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Apple may be the most Successful tech company ever. Many credit Steve Jobs with being the source of the ideas and products that brought about the personal computing revolution. But who’s really responsible for the innovations, which Ideas Apple bought is the question. Who brought the ideas that made products like the Macintosh, iPhone, and iPad possible? The answers may surprise you!

My first computer which I worked with was an Apple II. It had a green and black screen and I spend day and night to develop my programs on it. When I bought my first iPhone I was not impressed by it’s speed, features or functions. But it iwas an Apple device.
Dieter Hovorka

CTO, Co-founder, Skillz Middle East

You love them or you hate them. Apple is a brand which has a huge fan base and we can classify them very easy. For marketers, there are many lessons to learn from Apple, the way they build a brand nation, the way to build a community, the concepts of an Apple store and many more. When it comes to ideas, we should wonder where they came from. The infographic was made already back in the year 2012. However, it still shows some interesting facts and fun facts to the product history of Apple and their innovations claimed.

Who Are the Real Masterminds Behind the Success?

Apple’s chief industrial designer, Jonathan Ive, may have been the brains behind many i-creations. “I pay maniacal attention to where an idea comes from, and I even keep notebooks filled with my ideas. So it hurts when [Steve Jobs] takes credit for one of my designs. ” – Jonathan Ive.

“Picasso had a saying. Good artists copy. Great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” -Steve Jobs (1996). Fun fact: this is likely a misattribution … the “quote” may be inspired by Picasso, Igor Stravinsky or T.S. Eliot.

But Jobs wasn’t so nonchalant when he felt others were copying, borrowing or stealing Apple’s ideas … Apple won a lawsuit alleging Samsung stole patented Apple ideas for its phones and tablets.

Apple Devices with Bought, Borrowed or Stolen Ideas

The Mac has 66% market shares for computers over $ 1000. 1963 the Apple Mouse invented by Stanford Research lnstitute’s Doug Engelbart, 1970 Engelbart patents the mouse, 1979 Jobs visited Xerox engineers at Palo Alto Research Center, taking inspiration for his mouse and window interface.

Apple has taken ideas for the Mac OS from MS Windows.

  • Finder Sidebar
  • Mac Path Bar
  • Back and Forward Buttons
  • Screen Sharing
  • ALT+ TAB through open apps

Icon Dock for managing applications was first used in OS X, 74years after the Arthur OS, Unix, Linux, RISC OS, Amiga OS and OS/2 all incorporated docks.

The most successful portable media player in the world

We love our iPod, but what is behind the scene, who really had this great idea and where did it come from? Apple admitted stealing the iPod concept from Britain’s Kane Kramer, who invented a similar device in 1979, but Apple refused to pay him anything for it.

The iPod reached its peak market share of 74% in ’05. 

The click-wheel browsing interface was ripped from Creative’s NOMAD II Jukebox, which debuted over a year before iPod. Audio Highway’s Listen Up and the MPMan by Saehan Information Systems predate the iPod. Similar to this pocket radio designed by Braun in the ’50s and ’60s.

iTunes – The largest music vendor on Earth

Based on SoundJam by Jeff Robbin and Bill Kincaid. Released by Casady and Greene in 1999, then bought by Apple in 2000.

iTunes has a 70% market share of music downloads was the first online music store, that debuted in 1998. It had many of the same functional features as iTunes and contracted with major music distributors.

The iPhone – 1/2 of Apple’s revenue is from iPhone sales

But the smartphone market is hard, Apple reaches with iPhone 24% of the market share. Touchscreen technology was invented in 1965 Multitouch was pioneered by FingerWorks, founded in 1998 and bought by Apple in 2005. Apple took the idea, name, and logo for iOS5 wireless syncing app Wi-Fi Sync from developer Greg Hughes … after rejecting it for the iTunes App Store!

Samsung F700 phone was released almost simultaneously with the iPhone 3. The design and interfaces are suspiciously similar. Samsung claims that Apple stole its “pinch to zoom” feature from Diamond Touch, shown to a group of Apple engineers in 2003.

The iPad – Exceeds Mac in sales & revenue

Roger Fidler of digital publishing at the University of Missouri claims Apple engineers saw prototypes for a tablet computer he began designing in 1981. Microsoft developed and sold the MS Tablet PC in 2002, years before the iPad.

With the iPad Apple reached a market share of 70%.

Japanese Fujitsu built a touchscreen device they called “iPad;’ but Mag-Tek already had a number-encrypting device of the same name … Both devices preceded Apple’s device by a decade!

So there you have it … imitation is either the highest form of flattery or the lowest form of competition. The infographic was put together by the team of Best Master Programs and illustrates Ideas Apple bought, borrowed, and stole. Where competition exists there will always be someone claiming the idea. Even if for example bringing it to the market is a different story. See the full infographic below “Apple: They didn’t build that! Ideas Apple bought, borrowed and stole”, with a couple of good illustrations of the originals.

Apple Ideas

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