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. After dipping slightly in 2019, revenues hit a new high for the year to Sep 2020 of $274.5bn. Net income remained slightly below 2018's peak at $57.4bn. Sales of iPhone have continued to fall, slipping to $137.8bn (from a high of $165bn). However, revenues from Mac, iPad, wearables etc, all rose, while Services set a new record of $54bn.
Capsule checked 29th October 2019
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Historical profile information for Apple
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Nov 2020: "You Love Me". Apple-owned Beats Electronics unveils a haunting, challenging, incendiary spot from agency Translation. At this time of a still deeply Disunited States it throws down the gauntlet to Trump supporters or any other non-Black Americans who love rap music or sports: You love Black culture. But do you love me? "The influence of Black culture extends beyond their demographic, and yet their voices are often muted when it comes to attribution and opportunities," says Translation's founder & CEO Steve Stoute. "Beats, Translation and everyone involved wanted to create a piece that would let our next generation know that they are seen and they are heard and they are enough." Melina Matsoukas directed, with a beautiful score from Beyonce's sister Solange Knowles and narration by rapper Tobe Nwigwe.
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Oct 2020: "Make Movies Like The Movies". Apple makes another bid to establish iPhone as the new go-to tool for moviemakers on a budget with this entertaining spot from star director Kim Gehrig. Itself made on an iPhone 12 Pro no doubt. Added bonuses include luminous photography from Oscar-winning DP Linus Sandgren - best known for 'La La Land' and 'First Man' - and an original score by Danny Elfman. The film serves as a useful little compendium of tips and handy accessories to convert your smartphone into a professional filmmaking tool. Some of those video rigs are especially interesting. It's always impossible to know where Apple's ads originate, but we'd hazard a guess this one comes from TBWA\Media Arts Lab rather than Apple's inhouse agency.
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!
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