(ugh...yuck...sucked back in...but at least it's in response to the founder)
I agree with you Skeever.
Kevin...really really shocked by your post. It seems irrational to me , but perhaps the problem is your definition of "innovation" vs "invention"? Could you elaborate more? With complex products like smartphones, computers, etc. nobody actually "invents" the final product. It's the culmination of countless small inventions, and generally these days, almost every successful product had lesser known precursors which were essentially early models. So it's rather disingenuous to take a certain stage of the evolution of technology, label it something (ie...THIS is a "smartphone"!) and then pretend that product is a new "invention". Especially, when, as I pointed out, there are often direct precursors featuring most/all of the features...which of course it the case with the "smartphone" itself. By that token, the iphone, with it's touchscreen/OS/apps, was probably a bigger leap over previous smartphones, than the original "smartphone" was over previous phones. (which phone that was is debatable of course, but I'd say the first successful smartphone was BB).
Moreover, in looking at the history of Apple, I think it fair to say that they've been first, or nearly first, in adding/using/combining many techs. From the original Apple computer, and the Mac itself - these products shook the industry deeply, and it took years to see the overall impact, and just how trendsetting they became. When you talk about Apple building "on the backs of others", it really makes me wonder how you can characterize them that way. Besides the Apple and Mac I just mentioned, As skeever mentioned the ipod really wasn't like that - the MP3 market was really a mess before the ipod. The tablet market....well that is even more telling example, as Apple was largely mocked by the industry and fans before it was released. There certainly wasn't a market for that in place. In fact, I'd say the industry has been LARGELY thriving off Apple's innovation into new territory in the last 5-10 years. Whether it be the smartphones, iOS, Ipad, or ultrabooks.....Apple has been creating the markets that others have been trying to jump into.
I own exactly 3 Apple products: an Apple 2e, an ipod shuffle, and an iphone 4. During that time, I've had....dozens of PC's, a multitude of phones, several laptops....representing, HP, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Sony...and so many others. I've generally avoided Apple products, but I cannot, with any intellectual dishonesty or thoughtfulness detract from their "invention" or "innovation" or their place in the industry in bringing new products and tech to the market. On the whole, I'd say they've been more of a trendsetter/innovator/inventor than any other company in the industry I can think o f off the top of my head, but of course, that again depends on exactly what your argument is, and how you define "invention"! Could you elaborate more on what your take is?