Name something Apple invented on their own!

So goes a challenge on “Tek Syndicate”:

Apple does innovate but rarely do they invent. There are a lot of people out there that think Apple is the creator and everyone else is a lowly follower. How many MAC fans screamed “iPad clone” when the MS surface surface? In fact, that technology has been around for a very long time.

I’ve found that when someone writes “MAC” instead of “Mac” it’s a harbinger of stupid, much like capitalizing the “S” in “Microsoft.” But here’s their challenge:

Name one thing that Apple invented on their own (after Woz left as an active team member), from start to finish, funded with their own money, etc. Software does not count.

Their responses in the comments make it pretty clear that the challenge should be rephrased this way:

"Name a hardware device that Apple has produced since 1987 that is not arguably an iteration of someone else’s existing work."

And they’re right, that’s tough! But replace “Apple” with any other consumer electronics company and see if it gets much easier. There’s not a whole lot that’s come out in the last 25 years that isn’t an improvement on somebody else’s work. Ethernet? The mouse? LCD displays? Capacitive touch input? PDAs? Mobile phones? Serial buses?

Sure, I get it—this is about mocking Apple for suing other companies over what often seem to be pretty silly patents. In Tek Syndicate’s world, that’s the one thing Apple did invent: nobody sued for patent infringement before Steve Jobs thought of it. And us Apple fans need to be edjoomahkayted about this kinda stuff. We’re all stupid and distracted by shiny, dontcha know. Thanks, Tek Syndicate, for being “educational and fun” about this! Maybe you should patent that.

Are Apple fans really so arrogant and obnoxious and guilty of blind faith as claimed? Sometimes, absolutely. That’s a problem with fans of anything. But the vast majority of fans of anything, whether it’s a phone or a computer or a rock band or a science fiction author, have become fans because they think the work is genuinely good.

Instead of asking why Apple attracts those crazy fanboys, ask why HP and Dell and Samsung don’t attract crazy fanboys. Don’t ask what’s wrong with Apple fans because they get excited about their Macs and iPhones. Ask why everybody else isn’t just as excited about what they use. The kinds of people who put together their own tricked-out gaming PCs and install new bootloaders on their Android phones are just as excited about their consumer electronics crap as Apple fans are about their consumer electronics crap, but they’re the exception to the rule.1

We’re in the fourth decade of the personal computer; why the hell isn’t everybody as happy with their technology as those annoying Apple fans are? I’m pretty sure that isn’t something Apple invented, either. But it sure seems to be something they get right more often than anybody else.

Incidentally, Tek Syndicate guys: if you don’t think the Microsoft Surface is a response to the Apple iPad, I have a patent-free bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

  1. And, of course, people who put together their own tricked-out gaming PCs are Tek Syndicate’s main demographic—and one that Apple has never made any serious effort to appeal to. 

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