Things Apple changed, were mocked for, then were copied industry wide

A few days ago, I got into a Twitter discussion about things Apple changed and were mocked for changing, yet those changes were copied and, eventually became the new normal. The original discussion was prompted by a wave of phones embracing the notch.

I was surprised by how many different things emerged from this exercise. Key to making this list was Apple making a change that is first mocked. So innovation isn’t sufficient. Here’s the original tweet. Feel free to retweet or reply to it, send me anything I’ve missed.

  • The notch. Heavily mocked, and emerging as a design element on the latest series of smartphones. First on the list because it started the discussion. The rest of these are in no particular order.
  • Getting rid of floppy drive, then optical drive.
  • Removing the headphone jack.
  • The iPhone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in. And Steve Ballmer’s reaction. And the funeral.
  • Sealed in iPhone/Mac battery
  • Ditching the keyboard for a capacitive touchscreen
  • Bright, colorful computer cases. Apple has constantly changed industry design aesthetics, but that Bondi blue iMac G3 was startling. It was mocked, then embraced.
  • AirPods
  • USB. I was really surprised when Steven Woolgar brought this one up. But I did some research and, yes, Apple was mocked for including it in the iMac, and that iMac is credited with legitimizing and popularizing USB. This from the USB Wikipedia page: “Apple Inc.’s iMac was the first mainstream product with USB and the iMac’s success popularized USB itself.”
  • A computer without a command line interface.
  • A closed computer, with no easy access to add cards/memory. Not my favorite change.
  • Removing Flash. Hugely mocked.
  • The iPod. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
  • The Apple Watch. I wrestled with this one. No question it changed the category, changed what people expect from a smart watch. But I’ve always felt the mocking came in the form of doom-and-gloom and not “this is stupid”. But a bit of reading and discussion and yeah, I’m convinced, Apple Watch belongs on this list.
  • The iPad rollout. Steve Jobs was ‘annoyed and depressed’ over initial reaction to iPad launch.

I’m certain there are many more. Feel free to add your own in the comments or reply to the original tweet.