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, while net income reached $59.5bn. The iPhone alone contributed sales of $167bn from volumes of almost 218m handsets.
Capsule checked 29th October 2019
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Historical profile information for Apple
Adbrands Daily Update 25th Nov 2019: "The Surprise". Apple - and more especially TBWA\Media Arts Lab - might just have delivered one of the best ads of the holiday season. We've not been too crazy about the tech giant's recent Christmas ads, which have generally tended towards the soppy or the overly manufactured. However this new film marks a return to the truth and humanity which marked out an earlier seasonal special - 2013's 'Misunderstood' - as one of the company's best. Like that, this is a truly fine piece of honest story-telling about a rambunctious pair of pre-teen sisters travelling with their parents to spend the holidays with their recently widowed grandfather, with all the inevitable bumps in the road that such a journey involves. The final film ticks all the boxes: it does an excellent job of selling the benefits of Apple's iPad, while also tackling head-on the emotions of life and death and the whole darn thing. If you fail to find a tear in your eye by the end, then you must have a heart of stone.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Nov 2019: Goldman Sachs got a quick lesson in the multiple potential minefields involved in offering consumer financial services - an area in which it is a comparative novice - as a result of a media storm over Apple Card. Goldman is Apple's financial partner for this newly launched service, and it is the bank's first ever consumer credit offering. In a series of tweets over the weekend, tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hanson complained that Apple Card had offered him a credit limit 20 times higher than the one proposed for his wife, despite the fact that she has a higher credit score than he does. He accused the company of anti-female bias. This prompted a response from, of all people, Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak. "The same thing happened to us," he tweeted. "I got 10x the credit limit" despite the fact that he and his wife have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. "Hard to get to a human for a correction though," added Wozniak. "It's big tech in 2019." The bank denied any such bias. However, the New York Department of Financial Services has promised to investigate: "Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law."
Adbrands Daily Update 31st Oct 2019: Apple reported record revenues topping $64bn in the final quarter of its fiscal year to Sept, but annual revenues slipped by 2% to $260.2bn. Net income fell 7% to $55.3bn. There were solid year-on-year sales increases for the company's four smaller reporting businesses of Mac, iPad, Wearables and especially services, but dollar sales of iPhone slumped by almost 14%. It's only the second time in more than 15 years that Apple has reported year-on-year declines (the last was in 2016) in both figures, but the first time the company's profits have fallen in all four quarters against the prior year. However, as usual CEO Tim Cook was in hyperbole overdrive, citing a "groundbreaking" year. "Customers and reviewers [are] raving about the new generation of iPhones," he said. "We're very optimistic about what the holiday quarter has in store."
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Sep 2019: "Introducing iPhone 11". Launch ads for new mobile devices - where the main aim is to provide a run-down of all those new killer features - are generally pretty dull. To their considerable credit, Apple and TBWA\MAL have chosen to try something a bit different for the new iPhone. Those feature-sells are all present and correct, but enveloped in a vibrant, kinetic, witty film that makes the very most of the close-up power of the phone's three - count 'em! - integrated cameras. Regular readers will know by now that we are sometimes left cold by Apple's often excessively narcissistic ads. This one though is a doozy.
Adbrands Daily Update 10th Sep 2019: Apple's regular September launch event saw the introduction of iPhone 11, whose most notable feature was an additional third camera on the regular version and no fewer than four on the top-of-range Pro Max edition. There was also an updated version of Apple Watch. However, the key development highlighted by the event was the continuing push into services, with more details unveiled for the company's TV+ streaming channel and Arcade gaming service. TV+ launches Nov 1st and will undercut main rivals Netflix and Disney on price at $4.99 per month. It even comes free for a year with purchases of a new iPhone, iPad and Mac. However, it will initially carry only a comparatively limited catalogue of content, and initial critical reactions to the Jason Momoa-starring 'See' series previewed at the launch were generally quite negative. TV network drama 'The Morning Show' with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon looks more promising.
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