Opinion

Jobs' genius was to force the industry to innovate

On Tuesday this week the Apple faithful gathered in California to watch what they thought would be the unveiling of the much-anticipated iPhone 5. But they were to be disappointed. In the words of one famous nerd, it might have been Apple's "worst launch ever."

Now, I've never used an iPhone. My first smartphone was an HTC Desire and a few weeks ago I traded up to the Samsung Galaxy S2. The Galaxy is a far, far better device than the iPhone 4, and beats the new iPhone 4S pretty handily as well. If you don't believe me, check out this graphic from Engadget which lays it all out.

But I have little doubt that the industry's disappointment at the absence of the iPhone 5 will be swiftly forgotten, and that brings me on to Steve Jobs, who as you will know by now, died late Wednesday after a long and brave fight against cancer.

In the coming months, I think we will see a rush of innovation from other smartphone vendors as they look to exploit the long gap between iPhone models. In that time Apple's tech wizards will be hard at work, too, making the number 5 the best iPhone yet.

Jobs' genius, you see, was to force everyone around him, including his competitors, to innovate. In the last few years he pushed the boundaries of mobility through Apple, and that has enriched all our lives, whatever we thought of his company.

In 2005, Jobs stood before Stanford University graduands to deliver a commencement address during which he told them to: "Stay hungry, stay foolish."

Now is the time for us to live by that mantra. I believe the industry figures that hunger to invent and are brave enough to screw it up once in a while will be Steve Jobs' true legacy.

This was first published in October 2011

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