10 Companies That Completely Reinvented Themselves


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Apple
A general view of the Apple store on Regent Street, London. Apple has probably reinvented more electronic devices than any other company. John Keeble/Getty Images
A general view of the Apple store on Regent Street, London. Apple has probably reinvented more electronic devices than any other company. John Keeble/Getty Images

Apple has done more than reinvent itself; you could say it reinvented the "reinvention" business [source: Moltz]. Legendary CEO Steve Jobs didn't invent any of the machines that made Apple a household name, but he and his design team made them infinitely better. Apple didn't invent the personal computer, but the intuitive icon-based interface on the original Apple Macintosh blew the doors off the existing DOS-based home PCs [source: Bajarin]. Apple didn't invent all-in-one PCs or lightweight laptops, but it did introduce its own models with such style and user-centered design that no one remembers the awkward clunkers that came first.

Apple's greatest reinventions came when it turned its attention away from computers and toward hand-held devices. Again, the iPod and iPhone were not the first MP3 player or smartphone, but their Zen-like design and advanced touchscreen technology revolutionized the gadget industry. With the iPad, Apple combined all of its recent reinventions — touchscreens, lightweight design, plus incredibly powerful processors and batteries — to breathe life back into the tablet, a gadget sector that was pronounced dead back in the 1990s [source: Old Computers]. Apple's next reinvention remains to be seen.

For lots more fascinating lists and myths surrounding the world's most successful companies, check out the related HowStuffWorks articles on the next page.