Former Nokia Designer Notes Innovation Pitfalls, Warns Apple of the Same

Under Steve Jobs, Apple could seemingly do no wrong, at least towards his latter years. There was the introduction of the iPhone, the iPod touch, and the iPad, each of which were must-have devices for a period of time (some would argue they still are, though Samsung would certainly dispute that). When Jobs passed away, Tim Cook inherited a company that had created a rabid consumer culture the world has never seen, but as time goes on, there's growing concern that Apple isn't doing enough to innovate.

Of course, Apple is raking in billions of dollars in profits each and every quarter, but even so, the company isn't immune to a fickle fan base that could turn their back on a dime. Take it from Frank Nuovo, former Vice President and Chief of Design at Nokia during the company's glory days.

Nokia Phones
Source: Flickr (Albertas Agejevas)

Believe it or not, there was a time when Nokia devices were hip. That seems like forever ago, and the Nokia that Microsoft just acquired for $7.82 billion is far different from the Nokia that Nuovo resigned from in 2006, back when the company was still the world's leading phone maker.

Nuovo shared some insight with Australian Financial Review, talking about Nokia's missed opportunities like an 8-inch tablet that was in prototype form years before the iPad came out. Nokia also played with touchscreens before Apple popularized them.

"I look back and I think Nokia was just a very big company that started to maintain its position more than innovate for new opportunities," Nuovo said.

Apple Retail Store

Therein lies his words of wisdom for Apple. According to Nuovo, Apple could suffer the same fate if it doesn't start making some tough choices. Nuovo says Apple's challenge is find the next big thing.

"Apple has arrived at a very safe place, it is responsible for something everybody loves, so it feels it has to keep it going. Then all of a sudden the press is saying they have lost it and are no longer innovating," Nuovo says.


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