On its way to becoming the world’s most valuable, most admired, and most lifestyle driving company, Apple has continuously taken advantage of what I call the ‘Innovation Shortcut’. This shortcut - which is based on creating new value by combining existing components rather than inventing something outright – is also available to anyone for the taking.
Here are two examples from Apple’s future-shaping innovations: In 2001, when Apple was designing the first iPod, it needed a disc drive small enough and with enough memory to motor the device. Instead of developing it, Apple found that Toshiba already had such a component ready in its lab, so it entered into an exclusive procurement partnership with the Japanese company. Similarly, a key element of the first iPhone in 2007 was a highly durable glass cover, which would function as the touch screen interface. Apple discovered that Corning, the American glass maker, had developed just such a glass in the 1960s, named ‘Gorilla Glass’, which then became a core component of iPhones.
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