Speaking of the iPad, some — like Hardaway and Gidali — gauge Apple’s success by its frequency or quality of successful product line releases. Since Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997, the company has released the iMac (1998), iPod (2001), MacBook (2006), Apple TV (2006), iPhone (2007), iPad (2010) and the Watch (2015).
Here, you could argue that Apple peaked around 2006 and 2007, when the company began three new product lines, including its most successful of all: the iPhone.
Still, which products truly count as breakthrough innovations? Does the Apple TV belong in the same breath as the iPad? Apple has often called its TV product a “hobby.” And what about all the products not mentioned here, from iTunes to the Magic Trackpad?
And finally, how do you measure iteration against innovation? Does Apple deserve more credit for the release of the brand new Apple Watch, or eight straight years of iPhone refinements? The former launched a whole new product line, but the latter has resulted in many times more sales.