With 500 stores across 21 countries, it’s fair to say Apple Inc, designer and manufacturer of
computer hardware, software and electronics, is one of the leading players in the retail game.
Not only is Apple worth almost $800 billion as of 2017, but it also has over one billion of its products in the hands of loyal customers.
This equates to approximately one Apple product per person in the developed world. So with this staggering success evident, it’s hard to believe Apple Inc. had humble beginnings. It’s even harder to believe Apple Inc. had to work hard to sustain its place in the market.
Apple was officially established on April Fool’s Day in 1976, but it was no laughing matter for the
three shareholders and co-founders. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne had worked hard to sell the first Apple I personal computer kit, which was released on April 11, 1976 with a sale price of $666.66. Each sold their own assets to fund the venture, and in the end it would certainly pay off.
The innovative Apple I featured a homemade wooden computer case, a 1 Mhz CPU, 4 KB
standard memory (which could be expanded to 8 KB or 48 KB) and a 40×24 character graphics
card. For its time it was an exceptional piece of hardware and approximately 200 units were sold before its successor Apple II was released.
There was much on the line for the three shareholders, and even though Ronald Wayne held only
10 percent of the shares for Apple, he sold them back to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak for just
$800 due to the risk this venture had to his own assets. Today, those $800 shares would be worth over $3 billion.
Still fizzing from the success of Apple I, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Rod Holt began working on Apple II. The 8-bit home computer was designed by Steve Wozniak, whilst Steve Jobs developed its plastic case and Rod developed the switching power supply.
Just one year on from the success of Apple I, Apple II was introduced at the West Coast Computer Fair and was produced in varying models until 1993.
A turning point
Once the brand began gaining momentum, the team at Apple decided to release a commercial, well timed to play during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII in 1984. The ad was based on a novel by George Orwell which involved a dystopian future.
It inferred that there was a “Big Brother” which told people what to think, and implied the general
public had little freedom of choice. It was left up to the imagination of the public to make up their
minds about what the ad meant, but people believe Big Brother was IBM, whilst Apple was the heroine. The aim was to show people they had freedom to choose, and it gave plenty of notoriety
to Apple’s Macintosh computers. It was certainly a step forward.
How far we’ve come
If you compare the very first computer released by Apple, to the various electronic equipment
offered by Apple today, it’s hard to believe they come from the same company. Of course, technology has grown and Apple has grown with it, but from a personal computer with
4 KB of memory, to the Mac Book Pro of today with 4 GB of memory; Apple has grown in leaps
Over 52 Apple products are now available, including the ever-popular iPhone, iPad, iPod and
Mac. Apple now post a quarterly revenue of over $50 billion, and their shares are worth around
$142.27, although this fluctuates with the market.
The big question is what is next for apple? Could it be augmented reality or virtual reality products?