Since Steve Jobs came back to Apple there has been one thing Apple has done that nobody can really argue. Innovation in the PC industry. While everyone, including Apple at the time, was producing boring looking beige computers Apple decided to completely rethink how a computer can look and introduced iMac. Love it or hate it, the iMac was completely different than anything else at the time and soon other manufacturers tried to add some amount of flair to their PC lineup.

Skip a head a few years later and Apple did it again. While everyone else was basically creating incrementally different smart phones in 2007, Apple simply destroyed how everyone assumed a smart phone should look and work by bringing to market iPhone. They made it far easier, intuitive and beautiful and from that moment on, they made it so that any phone on the market that didn’t have a touch screen or had a touch screen that required the use of a stylus was simply awkward and outdated.

Apple’s most recent market disruption was none other than iPad. During the summer prior to iPad’s release the netbook craze was in full swing. Just a year later there are reports that sales on netbooks have slowed considerably and some reports even show netbooks are losing out because of iPad.

At iPads reveal in January of 2010 Steve Jobs quipped that netbooks weren’t better at anything, they were simply cheaper laptops. Many people argued that netbooks were most useful for consumption and were never really meant for creating content. Yet netbooks looked and worked just like any other ordinary PC. Apple changed this by creating something that looked and worked nothing like a PC. Note too that iPad was the first tablet device on the market. Microsoft has been trying to get consumers using tablet PCs for years but I don’t think anyone could argue they’ve been anything near the run away success that Apple has seen basically over night.

The inspiration for my post comes from Marco Arment’s recent post. He also poses the interesting question of, “How do you think the subcompact, inexpensive computer category will look in three years?”