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Is Apple Still Innovative? Creator of Iconic ‘Think Different’ Campaign Weighs In

Steve Jobs Holding Iphone 2007 Credit: ABC
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The creator of Apple’s famed “Think Different” campaign says that Apple is still innovating — and will continue to do so.

Ken Segall has a storied history with Apple. Segall famously came up with the name “iMac,” and served for 12 years as the creative director for the ad agency that dreamt up the aforementioned Think Different ad campaign.

In a recent interview with The Korea Herald, Segall mused on his time working with Steve Jobs and Apple, but the former ad man said that the Cupertino company has not become stagnant without its late cofounder.

“Steve was quite unique and will never ever be replaced, so it is impossible for Apple to be the same,” Segall said. “But I think his value is there, and brilliant people are there, so things move forward.”

He added that he believes innovation at Apple is likely happening in a similar pace under Tim Cook.

But, interestingly, Segall denied that Apple is revolutionary because it releases groundbreaking products.

Although no doubt still an integral part of the company, Segall said that “Apple’s version of innovation is not being the first in the world to come out with the new kind of product category.”

That comment may echo the thinking of Apple under Tim Cook. Earlier this year, when asked about rumored augmented reality glasses, Cook said that “We don’t give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people’s experiences.”

Apple is largely rumored to be working on a breakthrough augmented reality product that could debut in 2019 or 2020 — and, if all goes according to plan, could basically replace the iPhone.

That device and the thinking behind it may bode well for Apple, since Segall said that there aren’t many places left to go for the smartphone.

“I think phones are very mature products right now, (we should) not necessarily expect huge leaps,” Segall said. “It could likely become a commodity as we all move toward wearable technology.”

The ad executive went on to liken the smartphone to the PC as it stands now. Innovation for smartphones is nearing its end and future devices will likely only incorporate incremental boosts instead of moonshot technologies.

Of course, when it comes to the realm of digital assistants and voice activation, Segall said there is certainly room to improve for the smartphone industry.

Since Segall was in South Korea at the time of the interview, he was also asked about the differences between Apple and its chief smartphone rival, Samsung.

Segall noted that both firms are different in their philosophies. Referring to the companies’ seven-year patent war, Segall maintained that both Apple and Samsung had “borrowed” ideas from other companies for their own products.

“Samsung has definitely borrowed ideas from Apple, but at the same time Apple has borrowed many ideas from other people,” Segall said. “It’s a legal issue I suppose.”

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