My Handspring Platinum browsed the internet (using WAP) via the Sprint phone plug-in. I forget how long ago that was. But it was one of the earliest "smart" phones with internet capability I know of.
I think I still have these items somewhere :)
The corporation, no matter how large, foots the bill for development. There is an enormous societal cost that creates the environment for that 'development'.
The whole body of culture, prior art in the broadest sense, the education and government footing the bill for university research.
The problem is that there is much social content in all development but a narrow insistence of private ownership.
Although the lone inventor still exsits, much more IP today is being generated by development teams and in many cases working in conjuction with expert consultants and university researchers. The complexity of technology today has created specialization. This is not for free, somebody is footing the bill. The investment and effort to launch a product today is huge. Besides the design people you have huge efforts in marketing, quality, procurement, and testing. You will not have innovation if no one will find it worth investing the capital to launch the products. My last two patents took over five years to make it through the USPTO, if it will be worth my company's effort they want some protection. As far as innovation being reduced, I think that figuring a way to solve a problem in a manner different from that shown in a particular patent stimulates more innovation and force you to come up with new ideas that you may not come up with if you merely copied others. There are limitless possiblities if you allow them to manifest.
Unless Apple beefs up its serious Engineering side ( i,e. not just the aesthetic look and feel but also the hardware / software guts ) I can foresee a replay of the Mac debacle circa 1987 - 97 when Windows pushed them to less than 3 % market share. Apple now has the $$$ to invest but does it have the management to implement such a strategic change ?