Why you owe Apple

Look, I’m not going to make the case that Apple isn’t an arrogant, elitist company. You can argue all about their products being overpriced and lacking in functionality and that’s fine. But you can’t argue this:

Apple forces other companies to innovate.

iPhone: Is there any doubt that the functionality provided by cell phones today is far and above where it was even three years ago? Before the iPhone, you had aging Windows Mobile, BlackBerries, a declining Palm Treo line ( some of which were powered by Windows Mobile ) and a smattering of 3rd party OSs. Same shit, different models. Yes, HTC was making some noise, but that was just a theme on top of Windows Mobile and it felt that way. Everything was consistently bad: crappy web browsers, few 3rd party apps and awkward, stylus based UIs. Even if you hate the iPhone and all it stands for, it’s hard not to see that with the new Windows Mobile, Android, BlackBerry releases, marketplaces and UIs, Apple has sparked innovation in companies.

Flash: Look, we get it, you want Flash on the iPhone / iPad. Move past that for now. Is there any doubt that Apple rebuffing Adobe will force them to address the long standing issues w/ Flash on OS X? That’s already happening with some of the latest betas: the number of fixes happening to Flash in the past 2-3 years is huge compared to the previous 4-6. The same thing is going to happen with HTML5. The increased focus on the “Apple vs. Flash” war will do nothing if not light a fire under the HTML5 guys to make things better. All of this is good news for the end user.

Love them or hate them, it’s hard not to want to praise Apple as one of the few companies spurring on innovation. The technology community as a whole moves according to Apple, either with them or against them. You can argue that one company shouldn’t have that much power and you’d be right. However, at least these companies are moving. I’d rather have that a bunch of stagnant technology companies looking to squeeze a few more cents out of their dying product lines.