Too often, we dissect minute details of a company’s everyday actions looking for signs of health or strategy. Unfortunately, quarterly reports and individual actions can be totally misleading. That’s why I’ve created the above map, which charts, near as I can tell, the evolution of Apple’s entire product family from the Apple I to the iPhone. I was inspired to do it by this chronological sort done by Edwin Tofslie that Fake Steve linked to last night. The images involved are of every major design revision, not necessarily model revision, that Apple has made in its 30 year history. So I decided to chart how various products superceded others in Apple’s history, and start to think about new implications.
I’m tired, I haven’t done much thinking, other than to notice that Apple’s four product lines really came together perfectly in 2001, just in time to launch the iPod from a position of strength. The above image is tiny, so head to Scribd to see it in full, especially as a PDF download. There’s a lot to take in, but I’m dying to know what you think. Do my connections make sense? Does a pattern emerge that implies where Apple will go next?