Apple takes a cue from Google's 20% time

Apple takes a cue from Google's 20% time
Many companies are starting to realize these days that if you have talented people in your company, it's probably a good idea to give them a bit of freedom to follow their passions a bit. Google has been the most famous example with its "20% time" and now Apple is joining in the fun. The idea is that aside from working on company mandated projects, employees are given paid time and access to company resources to work on anything they choose. Google has been the most famous of this because Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense all began as 20% time projects by Google employees. 

Apparently, Apple actually began the project earlier in the year. It is called "Blue Sky", and it allows employees to take two weeks to work on projects outside their normal responsibilities. Of course, Tim Cook doesn't want to completely change the culture of Apple just yet, and wants employees focused on Apple projects, so Blue Sky is only available to a select number of employees. 

No word on which employees are given the new freedom, or if there are any new products that began life as a Blue Sky idea. Still, it should help to generate more innovation in Apple, and even better, it should keep employees in-house who would otherwise leave to work on these outside projects. 



1. Mxyzptlk unregistered

The birth of even more innovation. Apple will produce even greater things.

15. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

By again copying its competition

16. tedkord

Posts: 17312; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

As usual, by stealing an idea from someone else.

26. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I gave you a thumbs up Mxy. Your posts are getting a lil more stable, sensible... kudos.

27. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Well, they did copy Google - "Apple takes a cue from Google's 20% time"

33. adelta90

Posts: 63; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

yes, when innovation = something already done so long ago people dont remember it anymore

36. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Uh huh. About time. Of course, this was originally a Google idea. Gonna give them credit for that? Of course you won't.

49. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

I'm starting to think that this guy is just the best troll that ever lived. I mean, you can't say that with a straight face.

56. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 2012

You can when all that comes out of your mouth is baabaababble......

68. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Encouraging employees is a google idea?

37. groupsacc

Posts: 232; Member since: Feb 28, 2012

Why do I get this strong prejudicial urge to thumb you down every time I see your name and avatar in these forums? I don't even read your posts any more, I just go straight for the thumbs down button. LOL

40. aburgerBuksie

Posts: 15; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

By saying apple will produce even greater things, do u mean that they wil start to produce something better this time or just slap a different case on and call it the best thing they've made thus far. Like for example the iphone, its all just a 4s with a different case and crappier screen.

46. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

more stolen things from competitors via stolen working-time style ;) and.....wait for it... ... .....iPatented! ... and cry because you will never have this: goo [dot] gl/HKWIP

48. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

this was reported as a spam? youtube link is spam? :)

60. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

If this is the case, you must think Samsung is really innovative too.

62. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

At least they're trying something that works to make something new instead of a lot of the same ol thing.

2. mydi.maus unregistered

Google innovation...

41. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

3M has been doing the same thing (albeit with 15% time) for decades.

3. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

seems very futuristic of apple to not seem so pushy and strict, like there's a new, happier boss

5. nobelset

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

I prefer Steve. He was a guy that could get any dumb people to buy his products at high prices. In the marketing sector, that's pretty good :D

17. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

You may prefer Android, but the iPhone is still a great phone. Personalization and "freedom" isn't the only reason to buy a smartphone.

28. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Oh true, I mean people love overpaying for apps and extra physical storage space....that is cool

31. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Don't get mad because my apps look and work better. But that's totally fine, at least you can personalize.

30. vijaysivakula

Posts: 229; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

Yes. A great "feature phone"!

32. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

It's a really sad day when you can't beat a feature phone in quality of applications, games, screen resolution and build materials :/. But hey, at least you can personalize better. That's all that matters right?

38. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

The only one Android hasn't *beaten* is screen resolution, and that's mainly because Android device screens are so much bigger. Applications and games work really well on Android, and Android has even gotten some exclusives over the iPhone recently, like Minecraft. Build materials is a debatable subject. Polycarbonate and plastic may not *look* or *feel* as nice as glass, but they sure as hell hold up better. Form should follow function. A phone shouldn't become completely impossible to hold safely simply because it's dropped, and shouldn't require extra protection (which compromises its aesthetic value) in order to survive. You could even argue that Motorola has surpassed Apple in the build materials department several times over. Their Droid lineup always felt pretty premium (with the noted exception of the Droid 3, which was more plasticy) and the most recent additions, the Droid Razr and Razr Maxx HD look and feel premium (Kevlar is awesome) while being built of materials that make them very tough. (Again, Kevlar is awesome). There are many more reasons to invest in Android over iOS. iOS isn't crap, and does some things very well. However, it is no longer in any way superior to Android. Even its touted simplicity is a myth. The basics work the same on both OSes, and the more complicated tasks are arguably easier on Android. I find that the only people who return Android phones with the claim that they were "too complicated" were the people who came in wanting an iPhone to begin with (and are usually the hipster, metro, "name brands are the only worthwhile possessions" type). f**k, I even had one guy come in claiming that he had all sorts of issues with his phone, including that it wouldn't turn on. I turned it on thirty seconds later and showed it to him. He then said that it wouldn't maintain a Wifi connection. Lo and behold, the phone maintained a Wifi connection when I connected it to ours. It was hilarious how angry and pushy he got. I still gladly exchanged the phone for him, knowing that he's proof of what I know already: if someone has decided they want one thing, they'll go to extraordinary lengths to find reasons why nothing else will work for them...even if those reasons aren't true.

39. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Apple applications are better HANDS DOWN, no competiton. Apple apps look better and work better. Just take documents to go for example. It's so jittery when zooming in and out on Android devices its really sad. iBooks is also one the best if not the best pdf viewer ive used. There are tons of apps (especially games and photo editing/moving but not limited to them). Aren't some of you guys the one that's complaining about how even popular apps like Facebook suck on Android? In the short time that I owned a galaxy SIII, some of the apps I really wanted we're not unavailable. Don't even begin to compare exclusives because the App Store has the Play Market beat. And as far as I'm concerned Minecraft is not an Android exclusive. The Play Store has very quickly become the "Me Too" store. I waited over 2 years for one of my favorite apps to make its way to the Play Store and that was because it wasn't by a big name developer like Rovio. I've given Android a fair try many times and although personalization was cute and all (and I did like the access to files), it ultimately didn't meet my standards. Android is great, but its not the best at everything, sorry. And just for the record Im not the one who started this whole debate.

43. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Ah, but you continued it with rather fallacious claims. Almost every app I've ever tried (which numbers in the hundreds now) has worked pretty well on Android, especially recently. My point about exclusives on Android wasn't that the Play Store is *better,* just that app availability isn't even an issue anymore. If what you want isn't available on one platform or another, it soon will be. I had a couple customers come in and name apps they thought were exclusive to iOS, only to be shown that those apps had been recently added to the Play Store. I haven't used Docs to Go, and I certainly haven't tried iBooks, but Kindle works really well for PDFs and I use Drive frequently. I don't understand this insistence you have that Apple apps look and work better as a blanket statement. I know of at least one review on the Android version of Temple Run which gave the opinion that it looked and worked better than the iOS version. And really, you can't deny that even where Android lags slightly behind, it's gaining ground quickly on iOS. I complain that the Facebook app sucks on Android, but I'm also not impressed with the iOS app. I still haven't found anyone who owns an iPhone and can tell me how to delete individual messages in a thread. On Android, however, I found the solution in two seconds: press and hold, which is a common way to bring up more options throughout the Android operating system, and "Delete" pops up. Obviously press and hold doesn't exist on iOS, so that option isn't available. The only thing I didn't think to try was a swipe gesture across the message when I was trying to figure it out, but it shouldn't have been a mystery in the first place if iOS is so "easy." See, to me it doesn't matter who starts a debate. All that matters is who is wrong and who is right. I am of the very strong opinion that you are being unnecessarily dismissive of a platform which you simply don't like, and just like the guy who returned that Atrix HD, you're doing whatever you can to conjure reasons to dislike it. Good luck with that. Oh, and one more thing. I appreciate that you conceded the points about build quality and screen resolution. It would have been dishonest of you to argue those points. I'm happy you didn't.

54. someones4

Posts: 627; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Correction. The new 1080p screen has beaten Apple's screen resolution. also, i agree completely that android is easier to use. I tried using an iPad and it was so confusing and unintuitive. i immediately asked for a galaxy tab which is much better.

57. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 2012

HTC has surpassed Apple in build quality as well, imo. Also, HTC is about to smash the iPhone 5's screen resolution with the Droid DNA. That beast is going to smash ALL other displays released on phones in the US.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.