Apple is the greatest corporate comeback story of modern times. Despite being the first (if not the only) company ever to make computers cool, Apple was gradually squeezed towards the margins of the industry during the 1990s by the combined force of the ubiquitous PC and Microsoft's Windows. But after a difficult decade, when the company's long-term future sometimes looked bleak, the business experienced an extraordinary resurrection after 2001. Initially carving out a new niche for itself in downloadable music, Apple became not just cool again, but cooler than ever before. The huge success of the iPod music player had a significant knock-on effect on sales on Mac computers, but it was nothing compared to extraordinary popularity of its successor, the iPhone, which has almost singlehandedly reinvented the business of wireless communications. The subsequent launch of iPad ushered in a completely new age of mobile computing, driving the company's market value to heights that would have been unthinkable even ten years earlier. The untimely death of presiding genius Steve Jobs in 2011 did nothing to halt Apple's extraordinary rise. Under his successor Tim Cook, the unstoppable global demand for iPhone had established Apple as the world's most valuable corporation by 2015 and the most widely respected technology developer. Sales of iPhone finally began to slow in 2016, but rising prices and continuing improvements in its features have kept the device as the world's most valuable handset brand. Nevertheless, fierce competition has eroded Apple's market share: it slipped to 3rd place in global smartphone sales during 2019 behind Samsung and Huawei. Subsequent hardware devices - such as Apple Watch - have proved only modest hits compared to iPhone. Instead, Apple has turned its attention to keeping its large established userbase entertained with an aggressive push into software, services and now entertainment. The company launched its own subscription-based streaming channel, Apple+, in 2019. Services are now the group's second largest revenue stream after iPhone. In a rare third-party acquisition, Apple purchased high-end headphones manufacturer Beats Electronics in 2014. Otherwise, all products are marketed under the Apple brand. Revenues peaked in the year to Sept 2018 at a record $265.6bn, before slipping back in ye 2019 to $260.2bn, while net income fell from $59.5bn in 2018 to $55.3bn. Sales of iPhone slipped from $165bn to $142bn.
Capsule checked 29th October 2019
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Historical profile information for Apple
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Sep 2020: "Over Sharing". We all know Apple takes data privacy seriously. (Perhaps too seriously in our opinion when it comes to devices belonging to known terrorists or criminals, but that's another story...). This entertaining new campaign - we're guessing it's from TBWA Media Arts Lab rather than developed inhouse but as usual no credits are disclosed - gives a series of illustrations of just how important that could be for the average iPhone user. There are some funny vignettes here as users over-share personal information with random passers-by and not so close friends.
Adbrands Daily Update 19th Aug 2020: Just two years after it exceeded a market valuation of $1 trillion, Apple became the first US company to reach $2 trillion. This year alone, its stock price has more than doubled on the back of robust continuing performance. It topped the magic $2tn mark on Tuseday when its share price hit $467.77. All tech stocks have continued to climb during 2020: Amazon and Microsoft are both currently worth around $1.6 trillion, while Alphabet broke the $1tn level for the first time in July.
Adbrands Daily Update 6th Aug 2020: "Vertical Cinema". This might be our favourite Apple ad ever. To highlight the possibilities of shooting video for an upright smartphone, Apple invited Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle (of 'La La Land' and 'Whiplash') to try his hand at the vertical format while also shooting on the iPhone 11 Pro. As you might expect of a film buff like Chazelle, the results are a movie lover's delight. Not only does Chazelle make superb and inventive use of the vertical format, but he also reimagines a succession of great movie styles and scenes in new and imaginative ways. You certainly won't need me to point out the references, but the wit and elegance with which he reimagines them is breathtaking. Absolutely wonderful!
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Aug 2020: Apple's longtime marketing chief Phil Schiller is to step aside and take a part-time role as an Apple Fellow. His successor as SVP worldwide marketing is Greg Joswiak, previous VP marketing.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Jul 2020: "The Whole WFH Thing". Needless to say, as we've all probably found out over the past few months, working from home sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Especially if you're working as part of a team. However, Apple is keen for you to realise that it offers a whole range of clever software and services that help. Director Mark Molloy has resurrected the characters from last year's 'Underdogs' spot to demonstrate in humorous fashion just exactly what those are. It's a likeable and often entertaining film but at almost seven minutes long rather out-stays its welcome. We'd wager that only the most devoted of Apple fans will stay till the end. No credits are available, but this has all the hallmarks of one of the ads Apple has created inhouse rather than through TBWA, so pleased is it with itself and all things Apple. A much much (much!) tighter and funnier script would have helped, along with a shorter running time.
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