After listing Steve Jobs among the 100 most influential people in the American world five times, and then Tim Cook thrice, including this year, news magazine Time just bestowed the ultimate honor upon the trend-setting, history-changing and money-making juggernaut that is Apple.
Credited for ushering in a “new era of flat, touchscreen phones with buttons that appeared on screen as you needed them”, the iPhone has been named the most influential gadget of all time. It wasn’t the world’s first smartphone, but it paved the way for a “family of very successful products” that “fundamentally changed our relationship to computing and information.”
It sold like hotcakes too, at least in later iterations, and to this day, it continues to set standards for brand awareness, shrewd marketing and hefty profit margins. Innovation? Not so much of late, though Apple CEO Tim Cook believes some of the new features and breakthrough technologies about to be introduced will become an essential part of everyone’s lives.
Cupertino of course holds the record for most nods on Time’s top 50 list of prominent gadgets in history, ranking third with the Macintosh, ninth with the iPod, 25th with the iPad, and finally, 38th with the iBook.
No love for the Apple Watch, or Pebble’s rookie wearable for that matter, although a wrist-worn device did make the cut, at number 42. It’s the Fitbit, lauded for bringing pedometers “into the digital age and to the masses”, yet eclipsed in “influence” by other recent releases in different segments of the tech universe, like the Roku Netflix Player, Oculus Rift, Wii, Sony PlayStation, Amazon Kindle (the e-reader, not the tablets), and Motorola Droid.
Aside from the iPhone and iPod, it’s interesting to note the top ten is comprised of industry veterans such as the 1968 Sony Trinitron, 1979 Walkman, 1981 IBM Model 5150, and even 1954 Regency TR-1 transistor radio. What does that tell us about the state of play on the gadget battlefield today, and the innovating potential of former and current market leaders like Samsung, Sony, Google or Motorola? Exactly.