The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies


#2 on the list is Apple, for creating magic with minutiae.

"In the case of iOS 8, the newest version of its mobile operating system, Apple focused on empowering third-party developers to build interesting new things. HealthKit is a centralized clearing house for data collected by wearable gadgets such as smart watches and fitness trackers, such as heart rate and steps taken. HomeKit gives gizmos like Internet-connected thermostats, light bulbs, and door locks the ability to work in concert with each other, with voice control by Siri.

Other new features allow apps to insinuate their way into the operating system and Apple’s cloud services in ways that previous iOS versions did not. If you’ve upgraded to iOS 8, you may have noticed that the TouchID fingerprint sensor is more reliable than ever. You’re then more likely to use Apple Pay, which means your experience checking out in popular apps like Airbnb, HotelTonight, Instacart, and Lyft is even more magical. Camera apps can tap into iOS 8’s Visit Monitoring function to predict whom you might want to share a particular photo with based on where you were when you took it. And Continuity lets users smoothly transition in-progress tasks such as email and phone calls from iPhone to iPad to Mac.

It’s too early to judge the long-term impact of all these features, given that they depend on what other companies do with them. Still, they’re evidence that Tim Cook’s Apple is developing its own character—one deeply influenced by Steve Jobs, but not slavishly so. Jobs, after all, was fond of boasting that Apple was the only outfit in the tech industry that was solely responsible for "the whole widget"—hardware, software, and services, all integrated into a seamless experience. With iOS 8, Apple is loosening its control over future widgets in ways that its control-freak cofounder might have rejected. But they’re putting Apple even more boldly at the center of "the whole widget" of our technology-powered lives."