The Top 7 Innovations Of The Last 15 Years

This article looks at the most innovative companies and technologies of the last 15 years


I take a trip through memory lane to find out the technological innovations that have helped shape the last 15 years. There’s an argument for each and every one taking the coveted prize, but regrettably, there can only be one winner.

(1) Google

Like a few other companies on this list, Google has become so successful and engrained in our lives that it’s become a verb – to google. Obviously Google isn’t just a search engine anymore, it has its fingers in pretty much every pie possible. Undoubtedly one of the most innovative companies in the world, and with at least an element of all our lives invested in Google in some form, you can be sure that its data collecting capacity will mean that Google will continue to bring innovative technology to the market that makes us feel special.

(2) Apple’s iPhone

I chose Apple’s iPhone as the smartphone of choice for this list because at the time of its first release in 2007, it really was a ‘wow’ moment- we hadn’t really seen anything similar to it before. In March this year, Apple sold its 500 millionth iPhone and with the iPhone 6 set to be as popular as ever, it’s difficult to see that number not rising significantly over the coming year. It has been reported however, that Apple is shying away from its ‘leader’ status with the iPhone 6 looking suspiciously similar to a number of HTC’s phones. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see whether Apple maintains its rank as the world’s premier smartphone manufacturer.

(3) Facebook

Facebook almost seems a little ‘old school’ now. For whatever reason, it has lost that something that made us spend hours upon hours fixated on our computer screens in the mid to late 2000’s. It seems to be the normal order of things that social networks organically become redundant after a few years, so with that in mind, the fact that Facebook is still with us shows that it’s doing something right. Like Google, it’s got such a substantial pool of data at its disposal that it’s likely it will continue to produce services that suit our own personalised needs.

(4) Twitter

Twitter, like Facebook and Google, has its own verb – to tweet. It’s now the go to site for celebrities looking to vent something, people who want the news before the BBC even reports it and for organizing political activities, like we saw in the Arab Spring. If I were a betting man, I would say that Twitter’s shelf life is much longer than Facebook’s and it continues to be one of the most exciting platforms in the world.

(5) Wi-Fi

Starbucks for one have a lot be grateful for when it comes to Wi-Fi. If it weren’t for them, people would only go into their coffee shops for coffee - not the free Wi-Fi. However annoying the connectivity problems can often be, Wi-Fi has undoubtedly contributed to the mobile society that we all currently enjoy. It often acts as the platform for the other products on this list and enables them to operate at their innovative best.

(6) Tom - Tom

Like Apple’s iPod, The Tom-Tom has been steadily pushed into insignificance by the emergence of smartphones and the sophistication of ‘maps’ applications. The life cycle of the GPS system has only been in motion since 2000 when the government allowed the public access to their then advanced GPS signal – they’re now available in most supermarkets for around £50. Tom-Tom have not become too disheartened by the market’s starvation of specific GPS technologies though, they recently partnered up with Apple and will be the company that provides the mapping data for the new iPhone 6’s operating system.

(7) Apple’s iPod

I was very surprised to find out that Sony had only stopped making their ‘Walkman’ in 2010 – the iPod took over that market in the early 2000’s and held onto it with a firm grip until the smartphone started to come on the scene. Despite coming last on our list, it’s hard to ignore MP3 players and the popularity they had, especially when the Apple iPod was released in 2001. The news that Apple have killed off their oldest and dearest product line, marks if not the end, then the slippery slope to extinction, but we mustn’t forget the impact that the Mp3 player had on DRM, the music industry as a whole and online music stores.

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