in folders on one of the screens rather than taking up tons of space on multiple screens, which still happens despite the option for placing apps in folders.

Android allows users to keeps apps organized alphabetically in a pull-up menu and allows apps to be dragged and dropped onto the home screen. Not requiring all apps to be displayed on the home screen allows for better organization and less clutter.

Android has widgets which are extensions of an app placed on a home screen. Widgets can have an infinite amount of functions, from displaying how many steps you’ve taken in a day or a revolving photo album, all on a device’s home screen without having to open any apps.

What Matters

Apple products keep getting more expensive every year but their hardware and software continue to lag behind their competition. Apple products will continue to cost more than their counterparts that have the same, if not better specs and hardware. Apple gets away with this due to their clout as a brand. This fact doesn’t seem to matter due to Apple’s ability to market its products as the designer tech option.

Apple has and will persist to make beautiful and sleek devices that are very user-friendly, especially for users who aren’t tech savvy like your parents and grandparents. Apple’s ability to integrate all of their devices on the cloud as one is something their competition still doesn’t have.

I’ll hand it to Apple for having the best emojis on the market, especially compared to the sub-par stock Android emojis. Apple’s status as the luxury tech option and their drive for profit continue to supersede their drive for innovation, forcing their competitors to be the industry’s innovators despite receiving little to no recognition.