How did Apple succeed in fingerprint technology where others have failed?

…it's not rampant technology for technology’s sake. Every single component, every process has been considered and measured to make sure it is truly useful…- Jony Ive

Innovation Does Not Always Mean Being First

Innovation is not just about the technology, it is how this technology is used and how it changes how we use devices; it transcends all prior innovations up to that point. Innovation builds on the greatness of the past, but this does not mean innovation is just a big incremental leap, there are more elements.

Some of the most informed technology observers, writers and notable Apple fans began to question if Apple could continue to innovate. They even began suggesting that the new Gold iPhone 5s option would be a failure before it even came to market. This is not about how wrong they were, it is about how easy it is to lose perspective of how truly innovative companies build truly innovative products. Sometimes it seems to be happening in slow motion, appearing like nothing is really happening.

So much of what Apple has done since the Apple I, has been a design philosophy of assimilating great technology in Apple time. This means they are usually not the first to bring technology to the market, but perhaps the first to pull together all of the elements to make a desirable product that includes the technology. From the Integrated Woz Machine to the new Touch ID, none of the foundational technology is new. However—with historical insight—it will eventually be deemed as innovative. Of course, just like any company, Apple has made some mistakes with technology; just not very often, and certainly not lately.

When I saw the first Apple patent applications for mobile devices back before there was an iPhone, I knew that Apple would take a very long time before they introduced a product with a fingerprint scanner. Once the iPhone hit the market Apple filed dozens of direct and indirect patents relating to this technology. This was a journey that spans more than seven years, as along the way Apple acquired the most active companies developing fingerprint scanner technology.

The Motorola Atrix And The Dawn Of Smartphone Fingerprint Scanners

Motorola invented the foundational technologies we all use today with cellular communications. Not only did they invent technology, they also have innovated countless times since Paul Galvin started the company in 1928. There is no doubt that Motorola has not only played a very important part in the connected and wireless world we see today, but that world simply would not have existed if Motorola had not innovated to the level they have. They were fir ...


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