History of Apple Inc.
Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc., is a multinational corporation that creates consumer electronics, personal computers, servers, and computer software, and is a digital distributor of media content. The company also has a chain of retail stores known as Apple Stores. Apple's core product lines are the iPhone smartphone, iPad tablet computer, and Macintosh computer line. Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne created Apple Computer Co. on April 1, 1976 to market Wozniak's Apple I desktop computer, and Jobs and Wozniak incorporated the company on January 3, 1977, in Cupertino, California.
For more than three decades, Apple Computer was predominantly a manufacturer of personal computers, including the Apple II, Macintosh, and Power Mac lines, but it faced rocky sales and low market share during the 1990s. Jobs, who had been ousted from the company in 1985, returned to Apple in 1997 after his company NeXT was bought by Apple. The following year he became the company's interim CEO, which later became permanent. Jobs subsequently instilled a new corporate philosophy of recognizable products and simple design, starting with the original iMac in 1998.
With the introduction of the successful iPod music player in 2001 and iTunes Music Store in 2003, Apple established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics and media sales industries, leading it to drop "Computer" from the company's name in 2007. The company is now also known for its iOS range of smart phone, media player, and tablet computer products that began with the iPhone, followed by the iPod Touch and then iPad. As of June 30, 2015, Apple was the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization, with an estimated value of US$1 trillion as of August 2, 2018. Apple's worldwide annual revenue in 2010 totaled US$65 billion, growing to US$127.8 billion in 2011 and $156 billion in 2012.
1975–1985: Jobs and Wozniak
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak first met in mid-1971, when their mutual friend, Bill Fernandez, introduced then 21-year-old Wozniak to 16-year-old Jobs. Their first business partnership began later that year when Wozniak, a self-educated electronics engineer, started to build his original “blue boxes” that enabled one to make long-distance phone calls at no cost. Jobs managed to sell some two hundred blue boxes for $150 each, and split the profit with Wozniak. Jobs later told his biographer that if it hadn't been for Wozniak's blue boxes, "there wouldn't have been an Apple."
Jobs and Wozniak, also referred to collectively as "the two Steves", had withdrawn from Reed College and UC Berkeley respectively by 1975. Wozniak designed a video terminal that he could use to log on to the minicomputers at Call Computer. Alex Kamradt commissioned the design and sold a small number of them through his firm. Aside from their interest in up-to-date technology, the impetus for the two Steves seems to have had another source. In his essay From Satori to Silicon Valley (published 1986), cultural historian Theodore Roszak made the point that Apple Computer emerged from within the West Coast counterculture and the need to produce print-outs, letter labels, and databases. Roszak offers a bit of background on the development of the two Steves' prototype models.
In 1975, the two Steves started attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club. New microcomputers such as the Altair 8800 and the IMSAI inspired Wozniak to build a microprocessor into his video terminal and have a complete computer. At the time the only microcomputer CPUs generally available were the $179 Intel 8080 (equivalent to $861 in 2020), and the $170 Motorola 6800 (equivalent to $818 in 2020). Wozniak preferred the 6800, but both were out of his price range. So he watched, and learned, and designed computers on paper, waiting for the day he could afford a CPU.
When MOS Technology released its $20 (equivalent to $91 in 2020) 6502 chip in 1976, Wozniak wrote a version of BASIC for it, then began to design a computer for it to run on. The 6502 was designed by the same people who designed the 6800, as many in Silicon Valley left employers to form their own companies. Wozniak's earlier 6800 paper-computer needed only minor changes to run on the new chip.
By March 1, 1976, Wozniak completed the machine and took it to a Homebrew Computer Club meeting to show it off. When Jobs saw Wozniak's computer, which would later become known as the Apple I, he was immediately interested in its commercial potential. Initially, Wozniak intended to share schematics of the machine for free, but Jobs insisted that they should instead build and sell bare printed circuit boards for the computer. Wozniak also originally offered the design to Hewlett-Packard (HP), where he worked at the time, but was denied by the company on five occasions. Jobs eventually convinced Wozniak to go into business together and start a new company of their own. In order to raise the money they needed to produce the first batch of printed circuit boards, Jobs sold his Volkswagen Type 2 minibus for a few hundred dollars, and Wozniak sold his HP-65 programmable calculator for $500.
Apple I and company formation
On April 1, 1976, Apple Computer Company was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. The company was registered as a California business partnership. Wayne, who worked at Atari as a chief draftsman, agreed to become a co-founder of the company in return for a 10% stake. However, Wayne was somewhat gun-shy due to the failure of his own venture four years earlier. On April 12, less than two weeks after the company's formation, Wayne left Apple, selling his 10% share back to the two Steves for only $800 and leaving them as the active primary co-founders.
According to Wozniak, Jobs proposed the name “Apple Computer” when he had just come back from Robert Friedland's All-One Farm in Oregon. Jobs told Walter Isaacson that he was "on one of my fruitarian diets," when he conceived of the name and thought "it sounded fun, spirited and not intimidating ... plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book."
Soon after the company was formed, the two Steves made one last trip to the Homebrew Computer Club and demonstrated the finished version of the Apple I. Paul Terrell, who operated a computer store chain named the Byte Shop, was in attendance, and became impressed with the machine. He handed the two Steves his card, and told them to "keep in touch." The following day, Jobs dropped in on Terrell at the Byte Shop store in Mountain View, and tried to sell him the bare circuit boards for the Apple I. Terrell told Jobs that he was interested in purchasing the machine, but only if it came fully assembled, saying he would order 50 assembled computers and pay US$500 each on delivery (equivalent to $2,300 in 2020). Jobs then took the purchase order that he had been given from the Byte Shop to Cramer Electronics, a national electronic parts distributor, and ordered the components he needed to assemble the Apple I. The local credit manager asked Jobs how he was going to pay for the parts and he replied, "I have this purchase order from the Byte Shop chain of computer stores for 50 of my computers and the payment terms are COD. If you give me the parts on net 30-day terms I can build and deliver the computers in that time frame, collect my money from Terrell at the Byte Shop and pay you."
The credit manager called Paul Terrell, who was attending an IEEE computer conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove and verified the validity of the purchase order. Amazed at the tenacity of Jobs, Terrell assured the credit manager if the computers showed up in his stores, Jobs would be paid and would have more than enough money to pay for the parts order. The two Steves and their small crew spent day and night building and testing the computers, and delivered to Terrell on time to pay his suppliers. Terrell was surprised when Jobs delivered him a batch of assembled circuit boards, as he had expected complete computers with a case, monitor and keyboard. Nonetheless, Terrell kept his word and paid the two Steves the money he had promised them.
The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 as an assembled circuit board with a retail price of $666.66. Wozniak later said he had no idea about the relation between the number and the mark of the beast, and that he came up with the price because he liked "repeating digits". Eventually, about 200 units of the Apple I were sold.
The Apple I computer had a few notable features. One was the use of a TV as the display system, whereas many machines had no display at all. This was not like the displays of later machines, however; the text was displayed at 60 characters per second. However, this was still faster than the teleprinters used on contemporary machines of that era. The Apple I also included bootstrap code on ROM, which made it easier to start up. Finally, at the insistence of Paul Terrell, Wozniak also designed a cassette interface for loading and saving programs, at the then-rapid pace of 1200 bit/s. Although the machine was fairly simple, it was nevertheless a masterpiece of design, using far fewer parts than anything in its class, and quickly earning Wozniak a reputation as a master designer.
Encouraged by the success of the Apple I, Jobs started looking for investments to further expand the business, but banks were reluctant to lend him money; the idea of a computer for ordinary people seemed absurd at the time. In August 1976, Jobs approached his former boss at Atari, Nolan Bushnell, who recommended that he meet with Don Valentine, the founder of Sequoia Capital. Valentine was not interested in funding Apple, but in turn introduced Jobs to Mike Markkula, a millionaire who had worked under him at Fairchild Semiconductor. Markkula, unlike Valentine, saw great potential in the two Steves, and decided to become an angel investor of their company. He invested $92,000 in Apple out of his own property while securing a $250,000 (equivalent to $1,140,000 in 2020) line of credit from Bank of America. In return for his investment, Markkula received a one-third stake in Apple. With the help of Markkula, Apple Computer, Inc. was incorporated on January 3, 1977. The new corporation bought out the old partnership the two Steves formed nine months earlier.
In February 1977, Markkula recruited Michael Scott from National Semiconductor to serve as the first president and CEO of Apple Computer, as Jobs and Wozniak were both insufficiently experienced and he was not interested in taking that position himself. That same month, Wozniak resigned from his job at Hewlett-Packard to work full-time for Apple.
Almost as soon as Apple had started selling its first computers, Wozniak moved on from the Apple I and began designing a greatly improved computer: the Apple II. Wozniak completed a working prototype of the new machine by August 1976. The two Steves presented the Apple II computer to the public at the first West Coast Computer Faire on April 16 and 17, 1977. On the first day of the exhibition, Jobs introduced the Apple II to a Japanese chemist named Toshio Mizushima, who became the first authorized Apple dealer in Japan. In the May 1977 issue of Byte, Wozniak said of the Apple II design, "To me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use, and inexpensive."
The Apple II went on sale on June 10, 1977, with a retail price of $1,298. The computer's main internal difference from its predecessor was a completely redesigned TV interface, which held the display in memory. Now not only useful for simple text display, the Apple II included graphics and, eventually, color. During the development of the Apple II, Jobs pressed for a well-designed plastic case and built-in keyboard, with the idea that the machine should be fully packaged and ready to run out of the box. This was almost the case for the Apple I computers, but one still needed to plug various parts together and type in the code to run BASIC. Jobs wanted the Apple II case to be "simple and elegant", and hired an industrial designer named Jerry Manock to produce such a case design. Apple employee #5 Rod Holt developed the switching power supply.
While early Apple II models use ordinary cassette tapes as storage devices, they were superseded in 1978 by the introduction of a 5+1⁄4-inch floppy disk drive and interface called the Disk II. The Disk II system was designed by Wozniak and released with a retail price of $495.
In 1979, the Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first "killer application" of the business world: VisiCalc, a spreadsheet. So important that the Apple II became what John Markoff described as a "VisiCalc accessory", the application created a business market for the computer and gave home users an additional reason to buy it: compatibility with the office. Before VisiCalc, Apple had been a distant third place competitor to Commodore and Tandy.
The Apple II was one of the three "1977 Trinity" computers generally credited with creating the home computer market (the other two being the Commodore PET and the Tandy Corporation TRS-80). A number of different models of the Apple II were built thereafter, including the Apple IIe and Apple IIGS, which continued in public use for nearly two decades. The Apple II series went on to sell about six million units in total before it was discontinued in 1993.
While the Apple II was already established as a successful business-ready platform because of VisiCalc, Apple management was not content. The Apple III was designed to take on the business environment in an attempt to compete with IBM in the business and corporate computing market. While the development of the Apple III started in late 1978 under the guidance of Wendell Sander, the machine was subsequently developed by a committee headed by Steve Jobs. The Apple III was first announced on May 19, 1980, with a retail price ranging from $4,340 to $7,800, and released in November 1980.
The Apple III was a relatively conservative design for computers of the era. However, Jobs did not want the computer to have a fan; rather, he wanted the heat generated by the electronics to be dissipated through the chassis of the machine, forgoing the cooling fan.
However, the physical design of the case was not sufficient to cool the components inside it. With no fan, the Apple III was prone to overheating. This caused the integrated circuit chips to disconnect from the motherboard. Customers who contacted Apple customer service were told to "raise the computers six inches in the air, and then let go", which would cause the ICs to fall back into place.
Thousands of Apple III computers were recalled. A new model was introduced in 1983 to try to rectify the problems, but the damage was already done.
In the July 1980 issue of Kilobaud Microcomputing, publisher Wayne Green stated that "the best consumer ads I've seen have been those by Apple. They are attention-getting, and they must be prompting sale." In August, the Financial Times reported that
Apple Computer, the fast growing Californian manufacturer of small computers for the consumer, business and educational markets, is planning to go public later this year. [It] is the largest private manufacturer in the U.S. of small computers. Founded about five years ago as a small workshop business, it has become the second largest manufacturer of small computers, after the Radio Shack division of the Tandy company.
On December 12, 1980, Apple (ticker symbol "AAPL") went public selling 4.6 million shares at $22 per share ($.10 per share when adjusting for stock splits as of November 30, 2020[update]), generating over $100 million, which was more capital than any IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Several venture capitalists cashed out, reaping billions in long-term capital gains. By the end of the day, the stock rose to $29 per share and 300 millionaires were created. Apple's market cap was $1.778 billion at the end of its first day of trading.
In January 1981, Apple held its first shareholders meeting as a public company in the Flint Center, a large auditorium at nearby De Anza College (which is often used for symphony concerts) to handle the larger numbers of shareholders post-IPO. The business of the meeting had been planned so that the voting could be staged in 15 minutes or less. In most cases, voting proxies are collected by mail and counted days or months before a meeting. In this case, after the IPO, many shares were in new hands.
Steve Jobs started his prepared speech, but after being interrupted by voting several times, he dropped his prepared speech and delivered a long, emotionally charged talk about betrayal, lack of respect, and related topics.
Competition from the IBM PC
By August 1981 Apple was among the three largest microcomputer companies, perhaps having replaced Radio Shack as the leader; revenue in the first half of the year had already exceeded 1980's $118 million, and InfoWorld reported that lack of production capacity was constraining growth. Because of VisiCalc businesses purchased 90% of Apple IIs; large customers especially preferred Apple.
IBM entered the personal computer market that month with the IBM PC in part because it did not want products without IBM logos on customers' desks, but Apple had many advantages. While IBM began with one microcomputer, little available hardware or software, and a couple of hundred dealers, Apple had five times as many dealers in the US and an established international distribution network. The Apple II had an installed base of more than 250,000 customers, and hundreds of independent developers offered software and peripherals; at least ten databases and ten word processors were available, while the PC had no databases and one word processor.
There are two kinds of people in the world: people who say Apple isn't just a company, it's a cause; and people who say Apple isn't a cause, it's just a company. Both groups are right. Nature has suspended the principle of noncontradiction where Apple is concerned. Apple is more than just a company because its founding has some of the qualities of myth ... Apple is two guys in a garage undertaking the mission of bringing computing power, once reserved for big corporations, to ordinary individuals with ordinary budgets. The company's growth from two guys to a billion-dollar corporation exemplifies the American Dream. Even as a large corporation, Apple plays David to IBM's Goliath, and thus has the sympathetic role in that myth.
The magazine noted that the loyalty was not entirely positive for Apple; customers were willing to overlook real flaws in its products, even while comparing the company to a higher standard than for competitors. The Apple III was an example of its autocratic reputation among dealers that one described as "Apple arrogance". After examining a PC and finding it unimpressive, Apple confidently purchased a full-page advertisement in The Wall Street Journal with the headline "Welcome, IBM. Seriously". The company prioritized the III for three years, spending what Wozniak estimated as $100 million on marketing and R&D while not improving the Apple II to compete with the PC, as doing so could hurt III sales.
Microsoft head Bill Gates was at Apple headquarters the day of IBM's announcement and later said "They didn't seem to care. It took them a full year to realize what had happened". The PC almost completely ended sales of the III, the company's most comparable product. The II still sold well, but by 1983 the PC surpassed it as the best-selling personal computer. IBM recruited the best Apple dealers while avoiding the discount grey market they disliked. The head of a retail chain said "It appears that IBM had a better understanding of why the Apple II was successful than had Apple". Gene Amdahl predicted that Apple would be another of the many "brash young companies" that IBM had defeated.
By 1984 the press called the two companies archrivals, but IBM had $4 billion in annual PC revenue, more than twice that of Apple and as much as the sales of it and the next three companies combined. A Fortune survey found that 56% of American companies with personal computers used IBM PCs, compared to 16% for Apple. Small businesses, schools, and some homes became the II's primary market.
Xerox PARC and the Lisa
Apple Computer's business division was focused on the Apple III, another iteration of the text-based computer. Simultaneously the Lisa group worked on a new machine that would feature a completely different interface and introduce the words mouse, icon, and desktop into the lexicon of the computing public. In return for the right to buy US$1,000,000 of pre-IPO stock, Xerox granted Apple Computer three days access to the PARC facilities. After visiting PARC, they came away with new ideas that would complete the foundation for Apple Computer's first GUI computer, the Apple Lisa.
The first iteration of Apple's WIMP interface was a floppy disk where files could be spatially moved around. After months of usability testing, Apple designed the Lisa interface of windows and icons.
The Lisa was introduced in 1983 at a cost of US$9,995 (equivalent to $26,000 in 2020). Because of the high price, Lisa failed to penetrate the business market.
Macintosh and the "1984" commercial
By 1984 computer dealers saw Apple as the only clear alternative to IBM's influence; some even promoted its products to reduce dependence on the PC. The company announced the Macintosh 128k to the press in October 1983, followed by an 18-page brochure included with magazines in December. Its debut, however, was announced by a single national broadcast of a US$1.5 million television commercial, "1984" (equivalent to $3,700,000 in 2020). It was directed by Ridley Scott, aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984, and is now considered a "watershed event" and a "masterpiece." 1984 used an unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top with a Picasso-style picture of Apple's Macintosh computer on it) as a means of saving humanity from "conformity" (Big Brother). These images were an allusion to George Orwell's noted novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by a televised "Big Brother." The commercial ended with the words: "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984.”
On January 24, 1984, the Macintosh went on sale with a retail price of $2,495. It came bundled with two applications designed to show off its interface: MacWrite and MacPaint. On the same day, an emotional Jobs introduced the computer to a wildly enthusiastic audience at Apple's annual shareholders meeting held in the Flint Auditorium; Macintosh engineer Andy Hertzfeld described the scene as "pandemonium". Jobs had directed the development of the Macintosh since 1981, when he took over the project from early Apple employee Jef Raskin, who conceived the computer (Wozniak, who had crucial influence over the initial design and development of the program with Raskin, was on leave during this time due to an airplane crash earlier that year). The Macintosh was based on The Lisa (and Xerox PARC's mouse-driven graphical user interface), and it was widely acclaimed by the media with strong initial sales supporting it. However, the computer's slow processing speed and limited range of available software led to a rapid sales decline in the second half of 1984.
The Macintosh was too radical for some, who labeled it a mere "toy". Because the machine was entirely designed around the GUI, existing text-mode and command-driven applications had to be redesigned and the programming code rewritten; this was a challenging undertaking that many software developers shied away from, and resulted in an initial lack of software for the new system. In April 1984 Microsoft's MultiPlan migrated over from MS-DOS, followed by Microsoft Word in January 1985. In 1985, Lotus Software introduced Lotus Jazz after the success of Lotus 1-2-3 for the IBM PC, although it was largely a flop. Apple introduced Macintosh Office the same year with the lemmings ad, infamous for insulting potential customers. It was not successful.
For a special post-election edition of Newsweek in November 1984, Apple spent more than US$2.5 million to buy all 39 of the advertising pages in the issue. Apple also ran a "Test Drive a Macintosh" promotion, in which potential buyers with a credit card could take home a Macintosh for 24 hours and return it to a dealer afterwards. While 200,000 people participated, dealers disliked the promotion, the supply of computers was insufficient for demand, and many were returned in such a bad shape that they could no longer be sold. This marketing campaign caused CEO John Sculley to raise the price from US$1,995 (equivalent to $5,000 in 2020) to US$2,495 (equivalent to $6,200 in 2020). The Macintosh also spawned the concept of Mac evangelism, which was pioneered by Apple employee, and later Apple Fellow, Guy Kawasaki.
1985: Jobs and Wozniak leave Apple
By early 1985, the Macintosh's failure to defeat the IBM PC became clear. This triggered a power struggle between Steve Jobs and CEO John Sculley, who had been hired two years earlier by Jobs using the famous line, "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?" Sculley and Jobs' visions for the company greatly differed. The former favored open architecture computers like the Apple II, sold to education, small business, and home markets less vulnerable to IBM. Jobs wanted the company to focus on the closed architecture Macintosh as a business alternative to the IBM PC. President and CEO Sculley had little control over chairman of the Board Jobs' Macintosh division; it and the Apple II division operated like separate companies, duplicating services. Although its products provided 85% of Apple's sales in early 1985, the company's January 1985 annual meeting did not mention the Apple II division or employees. This frustrated Wozniak, who left active employment at Apple early that same year to pursue other ventures, stating that the company had "been going in the wrong direction for the last five years" and sold most of his stock. Despite these grievances, Wozniak left the company amicably and as of January 2018 continues to represent Apple at events or in interviews, receiving a stipend over the years for this role estimated in 2006 to be $120,000 per year.
In April 1985, Sculley decided to remove Jobs as the general manager of the Macintosh division, and gained unanimous support from the Apple board of directors. Rather than submit to Sculley's direction, Jobs attempted to oust him from his leadership role at Apple. Informed by Jean-Louis Gassée, Sculley found out that Jobs had been attempting to organize a coup and called an emergency executive meeting at which Apple's executive staff sided with Sculley and stripped Jobs of all operational duties.
Jobs, while taking the position of Chairman of the firm, had no influence over Apple's direction and subsequently resigned from Apple in September 1985 and took a number of capable Apple employees with him to found NeXT Inc. In a show of defiance at being set aside by Apple Computer, Jobs sold all but one of his 6.5 million shares in the company for $70 million. Jobs then acquired the visual effects house, Pixar for $5M (equivalent to $11,800,000 in 2020). NeXT Inc. would build computers with futuristic designs and the UNIX-derived NEXTSTEP operating system. NeXTSTEP would eventually be developed into Mac OS X. While not a commercial success, due in part to its high price, the NeXT computer would introduce important concepts to the history of the personal computer (including serving as the initial platform for Tim Berners-Lee as he was developing the World Wide Web).
Sculley reorganized the company, unifying sales and marketing in one division and product operations and development in another. Despite initial marketing difficulties, the Macintosh brand was eventually a success for Apple. This was due to its introduction of desktop publishing (and later computer animation) through Apple's partnership with Adobe Systems, which introduced the laser printer and Adobe PageMaker. Indeed, the Macintosh would become known as the de facto platform for many industries including cinema, music, advertising, publishing, and the arts.
1985–1997: Sculley, Spindler, Amelio
Under leadership of John Sculley, Apple issued its first corporate stock dividend on May 11, 1987. A month later on June 16, Apple stock split for the first time in a 2:1 split. Apple kept a quarterly dividend with about 0.3% yield until November 21, 1995. Between March 1988 and January 1989, Apple undertook five acquisitions, including software companies Network Innovations, Styleware, Nashoba Systems, and Coral Software, as well as satellite communications company Orion Network Systems.
Apple continued to sell both lines of its computers, the Apple II and the Macintosh. A few months after introducing the Mac, Apple released a compact version of the Apple II called the Apple IIc. And in 1986 Apple introduced the Apple IIGS, an Apple II positioned as something of a hybrid product with a mouse-driven, Mac-like operating environment. Even with the release of the first Macintosh, Apple II computers remained the main source of income for Apple for years.
The Mac family
At the same time, the Mac was becoming a product family of its own. The original model evolved into the Mac Plus in 1986 and spawned the Mac SE and the Mac II in 1987 and the Mac Classic and Mac LC in 1990. Meanwhile, Apple attempted its first portable Macs: the failed Macintosh Portable in 1989 and then the more popular PowerBook in 1991, a landmark product that established the modern form and ergonomic layout of the laptop. Popular products and increasing revenues made this a good time for Apple. MacAddict magazine has called 1989 to 1991 the "first golden age" of the Macintosh.
In the late 1980s, Apple's fiercest technological rivals were the Amiga and Atari ST platforms. But computers based on the IBM PC were far more popular than all three, and by the 1990s, they finally had a comparable GUI thanks to Windows 3.0, and were out-competing Apple.
Apple's response to the PC threat was a profusion of new Macintosh lines such as Quadra, Centris, and Performa. However, these new lines were marketed poorly by what was now "arguably one of the worst-managed companies in the industry". For one, there were too many models, differentiated by very minor graduations in their tech specs. The excess of arbitrary model numbers confused many consumers and hurt Apple's reputation for simplicity. Apple's retail resellers like Sears and CompUSA often failed to sell or even competently display these Macs. Compounding matters was the fact that, although the machines were cheaper than a comparable PC (when taken into account all the components built-in that had to be added to the 'bare bones PC'), the poor marketing gave the impression that the machines were more expensive. Inventory grew as Apple consistently underestimated demand for popular models and overestimated demand for others.
In 1991, Apple partnered with long-time competitor IBM and Motorola to form the AIM alliance. The ultimate goal was to create a revolutionary new computing platform, known as PReP, which would use IBM and Motorola hardware and Apple software. As the first step toward the PReP platform, Apple started the Power Macintosh line in 1994, using PowerPC processors from Motorola and IBM. These processors used a RISC architecture, which differed substantially from the Motorola 680X0 series that were used by all previous Macs. Parts of Apple's operating system software were rewritten so that most software written for older Macs could run in emulation on the PowerPC series. Apple also refused IBM's offer to purchase the company, but later unsuccessfully sought another offer from IBM, and at one point was "hours away" from an acquisition by Sun Microsystems.
In addition to computers, Apple has also produced consumer devices. In 1993, Apple released the Newton, an early personal digital assistant (PDA). It defined and launched the PDA category and was a forerunner and inspiration of devices such as Palm Pilot and Pocket PC.
In 1995 a decision was made to (officially) start licensing the Mac OS and Macintosh ROMs to 3rd party manufacturers who started producing Macintosh "clones". This was done in order to achieve deeper market penetration and extra revenue for the company. This decision led to Apple having over a 10% market share until 1997 when Steve Jobs was re-hired as interim CEO to replace Gil Amelio. Jobs promptly found a loophole in the licensing contracts Apple had with the clone manufacturers and terminated the Macintosh OS licensing program, ending the Macintosh clone era. The result of this action was that Macintosh computer market share quickly fell from 10% to around 3%.
In 1996, the struggling NeXT company beat out Be Inc.'s BeOS in its bid to sell its operating system to Apple. Apple decided to purchase Steve Jobs' company, NeXT, and its NeXTstep operating system on December 20, 1996. This would not only bring Steve Jobs back to Apple's management, but NeXT technology would become the foundation of the Mac OS X operating system.
1997–2001: Apple's comeback
Return of Steve Jobs
On July 9, 1997, Gil Amelio was ousted as CEO of Apple by the board of directors. Fred D. Anderson was the head of the directors in short term and obtained short-term working capital from the banks in July 1997. In August 1997, Jobs stepped in as the interim CEO to begin a critical restructuring of the company's product line. He would eventually become CEO and served in that position from January 2000 to August 2011. On August 24, 2011, Steve Jobs resigned his position as chief executive officer of Apple before his long battle with pancreatic cancer took his life on October 5, 2011.
On November 10, 1997, Apple introduced the Apple Store, an online retail store based upon the WebObjects application server the company had acquired in its purchase of NeXT. The new direct sales outlet was also tied to a new build-to-order manufacturing strategy.
At the 1997 Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would be entering into a partnership with Microsoft. Included in this was a five-year commitment from Microsoft to release Microsoft Office for Macintosh as well as a US$150 million investment in Apple. As part of the deal, Apple and Microsoft agreed to settle a long-standing dispute over whether Microsoft's Windows operating system infringed on any of Apple's patents. It was also announced that Internet Explorer would be shipped as the default browser on the Macintosh, with the user being able to have a preference. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates appeared at the expo on-screen, further explaining Microsoft's plans for the software they were developing for Mac, and stating that he was very excited to be helping Apple return to success. After this, Steve Jobs said this to the audience at the expo:
If we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us that's great, because we need all the help we can get, and if we screw up and we don't do a good job, it's not somebody else's fault, it's our fault. So I think that is a very important perspective. If we want Microsoft Office on the Mac, we better treat the company that puts it out with a little bit of gratitude; we'd like their software. So, the era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I'm concerned. This is about getting Apple healthy, this is about Apple being able to make incredibly great contributions to the industry and to get healthy and prosper again.
The day before the announcement Apple had a market cap of $2.46 billion, and had ended its previous quarter with quarterly revenues of US$1.7 billion and cash reserves of US$1.2 billion, making the US$150 million amount of the investment largely symbolic. Apple CFO Fred Anderson stated that Apple would use the additional funds to invest in its core markets of education and creative content.
iMac, iBook, and Power Mac G4
While discontinuing Apple's licensing of its operating system to third-party computer manufacturers, one of Jobs's first moves as new acting CEO was to develop the iMac, which bought Apple time to restructure. The original iMac integrated a CRT display and CPU into a streamlined, translucent plastic body. The line became a sales smash, moving about one million units each year. It also helped re-introduce Apple to the media and public and announced the company's new emphasis on the design and aesthetics of its products.
In 1999, Apple introduced the Power Mac G4, which utilized the Motorola-made PowerPC 7400 containing a 128-bit instruction unit known as AltiVec, its flagship processor line. Also that year, Apple unveiled the iBook, its first consumer-oriented laptop that was also the first Macintosh to support the use of Wireless LAN via the optional AirPort card that was based on the 802.11b standard; it helped popularize the use of Wireless LAN technology to connect computers to networks.
Mac OS X
In 2001, Apple introduced Mac OS X (now known as macOS), an operating system based on NeXT's NeXTSTEP and incorporating parts of the FreeBSD kernel. Aimed at consumers and professionals alike, Mac OS X married the stability, reliability and security of Unix with the ease of a completely overhauled user interface. To aid users in transitioning their applications from Mac OS 9, the new operating system allowed the use of Mac OS 9 applications through the Classic environment. Apple's Carbon API also allowed developers to adapt their Mac OS 9 software to use Mac OS X's features.
In May 2001, after much speculation, Apple announced the opening of a line of Apple retail stores, to be located throughout the major U.S. computer buying markets. The stores were designed for two primary purposes: to stem the tide of Apple's declining share of the computer market and to respond to poor marketing of Apple products at third-party retail outlets.
2001–2007: iPods, iTunes Store, Intel transition
In October 2001, Apple introduced its first iPod portable digital audio player. Then iPod started as a 5 gigabyte player capable of storing around 1000 songs. Since then it has evolved into an array of products including the Mini (now discontinued), the iPod Touch, the Shuffle (now discontinued), the iPod Classic (also discontinued), the Nano (now discontinued), the iPhone and the iPad. Since March 2011, the largest storage capacity for an iPod has been 160 gigabytes. Speaking to software developers on June 6, 2005, Steve Jobs said the company's share of the entire portable music device market stood at 76%.
The iPod gave an enormous lift to Apple's financial results. In the quarter ending March 26, 2005, Apple earned US$290 million, or 34¢ a share, on sales of US$3.24 billion. The year before in the same quarter, Apple earned just US$46 million, or 6¢ a share, on revenue of US$1.91 billion.
Moving on from colored plastics and the PowerPC G3
In early 2002, Apple unveiled a completely redesigned iMac, using the G4 processor and LCD display. The new iMac G4 design had a white hemispherical base and a flat panel all-digital display supported by a swiveling chrome neck. After several iterations increasing the processing speed and screen sizes from 15" to 17" to 20" the iMac G4 was discontinued and replaced by the iMac G5 in the summer of 2004.
In 2002, Apple also released the Xserve 1U rack mounted server. Originally featuring two G4 chips, the Xserve was unusual for Apple in two ways. It represented an earnest effort to enter the enterprise computer market and it was also relatively cheaper than similar machines released by its competitors. This was due, in no small part, to Apple's use of Fast ATA drives as opposed to the SCSI hard drives used in traditional rack-mounted servers. Apple later released the Xserve RAID, a 14 drive RAID that was, again, cheaper than competing systems.
In mid-2003, Steve Jobs launched the Power Mac G5, based on IBM's G5 processor. Its all-metal anodized aluminum chassis finished Apple's transition away from colored plastics in their computers. Apple claims this was the first 64-bit computer sold to the general public. The Power Mac G5 was also used by Virginia Tech to build its prototype System X supercomputing cluster, which at the time was considered the third-fastest supercomputer in the world. It cost only US$5.2 million to build, far less than the previous No. 3 and other ranking supercomputers. Apple's Xserves were soon updated to use the G5 as well. They replaced the Power Mac G5 machines as the main building block of Virginia Tech's System X, which was ranked in November 2004 as the world's seventh-fastest supercomputer.
A new iMac based on the G5 processor was unveiled August 31, 2004 and was made available in mid-September. This model dispensed with the base altogether, placing the CPU and the rest of the computing hardware behind the flat-panel screen, which is suspended from a streamlined aluminum foot. This new iMac, dubbed the iMac G5, was the "world's thinnest desktop computer", measuring in at around two inches (around 5 centimeters).
2004, however, was a turning point for Apple. After creating a sizable financial base to work with, the company began experimenting with new parts from new suppliers. As a result, Apple was able to produce new designs quickly over a short amount of time, with the release of the iPod Video, then the iPod Classic, and eventually the iPod touch and iPhone.
On April 29, 2005, Apple released Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" to the general public.
Apple's wildly successful PowerBook and iBook products relied on Apple's previous generation G4 architecture, which was produced by Freescale Semiconductor, a spin-off from Motorola. Engineers at IBM had minimal success in making their PowerPC G5 processor consume less power and run cooler but not enough to run in iBook or PowerBook formats. As of the week of October 24, 2005, Apple released the Power Mac G5 Dual that features a Dual-Core processor. This processor contains two cores in one rather than have two separate processors. Apple has also developed the Power Mac G5 Quad that uses two of the Dual-Core processors for enhanced workstation power and performance. The new Power Mac G5 Dual cores run individually at 2.0 GHz or 2.3 GHz. The Power Mac G5 Quad cores run individually at 2.5 GHz and all variations have a graphics processor that has 256-bit memory bandwidth.
Retail store expansion
Initially, the Apple Stores were only opened in the United States, but in late 2003, Apple opened its first Apple Store abroad, in Tokyo's Ginza district. Ginza was followed by a store in Osaka, Japan in August 2004. In 2005, Apple opened stores in Nagoya, the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Fukuoka, and Sendai. Another store was opened in Sapporo in 2006. Apple's first European store opened in London, on Regent Street, in November 2004. A store in the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham opened in April 2005, and the Bluewater shopping centre in Dartford, Kent opened in July 2005. Apple opened its first store in Canada in the middle of 2005 at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in North York, Toronto. Later on in 2005 Apple opened the Meadowhall Store in Sheffield and the Trafford Centre Store in Manchester (UK). Recent additions in the London area include the Brent Cross Apple Store (January 2006), the Apple Store in Westfield in Shepherd's Bush (September 2008) and the Apple Store in Covent Garden (August 2010), which is currently the largest store in the world.
Also, in an effort to court a broader market, Apple opened several "mini" stores in October 2004 in an attempt to capture markets where demand does not necessarily dictate a full-scale store. The first of these stores was opened at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. These stores follow in the footsteps of the successful Apple products: iPod mini and Mac mini. These stores are only one half the square footage of the smallest "normal" store and thus can be placed in several smaller markets.
Apple and "i" Web services
In 2000, Apple introduced its iTools service, a set of free web-based tools that included an email account, internet greeting cards called iCards, a service called iReview that gave internet users a place to read and write reviews of Web sites, and a tool called KidSafe that promised to prevent children from browsing inappropriate portions of the web. The latter two services were eventually canceled because of lack of success, while iCards and email became integrated into Apple's .Mac subscription-based service introduced in 2002 and discontinued in mid-2008 to make way for the release of the new MobileMe service, coinciding with the iPhone 3G release. MobileMe, which carried the same US$99.00 annual subscription price as its Mac predecessor, featured the addition of "push" services to instantly and automatically send emails, contacts and calendar updates directly to users' iPhone devices. Some controversy surrounded the release of MobileMe services to users resulting in expected downtime and a significantly longer release window. As a result of this, Apple extended the subscriptions of existing MobileMe subscribers by an additional 30 days free-of-charge. At the WWDC event in June 2011, Apple announced its most up to date cloud service, iCloud, replacing MobileMe. This service kept most of the core services that MobileMe offered, however dropping iDisk, Gallery, and iWeb. Additionally, it added a number of other features to the group, including Find my Mac, iTunes Match, Photo Stream, Documents & Data Backup, and iCloud backup for iOS devices. The service requires users to be running iOS 5 and OS X 10.7 Lion.
The iTunes Music Store was launched in April 2003, with 2 million downloads in the first 16 days. Music was purchased through the iTunes application, which was initially Macintosh-only; in October 2003, support for Windows was added. Initially, the music store was only available in the United States due to licensing restrictions.
In June 2004 Apple opened its iTunes Music Store in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. A version for the European Union version opened October 2004, but it was not initially available in the Republic of Ireland due to the intransigence of the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) but was opened there a few months later on Thursday, January 6, 2005. A version for Canada opened in December 2004. On May 10, 2005, the iTunes Music Store was expanded to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
On December 16, 2004, Apple sold its 200 millionth song on the iTunes Music Store to Ryan Alekman from Belchertown, Massachusetts. The download was The Complete U2, by U2. Just under three months later Apple sold its 300 millionth song on March 2, 2005. On July 17, 2005, the iTunes Music Store sold its 500 millionth song. At that point, songs were selling at an accelerating annualized rate of more than 500 million.
On October 25, 2005, the iTunes Store went live in Australia, with songs selling for A$1.69 each, albums at (generally) A$16.99 and music videos and Pixar short films at A$3.39. Briefly, people in New Zealand were able to buy music off the Australian store. However, that loophole was quickly closed.
On February 23, 2006, the iTunes Music Store sold its 1 billionth song.
The iTunes Music Store changed its name to iTunes Store on September 12, 2006, when it began offering video content (TV shows and movies) for sale. Since iTunes' inception, it has sold over 2 billion songs, 1.2 billion of which were sold in 2006. Since downloadable TV and movie content was added 50 million TV episodes and 1.3 million movies have been downloaded.
In early 2010, Apple celebrated the 10 billionth song downloaded from the iTunes Music Store.
In a keynote address on June 6, 2005, Steve Jobs officially announced that Apple would begin producing Intel-based Macintosh computers beginning in 2006. Jobs confirmed rumors that the company had secretly been producing versions of its current operating system Mac OS X for both PowerPC and Intel processors over the past 5 years, and that the transition to Intel processor systems would last until the end of 2007. Rumors of cross-platform compatibility had been spurred by the fact that Mac OS X is based on OpenStep, an operating system that was available for many platforms. In fact, Apple's own Darwin, the open source underpinnings of Mac OS X, was also available for Intel's x86 architecture.
On January 10, 2006, the first Intel-based machines, the iMac and MacBook Pro, were introduced. They were based on the Intel Core Duo platform. This introduction came with the news that Apple would complete the transition to Intel processors on all hardware by the end of 2006, a year ahead of the originally quoted schedule.
2007–2011: Apple Inc., iPhone, iOS, iPad
On January 9, 2007, Apple Computer, Inc. shortened its name to simply Apple Inc. In his Macworld Expo keynote address, Steve Jobs explained that with their current product mix consisting of the iPod and Apple TV as well as their Macintosh brand, Apple really wasn't just a computer company anymore. At the same address, Jobs revealed a product that would revolutionize an industry in which Apple had never previously competed: the Apple iPhone. The iPhone combined Apple's first widescreen iPod with the world's first mobile device boasting visual voicemail, and an internet communicator able to run a fully-functional version of Apple's web browser, Safari, on the then-named iPhone OS (later renamed iOS).
iOS evolution: iPhone and iPad
The first version of the iPhone became publicly available on June 29, 2007, in selected countries/markets. It was another 12 months before the iPhone 3G became available on July 11, 2008. Apple announced the iPhone 3GS on June 8, 2009, along with plans to release it later in June, July, and August, starting with the U.S., Canada, and major European countries on June 19. This 12-month iteration cycle has continued with the iPhone 4 model arriving in similar fashion in 2010, a Verizon model was released in February 2011, and a Sprint model in October 2011, shortly after Jobs' death.
On February 10, 2011, the iPhone 4 was made available on both Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Now two iPod types are multi-touch: the iPod nano and the iPod touch, a big advance in technology. Apple TV currently has a 2nd generation model, which is 4 times smaller than the original Apple TV. Apple has also gone wireless, selling a wireless trackpad, keyboard, mouse, and external hard drive. Wired accessories are, however, still available.
The Apple iPad was announced on January 27, 2010, with retail availability commencing in April and systematically growing in markets throughout 2010. The iPad fits into Apple's iOS product line, being twice the screen size of an iPhone without the phone abilities. While there were initial fears of product cannibalization the FY2010 financial results released in Jan 2011 included commentary of a reverse 'halo' effect, where iPad sales were leading to increased sales of iMacs and MacBooks.
Resurgence compared to Microsoft
Since 2005, Apple's revenues, profits, and stock price have grown significantly. On May 26, 2010, Apple's stock market value overtook Microsoft's, and Apple's revenues surpassed those of Microsoft in the third quarter of 2010. After giving their results for the first quarter of 2011, Microsoft's net profits of $5.2 billion were lower for the quarter than those of Apple, which earned $6 billion in net profit for the quarter. The late April announcement of profits by the companies marked the first time in 20 years that Microsoft's profits had been lower than Apple's, a situation described by Ars Technica as "unimaginable a decade ago".
The Guardian reported that one of the reasons for the change was because PC software, where Microsoft dominates, has become less important compared to the tablet and smartphone markets, where Apple has a strong presence. One reason for this was a surprise drop in PC sales in the quarter. Another issue for Microsoft was that its online search business had lost a lot of money, with a loss of $700 million in the first quarter of 2010.
2011–2020: Restructuring and Apple Watch
On March 2, 2011, Apple unveiled the iPad's second-generation model, the iPad 2. Like the 4th generation iPod Touch and iPhone, the iPad 2 comes with a front-facing camera as well as a rear-facing camera, along with three new apps that utilize these new features: Camera, FaceTime, and Photo Booth.
On August 24, 2011, Steve Jobs resigned from his position as CEO with Tim Cook taking his place. On October 29, 2012, Apple announced structural changes to increase collaboration between hardware, software, and services. This involved the departure of Scott Forstall, responsible for the launch of iOS (iPhone OS at the time of launch), who was replaced with Craig Federighi as head of iOS and OS X teams. Jony Ive became head of HI (Human Interface), whilst Eddy Cue was announced as head of online services including Siri and Maps. The most notable short term difference of this restructuring was the launch of iOS 7, the first version of the operating system to use a drastically different design to its predecessors, headed by Jony Ive., followed by OS X Yosemite a year later with a similar design.
During this time, Apple released the iPhone 5, the first iPhone to have a screen larger than 3.5", the iPod Touch 5, also with a 4" screen, the iPhone 5S with fingerprint scanning technology in the form of Touch ID, and iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with screens at 4.7" and 5.5". They released the iPad 3rd generation with Retina Display, followed by the iPad (4th generation) just half a year later. The iPad Mini was announced alongside the iPad 4th gen, and was the first to feature a smaller screen than 9.7". This was followed by the iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display in 2013, alongside the iPad Air, a continuation of the original 9.7" range of iPads, which was subsequently followed by the iPad Air 2 with Touch ID in 2014. Apple also released various major Mac updates, including the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, whilst also discontinuing the original MacBook range for a short period, before reintroducing it in 2015 with various new features, a Retina Display and a new design that implemented USB-C, while removing all other ports. Apple also updated the Mac Pro and iMac lines with a drastically different smaller/thinner, but more powerful designs.
On November 25, 2013, Apple acquired a company called PrimeSense. On May 28, 2014, Apple acquired Beats Electronics, producers of the popular Beats by Dre headphone and speaker range, as well as streaming service Beats Music.
On September 9, 2014, Apple announced the Apple Watch, the first new product range since the departure of Steve Jobs. The product cannot function beyond basic features without being within Bluetooth or WiFi range to an iPhone and contains basic applications (many acting as a remote for other devices, such as a music remote, or a control for an Apple TV) and fitness tracking. The Apple Watch received mixed reviews, with critics suggesting that whilst the device showed promise, it lacked a clear purpose, similar to many of the devices already on the market. The Apple Watch was released on April 24, 2015.
On September 9, 2015, Apple announced the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus with 3D Touch, the iPad Pro, and the fourth-generation Apple TV, along with the fourth-generation iPad Mini. On March 21, 2016, Apple announced the first-generation iPhone SE and the smaller iPad Pro.
On September 7, 2016, Apple announced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with an improved camera and a faster processor than the previous generation. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have high storage options. On October 27, 2016, Apple announced the new 13 and 15 inch Macbook Pro with a retina Touch Bar. On March 21, 2017, Apple announced the iPad (2017). This is the iPad Air 2 successor, equipped with a faster processor, and starts at $329. Apple also announced the (Product)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
On June 5, 2017, Apple announced iOS 11 as well as new versions of macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Apple also released updated versions of the iMac, MacBook Pro, and MacBook. Apple also released the new 10.5 and 12.9 inch iPad Pro. Apple also released a Siri speaker similar to the Amazon Echo called HomePod.
On September 12, 2017, at the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with better camera features, more improvements in product design, user experience, performance and more, and announced the iPhone X with facial recognition technology and wireless charging. Apple also announced the 4K Apple TV with 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision experience, and the Apple Watch Series 3, supporting a cellular connection, running watchOS 4.
On September 12, 2018, at the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple introduced the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, running iOS 12, with improved facial recognition and HDR in the display as well as better cameras for all 3 phones. They also announced the Apple Watch Series 4, running watchOS 5, with an all-new design and larger display as well as many more health-related features.
In 2018, Bloomberg News reported that, as early as 2015, a specialized unit of China's People's Liberation Army began inserting chips into Supermicro servers that allowed for backdoor access to them. Approximately 30 companies reportedly had their servers compromised via the chips, including Apple Inc.
2020 - Present: 5G and Apple silicon
In June 2020, at the first ever virtual WWDC, CEO Tim Cook announced the transition from Intel processors to Apple silicon in Macs.
In April 2021, the M1-powered iPad was launched, along with a new M1-powered iMac offered in 7 colors, recalling the 1st generation: Tray-loading|iMacs offered in 5 colors announced in 1999. Apple also launched an iPhone 12 in purple and a GPS tracking device called AirTag that uses the Apple's Find My device network.
|Financial period||Net sales (Million USD)||Net profits (Million USD)||Revenue growth||Return on net sales|
'AAPL' is the stock symbol under which Apple Inc. trades on the NASDAQ stock market. Apple originally went public on December 12, 1980, with an initial public offering at US$22.00 per share. The stock has split 2 for 1 three times on June 15, 1987, June 21, 2000, and February 28, 2005. Apple initially paid dividends from June 15, 1987, to December 15, 1995. On March 19, 2012, Apple announced that it would again start paying a dividend of $2.65 per quarter (beginning in the quarter that starts in July 2012) along a $10 billion share buyback that would commence September 30, 2012, the start of its fiscal 2013 year.
Gene Munster and Michael Olson of Piper Jaffray are the main analysts who track Apple stock. Piper Jaffray estimates future stock and revenue of Apple annually, and have been doing so for several years.
Timeline of Apple Inc. products
- Products on this timeline indicate introduction dates only and not necessarily discontinued dates, as new products begin on a contiguous product line.
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