Apple Falls From 1st to 17th Spot in ‘World’s Most Innovative Company’ Rankings

Fast Company today published its annual rankings of the 50 most innovative companies in the world, with Apple dropping from 2018's top spot to 17th place this year.

According to the rankings, the most innovative company for 2019 is Chinese tech firm Meituan Dianping, which "expedites the booking and delivery of services such as food, hotel stays, and movie tickets." In 2018, the platform facilitated $33.8 billion transaction for more than 350 million people in 2,800 cities.


Other companies in the top five include Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab, NBA, The Walt Disney Company, and women's fishing e-commerce service Stitch Fix. Square, Oatly, Twitch, Shopify, and Alibaba Group also filled positions higher than Apple, whose in-house processor achievements in 2018 were highlighted:
Apple's most impressive new product of 2018 wasn't a phone or a tablet, but a chip: the A12 Bionic. Debuting in last fall's iPhones, it's the industry's first processor based on a seven-nanometer manufacturing process. The A12's 6.9 billion transistors deliver dramatically faster performance, lower power consumption, and more raw muscle for intensive applications.
Last year Apple was given first place for its 2017 accomplishments, which included the iPhone X, the Apple Watch Series 3, ARKit, and its work to improve medical care with CareKit and ResearchKit. The year previous it was ranked the number four most valuable company.

To create these rankings, Fast Company says that more than three dozen editors, reporters, and contributors surveyed thousands of companies to identify the most notable innovations of the year and trace their impact on businesses, industries, and the larger culture.

In addition to a master list, Fast Company publishes a breakdown of most innovative companies by sector. Apple topped the list in the "Consumer Electronics" category, beating out companies like Google, Microsoft, and Dell.


This article, "Apple Falls From 1st to 17th Spot in 'World's Most Innovative Company' Rankings" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Future Apple Watch to Adopt Solid State Buttons With Haptic Feedback

A future version of the Apple Watch will be updated with solid state buttons that don't physically click but instead use a Taptic Engine to provide haptic feedback to users, reports Fast Company.

Apple will continue to use a two button configuration with a Digital Crown and a Side button, but neither button will be a traditional physical button.

Apple will stick with the Watch's current button configuration, with a button and a digital crown situated on one side of the device, but neither will physically click as before. Rather than reacting to the user's touch by physically moving back and forth, the new buttons will vibrate slightly under the fingertip, using the haptic effect Apple calls the Taptic Engine. (The digital crown will still physically rotate to navigate through content.)
What Fast Company is describing is the same solid state button design that Apple first introduced with the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus Home button. These devices, and later iPhones with a Home button, use solid state buttons that provide haptic feedback from the built-in Taptic Engine to mimic a button press. Apple uses a similar method for its MacBook and MacBook Pro trackpads, which also lack physical buttons.

Solid state buttons will improve water resistance in the Apple Watch and also take up less space, leaving more room for a bigger battery or other components. Fast Company's source also alleges Apple is working on using the top of the buttons as sensors to gather health-related data like heart rhythms as some types of measurements require more than one point of contact with a user's skin.

According to Fast Company, the Apple Watch could adopt solid state buttons as early as 2018, but if the feature doesn't make it into the 2018 Apple Watch models, solid state buttons will be introduced in 2019. In the future, beyond 2019, Apple is also said to be working towards a watch that has no buttons at all, with the sides of the device designed to respond to touch and swipe-based gestures.

Previous 2018 Apple Watch rumors have made no mention of solid state buttons, but we have heard that the fourth-generation Apple Watch models could feature a display that's 15 percent larger, perhaps through a reduction in bezel size. New models are also said to feature a longer battery life and improved health monitoring capabilities.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Tim Cook Says Apple is Always Focused on ‘Products and People’ Over Wall Street Expectations

Fast Company today published an interview with Tim Cook after naming Apple the world's most innovative company yesterday.

Image Credit: Fast Company/Ioulex Photography

Apple's CEO primarily reflected on the iPhone maker's culture and approach that has led to products such as the iPhone X, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, and as to be expected, he talked up the company he runs.

Cook said Apple's focus is always on "products and people," for example, rather than the company's earnings results or stock price.
Fast Company: What makes a good year for Apple? Is it the new hit products? The stock price?

Tim Cook: Stock price is a result, not an achievement by itself. For me, it's about products and people. Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people's lives? If you’re doing both of those things–and obviously those things are incredibly connected because one leads to the other—then you have a good year.
Apple is "not in it for the money" with Apple Music, for instance, according to Cook, who says the streaming music service is more about ensuring that artists are funded in order to have a "great creative community."
Fast Company: Music has always been part of the Apple brand. Apple Music has had a lot of user growth, but streaming is not a major money­maker. Do you think about streaming as a potential stand-alone profit area, or is it important for other reasons?

Tim Cook: […] Music is a service that we think our users want us to provide. It's a service that we worry about the humanity being drained out of. We worry about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world, instead of the art and craft.

You're right, we're not in it for the money. I think it's important for artists. If we're going to continue to have a great creative community, [artists] have to be funded.
He added that Apple is an "outlier" in the sense that Wall Street has "little to no effect" on the company—which is the world's most valuable.
Fast Company: Do the investment markets make innovation harder? Or does Wall Street motivate change?

Tim Cook: The truth is, it has little to no effect on us. But we are an outlier. More generally, if you look at America, the 90-day clock [measuring results by each fiscal quarter] is a negative. Why would you ever measure a business on 90 days when its investments are long term?
Cook said what drives Apple is creating products that "change the world for the better" with innovative new features.
Tim Cook: Take iPhone X, the portrait-lighting feature. This is something that you had to be a professional photographer with a certain setup to do in the past. Now, iPhone X is not a cheap product, but a lighting rig–these things were tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He added that one of Apple's unique qualities is patience in perfecting its products, rather than rushing to be first to the market.
Fast Company: Sometimes Apple takes the lead, introducing unique features–Face ID, for instance. Other times you're okay to follow, as long as you deliver what you feel is better, like HomePod, which is not the first home speaker. How do you decide when it's okay to follow?

Tim Cook: I wouldn't say "follow." I wouldn’t use that word because that implies we waited for somebody to see what they were doing. That's actually not what's happening. What's happening if you look under the sheets, which we probably don't let people do, is that we start projects years before they come out. You could take every one of our products–iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch–they weren't the first, but they were the first modern one, right?

In each case, if you look at when we started, I would guess that we started much before other people did, but we took our time to get it right. Because we don't believe in using our customers as a laboratory. What we have that I think is unique is patience. We have patience to wait until something is great before we ship it.
Cook's comments are similar to ones he has shared in the past, and the interview portrays Apple in the best possible way, but the full article is still a worthwhile read for those who want more perspective about the company's beliefs.


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Apple Named World’s Most Innovative Company Due to Focus on Hardware and Software Integration

Fast Company today published its annual rankings of the 50 most innovative companies in the world, and this year, Apple is the number one company on the list for "delivering the future today."

Apple was picked for its impressive list of accomplishments in 2017, which included the iPhone X, the Apple Watch Series 3, ARKit, and its unique focus on hardware and software integration that sets it apart from its competitors. Apple designs its own chips that are optimized for its operating systems, resulting in performance that blows the competition away.

But creativity is more than skin deep--and Apple's approach to the hardware and software engineering that creates its experiences has never been more ambitious. Other makers of phones and tablets buy the same off-the-shelf chips as their competitors. Apple, by contrast, designs its own chips--so an iPhone packs a processor designed specifically optimized for Apple's operating system, apps, display, camera, and touch sensor. The company has gotten so good at chip design that the A10 Fusion inside the iPhone 7 trounces rival processors in independent speed benchmarks.
Apple also topped the list for its focus on privacy-based artificial intelligence advancements, its growing entertainment business, and its work to improve medical care with CareKit and ResearchKit. Its accomplishments boosted it up three spots from last year, when it was ranked the number four most valuable company in the 2017 list.

To create these rankings, Fast Company says that more than three dozen editors, reporters, and contributors surveyed thousands of companies to identify the most notable innovations of the year and trace their impact on businesses, industries, and the larger culture.

Other companies that made the top 10 list include Netflix, Square, Tencent, Amazon, Patagonia, CVS Health, The Washington Post, Spotify, and the NBA.

In addition to a master list, Fast Company publishes a breakdown of most innovative companies by sector. Apple also topped the list in the "Consumer Electronics" category, beating out companies like Amazon, Nintendo, and Sony.


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