Apple is easily one of the most recognizable companies in the world. With the symbol of the bitten apple, Apple is one of the three mega giants of technology today, with sales of $46.31 billion in the USA alone in the first three months of 2021. There are so many little charms, such as the iPhone ads always showing 9:41 AM and the iTunes EULA prohibiting you from using it to create nuclear missiles. You probably own or know someone who owns at least one Apple product. Yes, that is how popular this company is. However, it didn’t start as a large company.
Two college dropouts named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded the company Apple out of an old garage. Jobs named it Apple because he liked the fruit. Inspired by the Altair 8800, which was released in 1975, Apple decided to release its computer. Beginning as a project to mainly focus on single etched and silkscreened circuit boards for customers to build their customers, they soon got an order of around 50 completely built computers to the Byte Shop for $500 each. When the Apple 1 was released, the price was $666.66. The Apple 1 was a vast improvement over its inspiration. All you needed to operate this device was a keyboard and a TV set. This Apple 1 was the beginning of a technology empire.
Jobs and Wozniak were never satisfied with just sticking to one thing. He was always looking to explore new avenues of technology. When portable music players were rising in popularity, Apple decided to launch their own called the iPod classic. 8 months before this, Apple released their iTunes store. However, this was more than just a portable MP3 player. One of the hidden easter eggs that Wozniak put into the first iPod was a game called Breakout. The iPod could also browse the web, e-mail settings and featured the trademark Click Wheel for a unique style. Its greatest selling point was the claim and ad slogan that the iPod classic could give you ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’ despite its small size. It stood out from the crowd and was a best seller. The original iPod was then produced into several generations and different variations of the iPod. They are the iPod Mini, Nano, Shuffle, and the iPod Touch. Today, Apple only sells the 7th generation of the iPod Touch.
Of course, iPods are not the most popular item Apple produces today. Apple has become known for its line of iPhones. These are their most popular product to date. The first iPhone was released on 29th June 2007. When Steve Jobs first showed the iPhone in January 2007, he stated “This was a day that I [he] had been waiting for 2 and a half years.” It was worth the wait. With an accurate touchscreen without the need for a stylus, access to voice messages out of sequence, web browsing, and a camera, this was revolutionary at the time. Sure, these are features very common today, but that was not the case for 2007. The iPhone went on to sell 6.1 million units. However, there were issues with this phone. It was still quite slow and could not connect to 3G networks and services. These issues were then tackled in the 2nd Generation iPhone (known as iPhone 3G). This 2nd iPhone also added the App Store, a GPS navigation system, and an easy-to-use interface. With this pattern of releasing new models yearly and improving the models and operating system, iPhones have still been a top seller for Apple. In 2014, 40% of Apple’s profits were in sales of iPhone. In 2018, iPhone sales alone made Apple $500,000.
Apple is also known for its Macs and iPads. After the successful launch of the MacBook in 2006, and the success of the iPhone the next year, Steve Jobs decided to look for something in the middle of these two products. With the ability to play games, read and watch films on one device, the iPad became an instant hit. 3 million iPads were sold within the first 80 days of its release in 2010. The original iPad did have some accessories such as a keyboard docking station. However, these were criticized as being separate from the iPad and being bulky and singular purpose. In the 2nd Generation, more features such as the camera were added and over 2000 apps were added specifically for the iPad. You might know a few of these, such as Candy Crush (2012) and Temple Run (2011). Soon, the iPad split into the iPad Mini (2012), the iPad Air (2013), and the iPad Pro (2015). Each had a different audience. The Mini was more portable, making it great for people on the go and needed something light but not as powerful as the iPad. The iPad Air was just as powerful as the iPad but lighter. The iPad Pro was more interactive for students and different occupations such as artists and graphic designers. This iPad Pro also introduced the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.
Of course, not every Apple product has been a success. In 1983, Apple released a computer variant called Lisa. Lisa stood for Local Integrated Software Architecture and was supposed to be the next big successor to the Apple II. However, there were a lot of issues with the Lisa operating system. Whilst it did allow for multitasking, it was sluggish and hard to use effectively. Lisa was also hindered by the price of $9,995. Not to mention that to write any programs on Lisa, you had to use another developmental OS called the Lisa Workshop. All these factors (and more) made Lisa a flop. To this day, it is rumoured that in Utah, there are over 2000 Lisa computers buried in a landfill.
None of this could be possible without Steve Jobs. He was willing to break the boundaries of technology by any means. He once threw an iPod prototype in an aquarium to prove there was space within it. He was also quite a businessman. In the last 15 years of being the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs paid a fixed income of $1. Jobs even once asked Jeff Goldblum to personally voice Siri. Who knows what’s next for this tech giant?
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