How Is Apple's Closed Nature Fostering Innovation?

It's a weird company, that Apple. The company has nearly sunk a number of times now, and their current CEO actually left for a period and returned in order to right the ship. They had a huge grip in the education market, and then it couldn't find a market at all for years. Today, the company's portable electronics are far more popular than the computers that it builds (notice they're not called Apple Computer anymore?), and many credit the iPhone as the single phone that revolutionized the smartphone market.

Everything that Apple has developed since 2000 has led to something groundbreaking. The iPod turned the MP3 player market into an unstoppable force, the original iMac refdefined the all-in-one PC, Mac OS X gave Vista and Windows 7 something to seriously think about and the iPhone is still widely viewed as the best phone on the planet, bar none. It's easy to say that "Apple" and "innovation" go hand in hand, but what's crazy is that Apple is easily one of the most closed companies in technology today.

Apple never shows off products before they're announced, ever. Apple never shows their face at trade shows, ever. Apple won't allow their employees or partners to talk about unannounced products, ever. Apple keeps everything close to the chest, which makes you wonder how such innovation has managed to grow under such a heavy coat of suppression. Somehow, things like the App Store have encouraged developers to work through Apple's wild rules and still participate, and to this day no other App Store even comes close to offering the varying that Apple can.

Many are speculating that a Tablet of some sort is coming on Wednesday, and one can only assume that a Tablet-based App Store will also be announced. Developers will undoubtedly scramble to create new software before the device launches, but the question is "why?" We think that the secrecy actually acts to increase the buzz surrounding an Apple product, and that makes people excited to get involved once it's finally unwrapped. Still, we agree that Apple could be holding the power a bit too closely, and if someone like Google comes around with an equally exciting solution, that stock value may finally find its ceiling. Of course, Android has yet to knock Apple out, so who knows--maybe Apple's biggest fault really is their biggest benefit?