Jean-Louis Gassée: Apple Never Invented Anything

Posted in Apple, Miscellaneous on 03/09/2012 by Henry Taylor-Gill


Ex-Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée has made a pretty controversial (but valid) statement in an article for Monday Note, saying that Apple never actually invented anything, explaining it with an anecdote about him making dressing and mayonnaise as a waiter in a French café.


Every day, before service starts, it’s my job to make vinaigrette, remoulade, and mayonnaise, condiments for the hors d’oeuvres (French for appetizers) I’ll wheel around on a little cart — hence the Monsieur Voiture snicker from the chef.

The vinaigrette and remoulade are no problem, but the mayonnaise is not my friend: Day after day, my concoction “splits” and the chef berates me.


Clearly, the episode left its mark, and it came back to mind when I first saw the iPad.

For thirty years, the industry had tried to create a tablet, and it had tried too hard. The devices kept clotting, one after the other. Alan Kay’s DynabookGoEoGridPad, various Microsoft-powered Tablet PCs, even Apple’s Newton in the early nineties….they didn’t congeal, nothing took.

Then, in January 2010, Chef Jobs walks on stage with the iPad and it all becomes obvious, easy. Three decades of failures are forgotten.

So, yes, if we stick to the basic ingredients list, Apple didn’t invent anything…not the Apple ][, nor the Macintosh, not the iPod, the iPhone, or the iPad…to say nothing of Apple Stores and App Stores. We’d seen them all before, in one fashion or another.

It’s worth reading the whole article as he makes a good point. Apple didn’t invent, but it revolutionized and that’s what set it apart.

Nobody can deny, as he says, that tablets existed before the iPad or that music players existed before the iPod, but Apple changed them so much that they became unrecognisable from what they once were. Apple didn’t invent. It reinvented.

  • ClearAsWater

    Of course Apple did not invent anything. They reinvented everything.

    • Anon

      Even if that was half true, not necessarily for the better and technology changes all the time, some could come along in a few years time and ‘reinvent’ or come up with something way better then what they’ve got making their technology obsolete. I don’t like their phones, don’t want an IPad bad I think ‘smartphones’ as they are now are overrated, preferred older phones like the Sony Ericsson C905, all it needed was a bigger screen . . .

  • Let’s just give Apple the credit of being the technology giant with the greatest ideas. They definitely reinvented, but non of the other companies could compete, and they copied. I believe there’s a huge difference between ‘invent’ and ‘innovate’. When it comes to Steve Jobs or Apple almost everyone talks about innovation.

  • Observer

    Einstein didn’t invent anything either. There was already relativity and there was theory. So he just put the 2 thing together, its obvious.

  • Pingback: Former Apple Exec Thinks the Company’s PR Strategy Is All Wrong - PRNewser()


Henry Taylor-Gill

Henry is a student who is a huge Apple fan, and has used their products since day one. He can remember how happy he was when he received the first iPod back in 2001 as a birthday present. He has an international background, having spent most of his life in France but he now lives in the UK. He is also a native French speaker and can also speak Spanish at a decent level. In addition to tech, Henry is an avid sports fan and has his own sports blog.