Jobs Biographer Walter Isaacson: Apple 'No Longer the Most Innovative Company'

Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Steve Jobs, went on record this week to express his belief that Google and Amazon have overtaken Apple to become the most innovative technology companies of the modern day.

The Aspen Institute CEO and writer of the best-selling biography made the frank remarks in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" show, during which he singled out Apple's lack of movement in the virtual assistant space as an example of where the company had been left behind.

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Image via CNBC

"Apple is no longer the most innovative of companies," Isaacson said. "But they are good at execution. The innovation in the virtual assistant space, for example, is coming from Google and Amazon, not Apple."

Isaacson said he was "surprised" that Apple hasn't moved its virtual assistant Siri into the home and claimed that he frequently used both Amazon's Echo speaker and Google Home. "Sometimes I let them compete," he said.

Apple is expected to release a smart speaker with Siri integration soon, possibly as early as next month at WWDC. However, Isaacson thinks it could be too late for the company to catch up in that space, and suggested Apple should look at other areas in which to innovate.

"You could have a great company — and Apple is a great company — without having really a next big thing, but it isn't in Apple's DNA to be that way," said Isaacson.

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Top Rated Comments

maflynn Avatar
92 months ago
I see a lack of excitement, a lack of coolness and lack of strategy coming from Apple. We get thinner products and emojis, but Amazon created Alexis. I mean Apple used to be the one that created products that people didn't know they needed, now Google, Amazon and the reviled and hated Samsung are doing that.

I see at times, Apple protecting its lead more then taking chances. To use Steve Job's quote they're not staying hungry staying foolish.

How many years have we heard Tim Cook say that they have some pretty exciting products in the pipeline, 4 years? 5 years?

Lately we see less true innovation and more following the crowd. I mean they're copying the popularity of snapchat with those emojis/balloons and other affects in Messages.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sandstorm Avatar
92 months ago
Think this obvious to anyone who pays attention. At the beginning I was positive about Tim Cook, but he have proved to be a unapologetic beancounter. Apple has become a money milking machine, things like leaving the dent in the universe are long forgotten. Unfortunately.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macwatcher123 Avatar
92 months ago
I have a hard time taking this guy at all seriously.
Not only did he write that appalling Jobs biography which just rehashed old stories even though he had uber-access to Steve, doing the man -- and the world -- a complete disservice,
But isaacsson also sits with Google's Eric Schmidt on the Defence Technology Committee, meaning both men see surveillance capitalism as the way forward. This is nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with Apple's stance on privacy.
My response? Don't buy this guy's books.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
92 months ago
Isaacson thinks it could be too late for the company to catch up in that space, and suggested Apple should at other areas in which to innovate.

Remember the "if Apple does not release a smartwatch next month it will be in trouble" analyst guy? Apple did not release a smartwatch the following month. Today, they dominate the space.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Keane16 Avatar
92 months ago
I see a lack of excitement, a lack of coolness and lack of strategy coming from Apple. We get thinner products and emojis, but Amazon created Alexis. I mean Apple used to be the one that created products that people didn't know they needed, now Google, Amazon and the reviled and hated Samsung are doing that.
Apple are rarely first. Stop re-writing the past.

I see at times, Apple protecting its lead more then taking chances. To use Steve Job's quote they're not staying hungry staying foolish.
Yep, removing a headphone jack from their most important product was not taking a chance at all. /s

How many years have we heard Tim Cook say that they have some pretty exciting products in the pipeline, 4 years? 5 years?
Haven't we got them? Pencil on iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods etc. I like and use them and they've been released recently.

Lately we see less true innovation and more following the crowd. I mean they're copying the popularity of snapchat with those emojis/balloons and other affects in Messages.
- TouchID
- Apple Pay
- Stepped batteries in the MacBook
- The A series of SoCs
- ResearchKit
- Swift
- AFPS
- AirPods (in particular the magic of the W1 chip)

Yeah all they do is emojis and balloons. /s
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
92 months ago
Haven't we got them? Pencil on iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods etc. I like and use them and they've been released recently.
Apple pencil :rolleyes: Tablets have had styli for years and now that apple has one its innovation. The same with the apple watch, yes its nice but but its a smart watch that doesn't run apps that well (though Apple was hoping to see an influx of apps that just hasn't happened).

TouchID
You mean a thumbprint reader - its not like we've never seen any of those.


- Apple Pay
You mean NFC

- Stepped batteries in the MacBook
Others have had stepped batteries before apple.

- The A series of SoCs
You mean the ARM processors? Yes its fast

- ResearchKit
- Swift
What's is innovative about these, please detail it?


- AFPS
Nothing really hugely amazing about that, A new file system was long overdue and it has features that have been in other FS for many many years.

So while Apple has had some nice products, I wouldn't qualify all of them as true innovation
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)