Apple has been among the most valuable companies worldwide since 2010. A very simple explanation for why Apple is so highly valued is that its products are popular and its margins are generous.
It is rare for a company to change the world, and it is even rarer if it changes the world more than once. One of them is Apple, which has over the course of its 42-year history produced products that have revolutionized computing, upended industries, and helped reshape society.
The first computer sold by Apple, the Apple I, only sold a few hundred units, barely enough to make an impression on a small high school. A few years later, however, Apple II changed everything.
For more than five years, the machines were the backbone of Apple’s lineup. The Apple II’s replacements, such as the Apple III or Lisa, a very early (and expensive) example of a computer featuring a graphical user interface, failed to gain traction. Finally, the company stumbled upon a worthy successor in 1984 with the Macintosh.
With the technology provided by Apple, new industries emerged, with Apple winning a reputation for desktop publishing and digital art that it continues to hold.
It was clear to see that Apple’s strengths were already proving themselves by the time of the Macintosh. Apple was not the innovator: the Apple II was not the first microcomputer, and the Macintosh was not the first with a GUI.
Rather, the company was responsible for bringing concepts to the masses. After the Macintosh, Apple continued in that path with the product that helped it become the first trillion-dollar company in the world almost 20 years later: The iPod.
The iPod revolutionized the fortunes of Apple, propelling its stock price up five-fold within five years, and opening the door for Mac users to tap into this ecosystem. Additionally, it transformed the company into a consumer electronics designer from a manufacturer of computers.
This transformation was completed by Apple in January 2007, when it announced the change of its name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc. They also announced another product that same day: The iPhone.
Despite its initial launch price of $499 with a two-year contract, the device flew out of stock across the country when it launched in June that year.
However, Apple’s App Store was what truly revolutionized the market one year later. Prior to the App Store, the iPhone was three products in one; on 10 July 2008, it became 500 products in one, one for each new app available on release day. All of a sudden, the iPhone became a gaming console, a music instrument, etc. The advent of the app store and instant access to the web revolutionized every aspect of everyday life, including shopping, banking, booking flights, paying for parking meters, reading the news, and buying train tickets. Apple takes 30% of all app revenue, which is why it is so powerful.
Regardless of the marketing and media attention, the fan frenzy always help. Apple’s success is however largely attributed to the quality of its products, and the way it has truly revolutionised technology.