Top Ten ... Things people think Apple invented (but actually didn't)

Published 
12 Aug 2011
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Apple makes some truly great products, but you'd be wrong in thinking it got there first with many of them. We list the top ten offenders ...

Ask anyone to name an MP3 player and they’ll probably say iPod. When you think of smartphones, odds are the first one will be an iPhone, and likewise the iPad when thinking of tablets. Apple reigns supreme over the gadgets we use on a daily basis, so it’s unsurprising that many people make the mistake of thinking the company invented them outright.

With the patent war currently raging between Apple and Samsung - preventing us from buying the fantastic Galaxy Tab 10.1 here in the UK - we thought it was time to set the record straight and list the things Apple gets credited for inventing, but actually didn’t.

10. The computer mouse

A lot of people credit Apple with introducing the computer mouse to the world with launch of the original Macintosh in 1984, but the company was beaten to the punch by almost three years. Xerox, today better known for its photocopiers and printers, launched the Star in 1981. Although it looks incredibly primitive now, it was built around numerous technologies that are still commonplace today, including the computer mouse. Which leads us to…

Xerox Star

It’s on the scrapheap here, but the Xerox Star introduced the computer mouse to the world

9. The Graphical User Interface (GUI)

There’s no question that the Apple Macintosh was the first commercially successful computer to use a graphical user interface, but it wasn’t the first overall. Yet again, Xerox got there first with the Star, which had basic versions of the icons, folders and menus that we’re all familiar with today. Designed around the concept of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), it made much more sense than other machines that used command line interfaces.

Xerox Star OS

Words AND pictures? It might be laughable now, but back then it was revolutionary

8. The OS X operating system

Apple’s operating system is the software foundation of all Macs and MacBooks, but it wasn’t built from scratch in Cupertino; it’s based around on the UNIX operating system, originally designed by AT&T employees in the late 1960’s.

Jurassic Park UNIX

Lex knows the truth behind OS X - It’s a UNIX system

UNIX has gone through significant changes since it first appeared, but OS X still roots itself firmly within low-level code from both UNIX and the offshoot FreeBSD project. Even some of the most well-known features of OS X aren’t Apple’s own invention, including…

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