Innovation replicated?

Several years ago I had the distinct pleasure of going to the Computer Hall of Fame and witness so many great innovations from the early days of computing to the present.  During my visit, I was able to listen to the great minds speaking on innovation – Guys like Steve Wosniak (Apple), Dan Bricklin (VisiCalc) and several other innovators that shaped the industry.

This week we got a look at Apple’s latest introduction, the iPad.  Surely this is not the same innovation that Steve Wosniak envisioned when he shrunk the 5 1/4″ floppy down to the 3 1/2″!  I remember how he described working  in the dark basement under one of those bench lamps that has a magnifier with a light around it.  Steve Jobs kept encouraging him to keep going and Apple innovation began – A new form factor computer with a miniaturized floppy!  Truly a highlight in my career being one of a limited few to witness this induction!

Flash forward to the iPod Touch and iPhone, truly a market mover/disruptor in the handheld digital market!

Now we have the overgrown iPod touch – the iPad!  Take the iPod Touch, stretch it with a bigger screen and shazam you have an iPad!  Makes one wonder how we keep replicating and changing the form factor to compete for where we believe the market is moving.  Will the iPad  erode sales of other readers like the Kindle, will it find a home in education?  What effect will it have on NetBook’s and Tablet computing……..oh thats right the iSlate is almost here!

You have to hand it to Apple, they are the masters at marketing and form factor – Innovation Replicated!

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