From the time that Steve first left college to found Apple, there were signs that he was a man of vision. At the time his vision was that there would be a PC in every persons home. He and Steve Wozniak worked together to create the first PC which include a monitor, keyboard, and a computer system running a simple OS. HP, had the option to exercise ownership of their invention, but they were not able to see the value of what had been produced. Thus they passed it over.
As Apple grew, Steve went on to see the importance to the graphical user interface in helping the PC to gain traction with Joe consumer. He acquired the work of another company who had developed a remarkable graphical user interface for interacting with the computer. This gave birth to the desktop paradigm that many of us have grown accustomed to when interacting with computers.
It is this story, in essence, which has played itself out over and over again (with Apple Computers, Pixar, NeXT, iTunes, the iPod, and now in the mobile computing revolution). Steve Jobs has shown time and time again the ability to see the value of a particular innovation before anyone else and the ability to bring it to the public in a way which they would actually enjoy. This was his particular talent. He also was very adept at imparting his vision to people. This has become known as his reality distortion field. What really is going on is that he is able to very easily convey to people what he himself is seeing. He presents them essentially with his world view, his vision for what place a particular product will have in people’s lives down the line.
People buying these products are not just buying into them because of the innovation necessarily behind them but because they are supporting this particular world view. Steve Jobs presents his vision to people. They then see the particular value that such a product will have in the future. Although, the product has not reached that particular stage yet, because they agree with this vision that he has presented, they buy the product to show that they support this view. They are supporting the idea, not necessarily the product or that version of the product. Knowing that this is a company which will continue to innovate and work towards this idea, as they have presented it, and eventually help bring it to fruition.
Apple’s innovation brought the PC into the world. Even though other manufacturers exist, their success was in bringing the PC into the mainstream and recognizing the place that the desktop paradigm would have in this PC world.
Now they have brought the modern smartphone into the world equipped with an optimized interface based on touch. Even if the iPhone does not continue to dominate, the revolution in the mobile space is in large part due to Apple’s innovation. The iPhone adheres to a particular set of principles which will be followed by other smartphone manufacturers for years to come.