How Apple Became the Top Non-Corporate Tech Brand

How Apple Became the Top Non-Corporate Tech Brand

Apple began with two young engineers joined forces in 1977. Today, it’s one of the biggest technological companies in the world. Let’s take a look at Apple’s remarkable journey…

Apple is a multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics.

From the Mac, iPhone, and the iPad to the Apple Watch, AirPods, and AirTag, Apple’s products are well-known for their impeccable quality all around the world. 

The company kicked off with a single product and has expanded exponentially ever since then, though it has had its fair shares of ups and downs.

Key Statistics and Facts of 2021 Highlighting Apple’s Dominance 

Let’s take a deeper look at Apple’s history to understand its list of remarkable accomplishments and its indispensable place in the technological market…

Apple’s Innovative Beginnings In the 1970s

Apple is renowned as the most innovative company of all time - a company that disrupted the technological and consumer electronics industry as well as the lifestyle of billions of people worldwide.

Let’s understand how the company began and became a leading player in the market.

The Creation of Apple’s First Product

Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976, following Wozniak’s creation of the “Apple-I.” Jobs and Wozniak came to be known as “the two Steves” as the company climbed the charts and bewitched customers with its innovative products.

Jobs and Wozniak had known each other before they co-founded Apple. They were dynamic individuals and had a knack for creativity. Even their pranks were executed on a large scale!

Before Apple-I, they were working on "blue boxes" which would allow people to make long-distance phone calls for free.

Later, they dropped out of college, choosing to work instead. Jobs worked at Atari while Wozniak was hired at HP.

In 1975, the two individuals joined the Homebrew Computer Club. Drawing inspiration from the MITS Computer there, Wozniak began to work on his own computer design, known as “Apple-I.”

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Wozniak was the first individual to envision a computer which was a typewriter-television hybrid. The keyboard-screen model has been emulated by all computers since then.

Jobs recognized the potential of Apple-I and took it upon himself to pitch the business idea to both Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, who was his co-worker at Atari.

Wozniak and Wayne were both sold on the idea of a computer company, and together, the three men formed a partnership, naming the company “Apple.

The name was proposed by Jobs who worked from time to time in orchards. People have postulated theories behind the curious name of the company, but Jobs admitted that he simply chose it because it sounded fun and spirited.

The partners secured their initial investment through the sale of personal assets. Job sold his VW Bus while Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator. Both assets were quite expensive and brought a sufficient sum of money into the business.

Wozniak took on the tedious task of building each computer board by hand, while Jobs took over the marketing of the product. Wayne overlooked the administrative issues of the business.

One of the obstacles that came in the way was a lack of financial resources.

The partners direly needed to obtain the parts required for Apple-I. They had already struck a deal with Byte Shop which would buy the completed units of the product.

The issue was resolved because of Byte Shop’s order to Cramer Electronics for the parts, which would be sold on thirty-day credit.

Jobs had a role to play in this as he negotiated with the companies and insisted that they follow through with their transaction.

During the one-month period, the partners had to sell enough working computers to cover the cost.

During this time, Wayne left the company, selling his 10% shares to the other partners. He wasn’t ready to take the risk required to go forward, as he had already experienced a traumatic business loss five years prior.

How did Apple Improve and Develop its Products?

The production of Apple-I began in April 1976, and by September of the next year, Jobs and Wozniak were able to sell two hundred computers.

However, Apple’s first product wasn’t without its faults.

Apple-I was essentially a board that could be linked with a separate keyboard and television screen. You wouldn't be able to recognize the electronic board as a computer in today's time.

The board did not have any case, which meant that one could see the wires and batteries that powered it. That said, the aesthetics of Apple’s first product weren’t mind-blowing.

Another downside of buying an Apple-I was that the customers had to acquire a separate keyboard and television screen to run the computer.

This wasn't new at that time. Computers were conventionally sold in this manner, but Jobs had a different idea in mind.

Recognizing these faults, the Apple company launched Apple-II in 1977 which was encased and came with a built-in keyboard.

Apple’s products were finally taking on a more recognizable shape by today’s standards. Plus, Apple-II looked quite attractive.

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Aesthetics, however, weren’t enough. In terms of utility, Apple-II was not up to par and faced much competition from powerful companies such as IBM and DEC.

The only thing you could do with the product at its beginning stages was to write and run commands in the BASIC programming language.

Innovation came from within the company. Dan Bricklin became Apple-II’s knight in shining armor, with his development of the first spreadsheet program called Visicalc. This program was created specifically for Apple-II and proved to be quite useful for entrepreneurs.

Schools also recognized the potential of this new product and wanted to allow students to be exposed to Apple’s technology.

Sales for Apple-II exploded as both schools and businesses lined up to buy the highly useful product.

The Apple-II was also unique because it provided functional color graphics. This focus on the user experience would become part of its legacy for years to come.

Apple’s Incorporation and Initial Public Offering

While Apple was doing poorly in terms of financial resources during its first few months, its hard work soon paid off.

Apple had caught the eye of business tycoon Mike Markkula. Taking a personal interest in the Apple computers, Markkula advised Jobs and Wozniak to incorporate the company.

The two partners took the advice and became Apple Computers, Inc. in 1977.

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Markkula personally invested $91,000 in the company and secured a line of credit worth $250,000 from the Bank of America, becoming Apple’s first “angel investor”.

The company had enough funds to continue with its production of Apple-II. By 1980, the company enjoyed such success that it decided to go public.

At the end of 1980, Apple sold around 4.6 million shares at $22 per share. The IPO generated a historical amount of capital – over $100 million – ever since that of Ford Motor Company.

The high level of investment proved that Apple had just begun its journey and that it would continue to trailblaze through the next few decades.

Key Takeaway #1: Innovate By Offering A Never-Before-Seen Benefit

While Apple-I was a variation of the computers that had already existed before, Apple-II broke the market because of its ease of use and appealing outlook. 

Jobs was quick to identify the problem that most customers faced while operating their computers and used that problem to create a unique selling point for its new model. 

Previously, customers had to buy separate keyboards and screens for the “computer”, which looked more like an electronic board. Buying the separate items and connecting them with the computer device was too time-consuming, and sometimes, if things went awry, you had to be tech-savvy enough to fix the inconsistencies. 

With Apple-II, the problem was resolved, as the product came with a built-in keyboard and screen. No longer did users have to venture into the market in search of suitable input/output devices! What’s more, the product looked attractive and thus, appealed to large audiences. 

Apple’s Marketing Strategy and Innovation of Next Products

In 1984, Apple made history through its “1984” advertisement, successfully marketing the nascent Macintosh.

The journey to the Macintosh wasn’t easy – Apple struggled with the development of its next two products, though it learned important lessons along the way.

Before the Macintosh: Apple’s Next Products

Not all of Apple’s products were immediate successes. Before Macintosh’s triumph over the technological market, the company had released Apple-III.

Apple-III was specially catered to the needs of businesses. It provided the option to input lowercase characters on the keyboard and came with an advanced operating system called Apple SOS.

The product fell short of market needs. Immediately after its release, it suffered from stability issues that required the reproduction of the computers.

This incident blemished the reputation of the Apple-III. The leaders of Apple took a quick decision to incorporate Apple-III changes into Apple-II as much as possible, and sell it with the former name.

Following the Apple-III, Apple-Lisa was introduced. This was the first computer by Apple that made use of a graphical user interface.

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Jobs was inspired by Xerox PARC’s demonstration of computers with GUI, and he predicted that this interface would be the future of all computers.

Two Apple teams were working simultaneously on producing the first company computer featuring GUI. The first team was working on the Apple-Lisa model and the second one released the Macintosh model soon after.

Jobs introduced a one-button mouse that would go along with the Lisa model. The mouse shown by Xerox had three buttons – similar to mouse today – but it was more expensive compared to the Lisa mouse.

Jobs may have reduced the number of buttons on the mouse, but the Apple-Lisa was still too expensive! In the end, the model turned out to be a failure in the market.

What’s more, in his excitement to develop the Apple-Lisa, Jobs ignored the management structure in place. This led to scuffles in the Lisa team and Jobs was ultimately removed from it.

Ultimately, he turned to the Macintosh team, ready to direct his creative energy there.

Apple Releases the Macintosh

The Macintosh was the first in a line of computers that are sold to this day. The laptop version – MacBook Pro and MacBook Air – is owned by thousands of people all around the world.

What made Macintosh so special?

Apart from the fact that it had an interesting name, the new product provided many features that its predecessors didn’t. Plus, it was four times less expensive than the Apple-Lisa! The team working on Macintosh was led by Jeff Raskin, who named the product after his favorite type of apple – McIntosh.

Unfortunately, after Jobs joined the team, he and Raskin had a falling out which led the latter engineer to leave the team. The Macintosh was, therefore, released under Jobs’s discretion.

Under Jobs – and Bud Tribble – the Macintosh team was convinced to implement GUI which became the reason for its popularity.

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The product also had fewer chips and made smart use of hardware, allowing it to reduce costs drastically.

The Macintosh's visual language was also appealing. Susan Kare was the one who led this project, creating icons that are used up to this day.

The Macintosh also looked great, even when it was turned off! Like all of Apple’s products – save for the Apple-I – there was a special focus on aesthetics and outlook.

When the Macintosh was released in 1984, it blew the charts. Yet its features weren’t the only reason why sales exploded.

Apple’s Marketing Strategy: The “1984” Advertisement

One of the most famous landmarks in Apple’s history is its “1984” advertisement.

Making use of the famous dystopian novel by George Orwell, Apple created a narrative that allowed its brand image to be aligned with liberation and creativity.

The production of the advertisement wasn't cheap, especially considering that Apple planned to run the ad during the third-quarter break of the Super Bowl tournament.

The advertisement juxtaposed scenes of marching drones with those of a woman running with a sledgehammer. The woman wore a tank top that had an illustration of the Macintosh printed on it.

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The drones sat down to listen to Big Brother talk from a huge screen. As they listened, the woman with the hammer kept running towards the screen and crashed her weapon into it, destroying Big Brother.

The slogan for the ad was – “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

After its initial launch during the Super Bowl, the ad was played on different channels. Interestingly, there was some dispute within the marketing team over whether to run the ad or not, although they decided to take the risk in the end. The gamble sure did pay off!

Not only did the Macintosh sales explode, but the advertisement also remains popular to this day. It topped the Advertising Age’s list of the fifty best commercials ever made and was hailed as a masterpiece.

Funnily enough, the next year, Apple ran an advertisement during the Super Bowl again. Expectations were high, but people were let down when they saw “Lemmings.”

This ad depicted the same robot-like people, who were now blindfolded and were walking towards a cliff. Since they couldn’t see ahead of them, they were relying on the person in front of them to lead the way.

One by one, they fell off the cliff to their deaths. The last of these people, however, seemed to have an epiphany and it was at this point that the ad switched to The Macintosh Office, which was the product in question.

The advert seemed to portray that people who didn’t use the Macintosh were inferior. This wasn’t a particularly great strategy as it attacked the very customers it was supposed to appease.

Key Takeaway #2: Stand for Something Specific To Elicit Emotion 

Advertisements serve the purpose of creating associations between the product and its message.

Taking advantage of the celebrated dystopian novel “1984” and the current date, Apple chose to portray liberation and freedom through its product.

The message was relevant and evoked sentiment, especially for people who were aware of the haunting plot of the novel.

This backfired with “Lemmings,” but the association had already been created through the previous advert, and the Macintosh was enjoying high ratings.

There’s an important lesson in this! Along with being relevant, it is also important to ensure that your brand image doesn’t insult people who aren’t buying your product.

Apple’s Fight Against Competitors

Even back in the day, Apple was an expensive brand, which meant that competitors could easily eat up Apple’s sales with lower-cost products.

As predicted, Apple faced heavy competition from Microsoft due to its Windows software.

The latter company continued to accumulate a higher market share, which was concerning for the Apple leaders. Eventually, they deployed many tactics to ensure that their brand was still relevant.

Apple’s Changing Management

One of the issues that plagued Apple following the release of the 1984 advertisement was the tension between its leaders.

After Mark Markkula retired, Jobs hired John Sculley to take over the CEO position of Apple.

Jobs’s famous pitch to Sculley – “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?” – won him over and in 1983, Sculley assumed the new leadership role.

Almost two years later, Jobs and Sculley were involved in a power struggle. Jobs wanted to cut down prices for the Macintosh while Sculley insisted on a price hike, given the current costs.

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Sculley also wanted to focus on the Apple-II as it brought in a steady stream of revenue, while Jobs was averse to this idea, wanting to explore the potential of Macintosh further.

The power struggle reached its apotheosis when Jobs tried to arrange a board-room coup against Sculley. The plan failed, however, as Sculley was informed of the situation, and ultimately, Jobs was removed as head of computer design in 1985.

Sculley made Jobs the Apple Chairman, which meant that Jobs was little more than a figurehead. Vexed by the situation, Jobs resigned and founded another company called NeXT, taking several Apple employees on his turf.

Before Jobs left, one noteworthy development took place.

Apple Spearheads the Desktop Publishing Market

Just like VisiCalc had shaped Apple-II’s triumphant future, the Macintosh, too, needed a killer application to boost its sales.

Reinforcements came in the form of the LaserWriter, Apple’s debut laser printer.

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It was the first laser printer to use the Adobe PostScript control language, which would remain a tradition for the desktop publishing market to this day.

What was special about the LaserWriter was that it allowed thirty-one users to connect to it at once. In its own departments, Apple pushed that number up to 40, which was revolutionary for the printing market.

LaserWriter was the hardware required to spreadhead the desktop publishing market. Soon after, the PageMaker was created by Aldus specifically for the Macintosh, taking its position as the product’s killer application.

It's interesting that to give the Macintosh a competitive edge, Apple set off a new pathway for the whole desktop publishing industry!

Apple Employs “55 or above” Policy to Boost Revenue 

The main friction between Sculley and Jobs was due to their disagreements on product pricing. Sculley held that since costs were high, it was impossible to push back prices too much without compromising the profit margin.

Instead of selling Apple products at a consumer-friendly price, Sculley and the rest of the team decided that they would change their target audience.

Aiming for the high-end market, they sold all of their products at a fifty-five percent profit margin or above.

The expensive nature of Apple’s products was justified through the addition of valuable features. For example, in the mid-1980s, Apple introduced color displays in the Macintosh.

The policy worked in their favor in the 1980s, but it backfired as cheaper PC clones began to emerge in the market. During the Christmas of 1989, the company experienced declining sales, and its stock price dropped by 20%.

The competitors were at their throats and customers were jumping ship. What the company needed was a revision of its pricing policy or a product breakthrough to solidify its position in the market again.

Apple Releases Lower-Cost Products and Increases Market Share 

The Apple leaders were aware of the current market situation. Their immediate solution was to release lower-cost products.

These products included the Macintosh Classic, the Macintosh LC, and the Macintosh Ilsi, starting the "golden age" of the Macintosh from 1989 to 1991.

Apple went a step further and released the PowerBook in 1991, which would become the archetype for modern laptops.

Apple had already built an excellent brand image over the past few years and customers were eager to get their hands on affordable products by the company. Despite the competition, Apple was back on its feet quickly.

Things still weren’t looking that great. The sale of lower-cost products had exploded, but that meant the higher-priced products were being ignored.

Apple’s solution was to introduce three different brands, each aimed at a different target audience. Each of these brands would sell somewhat identical products at different price points.

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The Quadra, Centric, and Performa models emerged from this decision.

The Performa line of computers was catered specifically towards home users, with software like ClarisWorks and Grolier Encyclopedia. These computers would be available at department stores, allowing Apple to cash in on a new, wider market.

As it turned out, launching three different lines of computers wasn't a viable option, since it confused the customers.

As a result, Apple released a thirty-minute infomercial to educate its audience on the different brands. Even though the infomercial was up to par, the length meant that it required too much patience out of the customers!

On top of that, Microsoft had geared up to release Windows 3. While Windows 1 and 2 were not up to Apple's standards, Windows 3 took the technological market by storm.

Apple had to take quick action.

Apple vs Microsoft: The Famous Lawsuit

In 1988, in an attempt to retain its unique position in the market, Apple filed a lawsuit against Microsoft.

Apple argued that the generic “look and feel” of the Microsoft operating system was similar to its own and this should be subject to copyright protection. The court rejected the generic argument and entreated Apple to bring in more specific complaints.

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Apple came back with a shocking list of complaints, consisting of 189 items. The court didn’t buy most of them, rejecting all but ten.

The company lost the lawsuit in 1992. In the meantime, Xerox PARC had also taken it upon itself to file a case against Apple for using the graphical user interface.

This was an act of self-defense as it reasoned that since Apple had acquired the idea of the elements through its visit to PARC, it should be the one to win the rights over the graphical operating system.

Xerox PARC’s claims were also rejected in court.

Apple Joins Hands with Competitors IBM and Motorola

The AIM alliance, founded in 1991, was the joint project of Apple, IBM, and Motorola, to build a software-hardware combo called PReP or the PowerPC Reference Platform.

This was an ingenious move by Apple as it allowed it to take advantage of its competitors' expertise and to take some of the market share away from Microsoft.

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While it was a great idea, the project failed due to the different dispositions of the companies. All three companies were giant corporations with their management structure in place, so it was inevitable that disagreements would arise.

In the end, PReP never happened, but the project hadn’t been completely futile. After all, Apple used the PowerPC processor for its next few products between 1994 to 2006, before the arrival of OS X.

Key Takeaway #3: Take Advantage Of New Opportunities But Adapt Fast When They Evaporate

Apple took the liberty to change its pricing policy according to its market situation.

When Microsoft was still behind with its operating system, the company adopted a high-pricing policy, aiming to collect higher profits through a smaller but solid customer base.

This allowed the company to take advantage of its loose monopoly over the market. Moreover, the costs of developing the products were already high.

Circumstances changed with Microsoft’s release of Windows 3. As customers jumped ship to cheaper options, Apple responded by introducing a series of lower-priced products.

The company also introduced the Performa line for home users and shipped the products to department stores, thus, making up for the lower profit margins by targeting a wider, more diverse audience.

Apple Narrows Product Line and Solidifies Brand Image

In the 1990s, as Apple fought against its competitors, it started diversifying its product range.

By 1997, Apple sold not just computers, but digital cameras, video game consoles, portable CD audio players, TV appliances, and so on.

These products weren’t exactly successful and only created additional issues as the management struggled to streamline its product range and brand image.

With Jobs’s return to Apple, the company began a new era, transforming into the company that we know so well today.

Apple Acquires NeXT

Apple wasn’t doing as well as it had hoped.

Its diverse product range was more or less a flop and its in-house operating system had seen better days. By 1996, the company leaders decided it was time to buy a new operating system.

Apple had two choices: BeOS and NeXTSTEP, both of which were created by former Apple executives. The company settled on NeXTSTEP, consequently bringing Jobs back to the Apple scene.

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Apple didn’t just want a licensing deal - it ended up purchasing the entire company! In 1997, NeXT was acquired for $429 million, in addition to 1.5 million shares.

As soon as Jobs was back, he stirred trouble. He convinced the board that the current CEO wasn’t competent and the board decided to station Jobs as interim CEO.

Once again the captain of the Apple ship, Jobs set about making changes to Apple’s product range.

Apple Returns to Simplicity

Going back to Apple’s original brand image, Jobs narrowed the product range, transforming the company into the one we know today.

Under Jobs, Apple sold only four computers. Two of these were reserved for consumer purposes while the other two were frequently bought by businesses. 

Jobs also scrapped the diverse products that the company had been offering in the 1990s and got rid of most of its licensing deals.

The idea was to build a brand around a specialized set of goods and to focus on refining them for its customer base.

With the end of the licensing deals, the market share of Apple’s operating system dropped from ten to three percent. It seemed like streamlining the business would require some sacrifices.

Jobs wasn’t dispirited by this – he was too preoccupied with all his other plans. For example, he convinced Microsoft to invest a striking amount of $150 million in Apple, insisting that it continue to develop software for the company.

Jobs also hadn’t forgotten the success of “1984” in boosting Macintosh sales; he launched another marketing campaign called “Think Different.”

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The “1984” ad had associated Apple with liberation and freedom of thought. The “Think Different” ad built on that brand image, linking the brand with the great thinkers of history such as Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi.

The moment of truth arrived with the year-end financial report. In his first year as CEO, Jobs had managed to spike the profit to $309 million!

Riding the high tide of its success, Apple then released the iMac in 1998, which was swallowed up by its customers due to its economical pricing.

Apple’s Innovations in the First Decade of the 21st Century

Apple was back on its feet and was about to become even more legendary. In the 2000s, Apple released a series of products that would break the market with their user-friendly interface and their pleasant outlook.

Before that, Apple released its brand-new operating system called the Mac OS X.

The company's previous attempts hadn't been fortunate. The 2001 attempt, on the other hand, capitalized on the features of NeXTSTEP, OPENSTEP, and BSD Unix, combining stability, reliability, and an approachable user interface all in one operating system.

In the same year, Apple began releasing its new products. The first of these was the iPod music player. Its click-wheel interface was immensely satisfying, and consumers loved how well it worked with Apple’s iTunes.

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The next year, Apple developed GarageBand, which was an application created for music producers. In this way, the company expanded its market from listeners of music to its creators.

In 2003, Jobs got the iPod’s popularity cracking by convincing the “big five” recorders of the music industry to allow Apple to sell their music on iTunes.

Two years down the line, Apple made another important announcement. Its PowerPC days were coming to an end, and it was not transitioning to Intel processors.

The company scrapped previous models, replacing them with the Mac Pro, MacBook, and MacBook Pro.

Being a technological company, Apple understood the need to stay ahead of its time. Its new models were a success, and in 2006, the company went even further by helping users install Windows XP or Windows Vista on their Macs.

The long, dreary rivalry between Apple and Windows had finally been resolved.

The future of Apple was starting to become clear. In a keynote address in 2007, Jobs rebranded the company as “Apple Inc.” as opposed to “Apple Computers Inc.” marking its shift from computers to consumer electronics.

In the same event, the company introduced the iPhone, later followed by the release of the App Store. The iPhone, with its updated models, continues to be a success to this day while the App store generates average daily revenue of $1 million!

The company kept improving the iPhone experience by introducing new features. FaceTime was one of the well-received applications in 2010. Multitasking was another convenient feature that made the Apple experience seamless.

Apple also updated its lines of iPod by introducing the multi-touch iPod Nano, iPod Touch, and iPod Shuffle.

In the next year, Apple released the iPad which would become one of its key products. With a large screen and an accessible, user-friendly interface, the iPad was perfect for streaming videos, playing games, and reading.

Key Takeaway #4: A Great Strategy Is A Clear Point Of View With a Strong Focus

As Apple struggled to fight off its competitors, it made the mistake of over-diversification.

While diversification is generally beneficial because it diffuses the risk, too much diversification means that it becomes hard to define the company.

With Jobs's return to Apple, the company finally found its area of specialization and concentrated all its efforts on consumer electronics.

The move paid off – the products released in the 2000s continue till today, two decades later, and are well-loved by customers.

Apple’s Digital Transformation 

Jobs passed away in 2011, leaving the company to Tim Cook’s discretion.

In the years following Jobs’s death, Cook made many changes to the company’s operations. One of these was turning over the management strategy of the company.

Apple’s Management Strategy under Tim Cook

Since Apple had been Jobs’s and Wozniak’s brainchild, Jobs had been reluctant to delegate decision-making tasks to others. Cook, on the other hand, did not want all the decisions to flow through him directly which made the process quicker and more efficient.

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In the following years, the company concentrated on updating existing products and adding new features to them.

2012 was the year the legendary “Siri” and “iCloud” were introduced, both of which enhanced the Apple experience.

The company also acquired a new taste for acquisitions under Cook. In 2014, Apple took over Beats Electronics which sold headphones and speaker products. These would now be sold in Apple stores.

Later, Apple also acquired Shazam, which specialised in music, film, TV, and advertisements. It was suspected that this takeover would boost Apple music streaming services.

In 2014, the infamous Apple Watch was introduced. It started as a fashion accessory but over the years, it became the go-to product for keeping track of one’s health-and-fitness activities.

Later, with the integration of Apple Pay and the Wallet App into the product, the Apple Watch became even more indispensable.

Apple Ventures Into The World Of Finance

Apple is a leading name in digital transformation. It has not just transformed personal computer experiences but has also made groundbreaking changes in other fields, such as bank payments and business operations.

In 2012, Apple launched the “Passbook” app which was later renamed “Wallet” in 2015. This application served various functions and allowed users to store passes such as coupons, boarding passes, student ID cards, government ID cards, and even car keys.

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Wallet was particularly useful with the launch of services such as Apple Pay and Apple Card, as it allowed the company to secure data on the app, while allowing customers to use the services to make contactless payments.

Apple Pay was introduced in 2014, followed by Apple Cash and Apple Card in the later years.

As the names suggest, Apple Pay was primarily focused on contactless payments while Apple Cash allowed cash transfers, which was particularly useful when wiring money to friends or family in the USA.

Apple Card, on the other hand, was a digital version of the credit card. No identifying information was available on the digital version, as all the details were stored and secured in the Wallet app.

This made Apple Card one of the safest options out there. What’s more, Apple partnered with several companies such as Uber, T-Mobile, Walgreens, and Nike, offering three percent cash back rewards on purchases made from any of its partners.

Apple also gave cash-back rewards for its own products, plus any third-party applications bought on the App store or products purchased from the iTunes store.

The rewards, in addition to the most reliable security system, made the Apple services desirable. The company had finally found a way to diversify its portfolio while at the same time, maintaining its simplicity through relying on its key products.

Apple Releases M1 and M2 Chips

Apple’s remarkable growth in the past forty years landed it the top position in the tech list of Fortune 500 in 2016. Overall, it occupied the third position, which was no lesser feat.

In 2020, Apple reached another milestone in its history, becoming the first country in the USA to reach a market capitalization of $2 trillion!

In that year, the company also decided to move away from Intel processors. This would prove to be a well-timed move, with the release of the M1 chip.

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Previously, Apple had relied on multiple chips to power its products. With the release of M1, numerous technologies were smoothly integrated into a small but powerful chip.

M1 had the world’s best CPU performance per watt, so you could say it was quite the success! With that, Apple released its in-house processor dubbed the “Apple-M1.”

The shift from external processors to in-house ensured that Apple’s performance was more harmonious than ever.

Later, Apple also released the M2, which had a 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, and it delivered 50% more memory bandwidth compared to the M1! Needless to say, it was quite a leap and contributed greatly to the quality of products we see today.

Apple’s Digital Transformation

In the last decade, Apple has relied heavily on its services, along with its products, to bring in monumental amounts of profits.

Surprisingly, not all of these services are available to customers! Apple is quite secretive about its internal operations, yet it has been discovered that it has created exclusive apps for its in-house operation.

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For example, Apple has its own digital newspaper in the form of the “Daily Download” app.

“Inferno”, on the other hand, ensures that your phone doesn’t explode – quite literally – by shutting down the device if it reaches critical temperature. The application also keeps employees updated on the state of the software/hardware of their devices.

“Mobile Radar” is the app used by Apple employees to file notifications of any new bugs discovered by them. It’s the company’s “internal bug-tracking system”.

Similarly, “Receipts” is an app that keeps track of employees’ business expenses. So, if an Apple employee goes for dinner with a business partner, she can simply update it on the app!

Many other applications exist that allow employees to work in an integrated and well-organized manner. While these applications are not revealed to outsiders, they contribute greatly to the impeccable performance of Apple devices.

Key Takeaway #5: Consistency In Employee and Customer Experience Is A Competitive Advantage

In the last decade, Apple has brought both software and hardware engineering in-house, ensuring that customers have a consistent and smooth experience. The company relies completely on its own technology to develop its products. 

The coherent structure of the company’s products allows it to maintain tight control over the security of its services, such as those like Apple Pay. 

What’s more, Apple has also bought its digital transformation inside its office.

By giving exclusive access to its employees to its many useful applications, Apple has not just ensured a well-managed company, but has also kept employee motivation on the rise.

Why Is Apple So Successful?

Over the years, Apple has come out with remarkable and innovative products, coupled with a robust marketing strategy, to form the largest technological company in the world.

Apple’s Vision

Apple strives to bring unique products to the table and enrich the lives of its customers.

“To make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it.”

Apple’s Mission

Apple’s purpose is to make life easier for its consumers, including business owners and students, and to provide them with a smooth technological experience.

“To bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons, and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.”

Apple’s Growth by Numbers

2021

2014

Revenue

$365.8 billion

$182.8 billion

Net Income

$94.7 billion

$39.5 billion

Total Assets

$351.1 billion

$231.8 billion

Stock price as of 31st December

$177.6

$27.6

Number of Employees

154,000

97,000

Strategies to Learn from Apple’s Journey

Apple’s exciting journey offers many lessons for young, ambitious entrepreneurs.

Some of the key strategic takeaways are as follows:

  1. Innovate Your Way to Success

Apple began with an electronic board that came without a keyboard or screen. This was by no means a 'new' invention considering that MITS computers had already existed.

What was new was the design of the computer. This was later enhanced with the release of Apple-II, which came with a built-in keyboard and was beautifully encased.

As a result, the Apple-II broke the market as people clustered to buy the convenient - and aesthetically-pleasing - model.

The company continued the tradition of innovation throughout its history. The Macintosh similarly flooded the market, and the iPod music player disappeared off shelves as customers placed orders to buy it.

Apple also developed software, applications, and operating systems, to go along with its products, which was a nod to its innovation strategy. All these things combined made Apple a successful company.

  1. Be Creative With Your Advertisements

Apple’s “1984” advertisement is well-known even today.

Its commendable use of the renowned novel to mark the arrival of Macintosh won customers over. The brand was inevitably linked with ideas such as liberation, as Apple’s products stood in direct opposition to Orwell’s literary world.

Apple’s “Think Different” advertisement was produced with a similar sentiment in mind.

The company’s product represented a certain mindset, which was present in the great thinkers of history, such as Albert Einstein.

So, when customers went to buy Apple’s products, it triggered certain feelings and thoughts within them, inexorably increasing the company’s sales.

  1. Offer Customers A Wholesome Experience

Apple-II’s sales were carried by the killer application that accompanied it. Visicalc - the first spreadsheet program - was the reason why both businesses and schools scampered to buy the company’s second product.

Similarly, the LaserWriter and the PageMaker became the reason for Macintosh's popularity.

Apple realized early on that it needed to create a complete experience for its customers. Taking this lesson to heart, the company kept improving its products and adding features to them to boost sales.

For example, the introduction of "Siri" and, later, multitasking in its products were meant to enhance the consumer experience.

  1. Build a Consistent Brand Image

Apple built a robust brand image through its advertisements but struggled to articulate its primary purpose in the 1990s.

With Jobs’s arrival on the scene, the situation improved, as Jobs removed all unnecessary products from the company’s portfolio.

Narrowing the product range was necessary, as it allowed Apple to achieve specialization in its main field.

Plus, with a more manageable number of products, the company was able to rebrand itself as a consumer-electronics company. The brand image was now consistent, and its energies were directed in the right field.

Apple is five years short of hitting its 50th anniversary, yet it has a remarkable list of accomplishments attached to its name. Over the past years, the company has contributed greatly to the technological market by innovating user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing products. The journey has been tumultuous, but Apple has shown its resilience, promising a bright future ahead.

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