Apple as One of the Greatest Economic Superpowers in the World
April 1st, 1976. Although this is April Fool’s Day for many people, the history-changing event that happened on this day in 1976 is no joke. Apple Computer, Inc. was founded by college drop-outs Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Jobs and Wozniak set out to do the impossible; they wanted to change the home computer industry for generations to come. And surprisingly enough, they did just that, starting with the Apple I. Fast-forwarding to today, Apple now dabbles in a lot more areas of technology than just computers. Apple has a variety of products and services ranging from their popular smartphone, the iPhone, to the Apple TV+ service that was just announced a couple of weeks ago to compete with services such as Netflix and Hulu. These products and services have made Apple who they are today. Apple is known as a team of innovators, constantly looking at what will be popular and profitable in the future. So, in this essay, I would like to explore Apple as a company and explain how they have become the economic powerhouse that they are today, starting with their product line.
To begin any discussion about Apple’s success, we must start with the products that Apple has. Apple’s product line is quite extensive, so I would like to break this up into sections, beginning with their first-ever product, the personal computer. Although the Apple I was the first computer that was created by Apple, the one that determined that they were going to be a successful business was the Apple II. The Apple II was introduced in 1977 and was one of the most successful personal computers that was ever produced and revolutionized the way that people saw the home computer. The Apple II was the first microcomputer that was mass-produced and it came with major technological changes over the Apple I. Apple worked on the Apple II for many years to come, releasing different models that had slight improvements over the generation that came before it. It was not until the early 1990s that Apple killed the Apple II and released the Macintosh. However, between Apple and third-party companies that made products for the Apple II, this was a 1 billion dollar a year enterprise (Dernbach, 2012). That was a massive amount of money for this time.
How it works
Now fast-forwarding through the years, Apple has revolutionized the personal computer industry even more, now relying on their laptop line of MacBooks and their line of iMac all-in-one desktop computers. The MacBook comes in three different categories, the MacBook, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro. All of these notebooks are made for different groups of people and that makes it where everyone can get what they want for their money. The MacBook offers a lot of power in a small form factor (Moreau, 2018). Moving on, the MacBook Air is accredited to be Apple’s budget end model laptop, as announced at their October 2018 event. The MacBook Air is an upgraded laptop that was announced in 2008 and is said to be more affordable because it is the cheapest MacBook available to buy, starting at $1,199 (Apple, 2019). The MacBook Air is also accredited to have a more portable design, as well as have all-day battery life (Moreau, 2018). Lastly, that leaves the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is a laptop that is meant for Apple’s power users. The MacBook Pro is quite a capable laptop that can handle video editing, heavy course loads, and pretty much anything else you can throw at it. This laptop has made Apple a top pick for individuals who edit videos for YouTube, or other sources, or for people, such as college students, who are doing graphic intensive tasks (Spoonauer, 2019).
The iMac, Apple’s all-in-one computer follows the same practices. It runs the same software as the MacBook and is upgradable to fit the specific consumer. It comes in two sizes, 21.5 inches, and 27 inches, and comes with a wide variety of RAM, storage, and graphics options. And much like the MacBook Pro, Apple recently announced a professional version of their iMac, which is named the iMac Pro. This computer offers more storage options, more RAM options, and offers even better graphics.
Each of the products that are in Apple’s computer product line are each upgradable and customizable in their own way. The customer is able to determine the speed that they need, the amount of RAM they desire and the amount of storage they want. For some of these products as well, Apple even gives its consumers an option in the color. This is just one of the many cases that shows just how much Apple wants to give its consumers the decision on what they do and do not need. Apple relies on a supply and demand scenario for the production of their computers. For example, Apple will mass produce common variations of a certain computer and stock their stores and warehouses. That is how Apple is able to provide two-day shipping for most of its Mac product line and walk in purchases at their stores as well. Apple markets the Mac as a computer for everyone. Their newest ad campaign “Behind the Mac,” shows how people from all different backgrounds use the Mac, whether it be for school, business, or creativity, Apple tries to make their customers feel like a Mac is best for them and made for them, and that it is what makes it so successful (Ritchie, 2018).
Moving on, Apple relies on more than just its Mac product line now. Something that quite possibly could be even more popular than its Mac is the iPhone. The iPhone was introduced in 2007 by co-founder Steve Jobs and has changed the cell-phone industry ever since then. The development of the iPhone allowed for people to have their phone, their MP3 player, GPS, and camera in one device that is carried with us everywhere. When Jobs announced the product at the Macworld conference, people were astonished by the capabilities that the small, hand-held device had. Although it did not come out for another six months after it was announced, people still lined up to buy it. Apple sold 270,000 of them the first weekend and one million devices by Labor Day of that year (Pierce, 2018). This device let consumers see what was possible in the future and the future was not too far off.
The following year in 2008, Apple unveiled the iPhone 3G, this allowed the iPhone to connect to faster data networks with their iPhones and most importantly, introduced the App Store to the public. We will get into the history of the App Store later on, but this brought a ton of functionality to the iPhone. This allowed consumers to download third-party applications, such as games, to their iPhone. The App (Pierce, 2018). From here, Apple improved the iPhone design each and every year, improving and adding certain features, like HD recording and a selfie camera on the iPhone 4, and their fingerprint reader and security system, Touch ID, to the iPhone 5s and a bigger “plus” size version with the iPhone 6 and their facial recognition system, Face ID, with the iPhone X. Apple also develops their own processors; thus, they have revolutionized what it means for the smartphone to be fast. Apple has been all about giving its customers what they want, whether it be variations of storage capacities to the color that the phone comes in, Apple morphed the smartphone market even to this day with the iPhone.
Fast-forwarding to today, Apple offers two main flagship smartphones, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. These two iPhones are extraordinary in power and the features that they behold. They sport the super-fast A12 bionic chip, as well as an OLED display, advanced Face ID, edge to edge displays and wireless charging (Apple, 2019). These developments that Apple has achieved has given their customer base a reason to update their existing iPhones. People who use the iPhone know just how awesome it is to use the latest and greatest iPhones from Apple and see just how well the software and the hardware work together. This is major selling point for both the iPhone and the Mac and pushes people to choose the iPhone over other companies due to this integration. Apple markets their iPhone in a way that makes existing customers want to upgrade and people who don’t use an iPhone to try one out. Apple has also used products, such as the Apple Watch and AirPods, to show customers just how well their products work together.
The Apple Watch, the first of Apple’s wearable technology line, allow consumers to do many things that they can do on their iPhone, with the convenience of raising their wrist. The Apple Watch: Series 4 offers a multitude of features such as making and receiving phone calls on the watch, sending and receiving text messages, and doing extraordinary things like taking an Electrocardiogram on your wrist and monitoring the users heart rate while completing a workout (Apple, 2019). The Apple Watch has not only enhanced existing users experience with the Apple Watch but have also made people who did not previously own an iPhone switch to it just to take advantage of the features that Apple Watch offers. Apple has also used the AirPods, their completely wireless Bluetooth earbuds, to show just how well their products work together. They come in a small form-factor and are kept in a case that always keeps them charge but is integrated tightly with all their products. When the lid of the case is opened, a pop-up will appear on your Apple device and will allow you to connect easily and quickly; and that is what makes them so popular for consumers and users around the world. Both of these products have made a strong case for themselves in the eyes of the consumer. The Apple Watch is a clear choice for people who want to monitor their health using many of the health features that are present on the device and the AirPods are a great choice for people who exercise or just want a totally wireless headset without the struggles of connection issues.
The last product that I wish to discuss is one of Apple’s most popular products would be the iPad. Like many of the other products that I have discussed, the iPad comes in many different forms and designs. Apple has tried to make their iPads some of the most well-known and popular tablets that are on the market. They allow students, for example, to have a computer-like device that allows them do research and be creative, while other users, such as music producers and video editors, to use the device for producing music, as well as, editing videos. Now, the iPad line is not as extensive as the MacBook line, however, it is still quite extensive. We will start with what is just known as the “iPad 9.7.” The iPad 9.7 is a budget-end model that is specifically made for people who want the iPad experience but do not want to shell out a large amount of money, starting at $329. These same ideals can go for the iPad Mini, which is another iPad model that can be used by people who don’t want to spend a ton of money but want the iPad experience in a smaller form factor.
However, because this specific device has newer components than the “iPad 9.7,” it starts at $399. The next device that I will talk about is the iPad Air. The iPad Air is a step-up from the regular budget-end iPad that will give users more power, and a bigger screen, however this comes at a higher price point, starting at $499. The last model of iPad that Apple offers is what is quite frankly the most popular and sleekest iPad that is being offered at this time, the iPad Pro. This iPad takes design hints from many places and is unlike any iPad that is offered in Apple’s product line. It offers an insane amount of speed, it features Apples patented Face ID technology and quite frankly one of the most noticeable details that differentiate it from the rest of their product line, the edge to edge display and lack of home button that it offers. It has the same gestures that present on the iPhone XS. The last feature that all the iPads have in common is they all support the revolutionary Apple Pencil, which enables people to demonstrate just how creative they are, and it uses a Bluetooth connection and has hardly no input lag for the user (Apple, 2019).
Now that we have completed explaining the product line that Apple has, we can see that there is a lot of things that Apple makes sure that consumers have an opinion in what product they get and how it operates. Apple makes sure that they leave no one out when it comes to their product line. They make all of their products customizable to the consumer’s need. All of their products come in different colors, as well as speeds and storage capacities, for the most part. This encourages Apple over other companies and also explains why a lot of people are willing to pay the premium that Apple charges for their product. However, there is a couple more reasons why Apple is so successful in everything that they venture into.
The next thing that makes Apple a successful company is the services that they offer. Although Apple offers a multitude of services, including ones that are not even released yet, such as Apple TV+, I wish to only focus on the main ones, starting with the App Store. One of the biggest successes when it comes to their services sides of business is the App Store. As it was mentioned early, the App Store is one of the main reasons that the iPhone is the success that it has become. Although there is no data that is available for the first year the App Store was released, we do know that today, the App Store generated $26.5 billion in revenue for the developers that contribute apps to the store and generated $11.5 billion in revenue for Apple as a company. Because the App Store generates an extraordinary amount of money, this gives investors a since of security about the investment that they hold in Apple. The App Store still continues to grow, even though they are making a record amount of profit each and every year, raising around 30% year after year (Jones, 2018). Because of this, we can assume that Apple is making a hefty profit solely on its service side of things, and I have only mentioned one thus far.
The last service that I wish to discuss next is none other than iTunes. The iTunes music store was released in April of 2003, and over the years has become something that people accustomed to using each day of their life (Apple Newsroom, 2003). The iTunes started out as something that people used to buy music for their shiny new iPods and Macs, but through the years, it has turned into something that is held to a much higher regard. Today, people see branches off of the iTunes Store, with services such as Apple Music. This service allows customers to pay a monthly (or yearly) fee in order to download as much music as they would like to their Apple devices. This has been a huge plus for music lovers as Apple has even made their music app available for Android for people who want to take advantage of the service. This decision to make it available for consumers who do not own Apple devices is quite an excellent one at that. Because of this, Apple Music was able to overtake Spotify, another popular streaming service, and grow over 50% (Jones, Byron, 2018). Based on what has been stated, it is easy to see that Apple has huge successes when it comes to the services that they offer. And this only begins to scratch the surface of what they offer; hey offer their cloud service, iCloud, Apple News+, Podcasts, and iMessage. However, there is one more thing that makes Apple the success they are today in the business world and it has nothing to do with products or services.
The last thing that needs to be discussed is Apples commitment to privacy. Apple has always been committed to protecting its user’s privacy in everything that they do. Apple is currently even running an advertisement campaign to let their consumers know that they will always be committed to protecting each and everything that the user does on their Apple device. Apple has even gone as far as to show their users that everything is done inside their device and not in the cloud, with the development of chips that allow for these actions to happen onboard. However, beyond this, Apple has taken protecting user’s privacy to a whole new level over the years. Apple has fought law enforcement agencies on numerous accounts, fighting court orders saying Apple had to unlock iPhones for them to use to collect evidence. Most famously, in 2016, Apple fought a court order to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter to the consumers, investors, and most importantly, the American people that the U.S. Government was overreaching its power with this court order and if Apple were to obey the order, it would jeopardize the security of every iPhone user and would open up the iPhone to hackers and cybercriminals, especially if the technology got into the wrong hands. Cook actually said on the subject, “The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals.” Cook wanted its customers to know that although that it would be easy to just obey the court order and move on, that this was not option. This made Apple a top pick for consumers all over the world who are concerned with the privacy of their actions. Apple has taken privacy to a level that has not been seen by a cooperation before and it is refreshing to see. And that is why Apple has become one of the biggest business and technology companies in the world. Time and time again, when they could have betrayed their customer base and took the easy way out, they chose not to. And because of this, customers have remained loyal to Apple and continue to pay Apple’s premium on devices for this promise.
Apple is a company that no one thought would turn into what it has become today. It is astonishing to this day to believe that Apple started in a garage by two college drop-outs. Apple today is something more to people that just a company that makes computers or phones. It is an ecosystem; it is something that has a loyal fan base and has something for everyone and that is Apples main goal with their product line. Each product is designed for not just one type of user. Each product is designed with the thought that different people will be using them, from business, to artists, Apple products have shown time and time again that they are versatile and prepared to tackle just about any task that is thrown at it, by using the optimized software that is made for the device by Apple.
This business model and thought process during the development of the devices is what makes them such a huge success to consumers. Services have also shown to be quite beneficial to Apple, proving to be one of the leading revenue generators for the company. Through the App Store, iTunes Store, and Apple Music (a branch off the iTunes Store), we can see that Apple is committed to providing the best experiences that it can for its customer base. The last thing that makes Apple a leading economic powerhouse is the commitment to privacy that they hold as one of their core ideals. Apple has promised to its users’ time and time again that they work for them and because of that promise, it will make customers continue to choose Apple over other companies, even if they do offer a cheaper product.
All in all, Apple has shown that they are a company that deserves to be recognized. They continue to offer all of these products and services while being transparent and honest with their customer base. When people see an Apple product, they know they are getting a product that will work great and is designed with the customers wants and needs at the center of the device. I believe that Apples morals, smart and witty business practices, as well as everything else that Apple promises when a customer is using one of their products, is why Apple is considerate and economic powerhouse, as well as an extremely successful business.
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