Apple stopped innovating with the iPhone. You’re welcome.

Apple stopped innovating with the iPhone. You’re welcome.

The tweets today are making me laugh. Not just a chuckle, but that deep, room-filling laugh that you get when you understand something that others don’t. It’s like holding onto an inside joke that you just can’t hang onto any longer. With that said, here’s the punchline —

Apple’s last innovation in mobile was the iPhone. Everything since then has simply been perfecting the work of others.

What’s that? The sound of a thousand angry iFanboys? Not so fast. Hear me out first.

There’s no doubt in my mind (and really shouldn’t be in anyone else’s either) that the iPhone was the single biggest innovation in mobile phones. It completely changed the way that the market was heading and there have been copycats ever since. But if you look beyond the device itself and the first OS version, the innovation stops and the perfecting begins.

This is Apple’s forte. The company typically re-asks old questions and comes up with better answers than we’ve seen in the past. It holds true for nearly everything that the company does…outside of the iPhone. The iPhone was a complete re-thinking of how mobile devices should operate, rather than perfecting an existing recipe.

Today’s iOS 5 announcements were huge. There’s no denying that. But what it did with the OS was nothing that we haven’t seen before. It’s just the stuff we’ve seen…done better. Using the volume button for a camera? Yep. There was an app for that. Notification Center? Hi there, Android fans. Deep Twitter integration? Most of that has been in Android app hooks for quite some time.

The bare fact is that Apple’s innovation in the mobile is the piece of glass and metal in your hand, not necessarily the operating system that runs on it. And you know what? That’s exactly what you want.

Most of us who are fans of Apple products like the fact that they simply work (with a few notable exceptions — I’m looking at you, MobileMe). We don’t want things that don’t work perfectly and Apple has become a master of fixing the half-finished work of others.

The fact that people cheered when Steve Jobs introduced features that should have been in iOS all along is telling. We’re simply happy to get our hands onto the products as they should be, rather than as they have been.

Mind you, I’m still a big Android fan. I still have 4 Android devices in my possession and they likely won’t be the last. But after seeing today’s keynote, I’ll likely have an iPhone soon too. I’m a bit tired of having things that barely work, instead of having things that just work. For that, Apple, thank you.

You’re welcome.

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