Where would tech be today without Apple?

Imagine a different world, a world without Apple, the most dominant company in the world. Better yet, imagine a world where Apple never existed and never launched its computers, never offered the iPod or iPhone, and never unveiled an iPad.Now that all of that is in mind, imagine what the world would be like. Would it be a better world? Would the technology industry have more innovative companies delivering technologies we have now? Would companies that Apple demolished along the way have found a way to succeed and do what Apple hasn't?

What if the world we're imagining was different? What if because Apple doesn't exist, we wouldn't have advancements in computers or touchscreens on our smartphones? What if Motorola was still king in mobile, and we were on the latest RAZR design? What if tablets weren't popular and we were still buying up netbooks at a rapid clip?

What if – just if – Apple didn't exist?

Of course, we don't have to think about Apple not existing. The company is, after all, real and dominant, and there's no way to guess at what could have been had Apple not been around. But I think you could make a compelling argument either way that the technology industry would be in a different place – better on the one hand, worse on the other – if Apple didn't exist.

Apple has been a major change agent in the technology industry. The company's innovative designs have helped the PC business soar and smartphones become what they are today. Without Apple, we might still be relying heavily on Sony's Walkman or unaware of the simplicities delivered by things like iTunes and the App Store.

Others, however, might argue that Apple has stifled innovation. Steve Jobs was certainly a pioneer that could see things before his customers could, but isn't it possible if not for Apple's size that smaller firms would have delivered even more powerful and innovative devices?

Heck, it might even be possible that another Apple would have come along with a similarly forward-thinking pioneer that had the unique ability to captivate people and bring them to technologies they didn't even know they needed.

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The tech world is a strange place. Although it's an industry that made kings and queens out of founders of small startups, it's also heavily entrenched with major firms that maintain an iron grip on their control. And those companies hate the very thought of small startups coming out of the woodwork and eat their lunch. Apple might be one of them.

I'm not here to say that Apple is making the world better or worse – it's for history to determine that – but it certainly would be a different place. And sometimes, a "different" place is enough.

So let us know in the comments below – would the world be better if not for Apple?