Has Apple lost its innovative edge?

When Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone back in 2007, Apple kickstarted an innovation in technology of epic proportions. With the iPhone Apple effectively created an entirely new product category, defining the smartphone as we know it today.

The world’s technology companies scrambled to follow suit, with Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, Sony and more emulating many of the iPhone’s best features. Apple showed itself to be truly ahead of the curve.

The same cannot be said about yesterday’s Apple event, which saw the launch of two new iPhones (the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus) and the Apple Watch.

The biggest selling point of the new phones is seemingly their size. The standard iPhone 6 comes in at around 14×6.5cm, a little larger than its previous incarnation, and the Plus version measures approx 16x8cm.

Leaving aside the question of why anybody would want such a massive phone, it says a lot that this basic change is the most talked up feature of the products. By going down the “phablet” route, Apple is emulating the decisions of Samsung, whose oversized Galaxy models have been available for years.

Turning to the Watch, we again see Apple following where Samsung, among others, has led. Pebble, perhaps the first widely-known smart watch, was released last year and as was Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, which performs much of the same functions that Apple’s Watch does.

To be fair, given the strength of the Apple brand, CEO Tim Cook may go on to be credited with popularising wearable tech, which remains something of a niche.

One of the more promising announcements to come out of Apple yesterday was the launch of Apple Pay, which will allow people to make in-store payments with just a tap of their iPhone or Watch – though initially just in the US.

Mobile payments are something which a lot of companies are experimenting with, but an army of Apple fans armed with this technology seems like the most promising way of popularising the method.

Ultimately the new products are impressive to look at and well designed, but Apple has a fight on its hands to remain one of the most innovative tech companies in the world.

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