Monday 13 October 2008

Preparing for innovation

Some companies are better at innovation than others.  But much of the success is not about the ability to generate new ideas and implement them in products but how the organisation manages the process of innovation.  Apple has demonstrated many examples of this in the past and I believe are about to do it again tomorrow with the launch of their next generation of laptop computers.   I believe this launch will herald the beginning of a transition of Apple's Mac hardware to support the Open-CL facilities to be released in the next generation of their operating system known as Snow Leopard.   These facilities will provide for a significant jump in computing performance by the use of graphics processors to do more general processing tasks when they have spare capacity.   Apple did this before with the advent of WiFi 802.11N technology by ensuring that the bulk of machines out in the field would support it when the relevant software upgrade was dropped.  

I'm sure that tomorrow's laptop unveiling will mention a switch to Nvidia chipsets, but that there will be a few other headline grabbing announcements.   The significance of the Nvidia switch though will be that they are already committed to support for the Open-CL architecture.  For Apple, it will mean that the hardware pieces will be put in place for when Snow Leopard debuts, and the user experience of existing products can be significantly improved by updating the operating system.   It is this pre-planning of products which allows the software to exploit the hardware (or vice-versa) which is central to but often un-obvious about their business innovation.

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