The Biggest Misconception About Apple

TIME

To the average tech enthusiast, Apple might look like the face of innovation. After all, the company developed some of the world’s most well-known personal computers. It disrupted the entire music industry. It pushed the mobile phone business ahead by five years.

But here’s the thing: on a month-to-month basis, Apple really isn’t all that innovative.

Instead, the company is tremendously iterative—which is a fancy way of saying that they’re good at making steady, small improvements over time.

Consider its biggest hit, the iPhone, which has remained remarkably similar since its introduction in 2007. Eight years later, the home screen looks nearly identical, with its familiar grid of colorful icons and rounded corners. Sure, the design aesthetic has evolved a bit (now flatter and brighter), and the screen size has increased slightly (once in 2010 and again in 2014).

But compare that to the kaleidoscope of colors, sizes and…

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