Fast Company ranks Apple as world's 'Most Innovative' for 2018

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Business magazine Fast Company on Tuesday selected Apple as its "Most Innovative" company of 2018, spanning 350 enterprises and 36 categories.

The magazine noted that "for a company slagged for not having had a hit since the iPad in 2010," the company did pretty well in 2017, reaping high sales of AirPods and the Apple Watch Series 3, and praise for offerings like ARKit and the iPhone X.

Although people tend to judge companies on their latest products, "creativity is more than skin deep," Fast Company continued.

"Apple's approach to the hardware and software engineering that creates its experiences has never been more ambitious," it said. "Other makers of phones and tablets buy the same off-the-shelf chips as their competitors. Apple, by contrast, designs its own chips — so an iPhone packs a processor designed specifically optimized for Apple's operating system, apps, display, camera, and touch sensor."

The magazine also cited things like CareKit, Apple Music, and "major inroads" in artificial intelligence, the last including examples like optimizing battery performance and favoring on-device processing instead of the cloud.

AI has actually been one of the sharpest criticisms of the HomePod, Apple's first smartspeaker, since Siri doesn't offer as many functions — or as much flexibility — as voice assistants from Amazon and Google.