Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley Believes 'Innovation Lull' Will End, Smart Watch Likely Key Product Focus

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John Sculley, Apple's CEO from 1983 to 1993 and the man famously responsible for Steve Jobs leaving the company in 1985 to form NeXT, has said that although he considers Apple to be experiencing a "lull in innovation", he thinks this is an industry-wide issue and that Apple will be the first to spot the next big trend.


Interviewed in the Huffington Post
, Sculley was asked about his comments in a CNBC interview last month when he said he "wouldn't expect to see a creative leap from Apple for maybe a few years."
I don't think that it's because Apple has lost its ability to innovate. My guess is that it has nothing to do with Apple at all, but with the current stage of technology.

Moore's law has been completely predictable for 40 years. You really need about a generation between each of [the] big innovations [but] there are just moments when all the stars are aligned for breakthrough products. Steve had a tremendous talent to be able to spot those ahead of everyone. The question is, who is going be the one to spot the next big trend, the alignment of stars? I'd bet my money on Jony Ive being the person to spot that.
Sculley downplayed talk of an Apple HD TV set but fueled speculation on a possible iWatch.
If [Steve Jobs] were alive today, I suspect he'd be really fascinated about what's happening with sensors. When you look at the ability to capture all kinds of information with sensors and then customize services back to individuals, that is so Steve Jobs. That's the kind of thing he'd have salivated over.

I think the next big area of product [innovation] is probably not around a television, as many are speculating -- actually, Apple TV is pretty good right now. I think it will be around wearable sensor-type products.
Steve Jobs hired Sculley from Pepsi in 1983, but the two clashed over management styles and priorities, Jobs focusing on future innovation and Sculley more on current product lines and profitability. A showdown between the two resulted in Jobs leaving Apple to form NeXT, which Apple acquired in 1996, bringing Jobs back into the company three years after Sculley left.

(Thanks, Arthur.)

Article Link: Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley Believes 'Innovation Lull' Will End, Smart Watch Likely Key Product Focus
 

nick_elt

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2011
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how well did apple do under him again? he can't really talk about lack of innovation.
 

sulpfiction

macrumors 68040
Aug 16, 2011
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Philadelphia Area
I believe this to be true. Everyone misses that feeling we all had back in 07. Including myself. But products like the iPhone don't pop up every year or 2. More like every decade or 2. Before iPhone, what was the prior "big thing"? HDTV? And look how that's been progressing. Prices have come down, TV's have gotten bigger and thinner, and we now have half baked 3D. But other then that, there hasn't been any big leap in the TV industry in a long time.
 

RBMaraman

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2002
1,217
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Louisville, KY
how well did apple do under him again? he can't really talk about lack of innovation.
No one argues that John Sculley wasn't a terrible CEO, but Apple hardly lacked innovation during his tenure. John oversaw Apple's entry into the portable market, the creation of FireWire and he championed the Newton. If you recall, Jony Ive and the iOS engineering team all went back to the Newton for development of the iPhone and iPad.

Also, Sculley's idea for the "Knowledge Navigator" (outlined in his 1987 book Odyssey) was the basis for several concepts integrated into the World Wide Web. Apple has also acknowledged that Siri development was spurred by Sculley.
 
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Nimrad

macrumors 6502
Jul 28, 2010
309
909
To be fair nobody wanted TO PAY FOR innovation. They wanted CHEAPER, and Microsoft underbid everybody.

Add:TO PAY FOR
You are mixing the word invention and innovation. The meaning of the word innovation requires commercial success.
 

Shrink

macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
8,931
1,606
New England, USA
You are mixing the word invention and innovation. The meaning of the word innovation requires commercial success.
If you are talking about the denotative meaning of the word, I was unable to find, in any definition, the requirement of "commercial success".

If you are saying that in your opinion, innovation per se is not enough without the commercial success of the innovation...that's a different story. It is your opinion, however, not the word's definition.

:D
 

gmanist1000

macrumors 68030
Sep 22, 2009
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I think he is wrong about companies being at a stand-still.

Google is innovating. They are working on Glass (which is an amazing glimpse at the future) as well as more projects at their X labs.

Apple could be working on a watch revolution, but we have yet to see anything yet. Time will tell.
 

iBug2

macrumors 601
Jun 12, 2005
4,162
402
I think he is wrong about companies being at a stand-still.

Google is innovating. They are working on Glass (which is an amazing glimpse at the future) as well as more projects at their X labs.

Apple could be working on a watch revolution, but we have yet to see anything yet. Time will tell.
The reason we heard about the glass and nothing from Apple is because we never hear anything from Apple until the product is almost ready to ship. Apple is secretive, Google, not so much. So, not hearing from Apple should never ever mean that they aren't cooking things up in their labs.

And basically every new product Apple came up with since the iPod has been an enormous commercial success. (Talking about physical products). So I think that speaks volumes. Which company out there can say the same for all of their products in the last 10 years? Certainly not Google.
 

mdelvecchio

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2010
3,117
1,056
What are you talking about? Apple had tonnes of innovations under John Sculley. Most of them flopped, but they certainly innovated a lot more than Apple has in the past couple years.
oh lawd. who else created a unibody cell as thin & light and sleek as the iphone 5 in the past couple years? who else created a tablet as thin & light w/ as much battery as the mini in the past couple years? who else created an all-in-one as thin & light as the imac? who else has a smart hybrid drive like the Fusion drive?

these things may not matter to you, but they do to millions of other customers like myself. which is why i buy them.
 

bwillwall

macrumors 6502a
Dec 24, 2009
769
329
His judgement... I hope he is right but I dont know he is. If Apple makes the watch "snap-on" like they are saying then it will fix the problem of it being a pain to put watches on though, so there's that.
 

mdelvecchio

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2010
3,117
1,056
I think he is wrong about companies being at a stand-still.

Google is innovating. They are working on Glass (which is an amazing glimpse at the future) as well as more projects at their X labs.

Apple could be working on a watch revolution, but we have yet to see anything yet. Time will tell.
glass a glimpse of the future? sorry, but i think youll be disappointed. normal human beings (not gadget nymphos) dont like the idea of either wearing head gear, or having others wearing them & recording us all of the time.

the gargoyles of Snow Crash are not the future.
 

andrewzz

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2012
37
0
Innovation and Sculley

Can someone shut this guy (Sculley) up? The last thing this guy knows about is innovation. Why is he coming out of the woodwork now that Steve is gone, has anyone actually missed him?
 

slicecom

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2003
2,061
92
Toronto, Canada
oh lawd. who else created a unibody cell as thin & light and sleek as the iphone 5 in the past couple years? who else created a tablet as thin & light w/ as much battery as the mini in the past couple years? who else created an all-in-one as thin & light as the imac? who else has a smart hybrid drive like the Fusion drive?

these things may not matter to you, but they do to millions of other customers like myself. which is why i buy them.
Pretty sure I've bought a lot more Apple products than you over the years, but thinness is not innovation. Most of what you listed are thinner versions of innovations they made years ago.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
No one argues that John Sculley was a terrible CEO, but Apple hardly lacked innovation during his tenure. John oversaw Apple's entry into the portable market, the creation of FireWire and he championed the Newton. If you recall, Jony Ive and the iOS engineering team all went back to the Newton for development of the iPhone and iPad.

Also, Sculley's idea for the "Knowledge Navigator" (outlined in his 1987 book Odyssey) was the basis for several concepts integrated into the World Wide Web. Apple has also acknowledged that Siri development was spurred by Sculley.
I believe you're the one arguing that John Sculley wasn't a terrible CEO. Actually, I agree with you. He gets a bad rap because he forced Steve out, and he probably wasn't the best choice to run a technology company. But he did as you said, and he also transformed Apple into a very profitable company during his tenure. He cleaned up the mess left by Steve. Apple really suffered under his two successors, both in terms of innovation and profitability. (The record should indicate, were both of them were technology people.)

That said, Sculley has no special insight into innovation at Apple. I do happen to think he is right, though.
 

wovel

macrumors 68000
Mar 15, 2010
1,838
160
America(s)!
Pretty sure I've bought a lot more Apple products than you over the years, but thinness is not innovation. Most of what you listed are thinner versions of innovations they made years ago.
What is innovation?

Webster's defines the word as this:

1 : the introduction of something new
2 : a new idea, method, or device : novelty
 
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