Apple's Innovation essay

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Apple has been a leader in innovation and design for years in the technology industry. Their commitment to give consumers the most practical, elegant designs has allowed them to set industry standards when it comes to computers, laptops, phones, and tablets. They have taken advantage on consumers’ desires to own well- designed products. Apple’s most iconic product, the iPhone, created a smartphone revolution with the cellphone community. It led to many other competitors attempting to copy the design and mimic the iPhone’s functionality. It is clear from Apple’s success that they have taken the operations management element of design to new levels and have become the industry standard when it comes to innovation and designing products that are continuously successful. Apple can be looked to for numerous examples of what it means have good design. Many of their products are used for benchmarking and for reverse engineering. Competitor’s looks to Apple to see what design features can be incorporated in their own product (Russel 2011). According to Reuters in the past year Apple has designed things that “keep competitors shaking at their boots.” (www.reuters.com). This includes designing a brand new iPhone with a larger screen, faster processor, and many other new features. This new phone and Apple’s other products succeed in both form in function according to the Operations Management textbook “Both Apple’s product and service design prowess are legendary”(Russel 2011). The reason behind this success is that Apple understand that in order to create a successful product you must not settle or trade form for function. Apple’s senior engineering manager explains this best when he says that the company is best at “pioneering software in elegant hardware in beautiful packaging.” They key to achieving this is being able to have an efficient design process that leads to the finished product. The design process is key when it comes to creating a product that will be praised for its design. In her article “You Can’t Innovate Like Apple”, in which she incorporates the words of Michael Lopp of Apple and Helen Walters of Businessweek.com, Alain Breillatt explores Apple’s design process to show us how exactly the company has become so success and why their process provides an excellent example of product design done right. From this article we learn that Lopp places emphasis on putting as much attention to detail on a product as possible. As a company, Apple does not wish to rush their products just so they can get them on the market. This can be seen in the level of detail in each Apple product. What Apple does different than many other companies is make the entire experience of getting a new item fulfilling. They design everything like it’s a present. For example, when a customer buys an Apple laptop, it is not just the laptop that is the present. The box that it comes in is well designed, the laptop itself is beautiful, and the software that is inside the laptop is sleek. Leading up to the finished product is a long design process that makes Apple successful. As Lopp explains, Apple has what they call a 10 to 3 to 1 process (Breillatt 2012). The design team starts with 10 different mockups of the same feature and then after months of work they decide on a final design. In addition to having multiple designs, the team also gets together for numerous meetings that inspire creativity even when the design is in its final stages. As can be seen by Apple’s sales over the last couple years this approach to the design process has worked very well in creating well-designed products. The textbook also touches on the idea of green product design and designing for the environment. Even though many products have good designs, many designers do not take the environment into account when created them. This is another area of product design where Apple can be used as a model as to how the design process should be...
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