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 TV+, in 2019. The company does not declare subscriber numbers, but estimates suggest around 12m paying customers in the US by the end of 2021. 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 hit a new high for the year to Sep 2021 of $365.8bn. Net income also hit a new high of $94.7bn. An increase in ticket price helped iPhone to achieve a new sales record of almost $192.0bn. All other product lines also set new highs, with Services extending its lead as the company's second most lucrative line at $68.4bn. Wearables (including home devices and accessories) came next at $38bn followed by Mac and iPad at $35bn and $32bn respectively.
Capsule checked 26th May 2021
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Historical profile information for Apple
Adbrands Update 11th May 2022: It's the end of an era: Apple says it has stopped manufacturing the current generation iPod Touch and will discontinue the iPod brand altogether when current stocks run out. The device revolutionised the music industry when it was first launched in 2001 and laid the foundations for the world-beating iPhone. Tony Fadell, the former Apple SVP often credited with inventing the iPod, told the WSJ: "If we didn't do the iPod, the iPhone wouldn't have come out. The iPod brought us confidence. It brought Steve [Jobs] confidence that we could do something outside of the map and that we could actually continue to innovate in new areas."
Adbrands Update 29th Mar 2022: Apple TV+ topped rivals Netflix, Disney+ and others to become the first streaming service to seize the top prize at the Oscars, collecting the Best Picture trophy for family drama 'Coda'. Netflix came close to that accolade in 2019 with 'Roma', winning three trophies including Best Director, but it failed to capture Best Picture. Though it has a much smaller content offering than rival streamers, Apple has opted for quality over quantity. In this case, 'Coda' was an independently made feature, acquired by Apple after a successful screening at the 2021 Sundance Festival. Last year, Apple also took home the Emmy for Best TV Comedy for 'Ted Lasso'.
Adbrands Update 2nd Mar 2022: A stream of companies in the US and Europe have suspended operations in Russia in response to President Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Apple has suspended sales of all products in that country as has Dell. US oil giant Exxon followed in the footsteps of BP and Shell in halting production in its joint venture with Rosneft and other companies and said it will exit that business. In Germany, BMW halted exports of new vehicles to Russia and will cease local assembly of cars at its local joint venture. Volkswagen warned that production in Germany would be impacted by its inability to import certain components from suppliers in Ukraine.
Adbrands Update 28th Jan 2022: Figures from researcher IDC for global smartphone sales in 4Q and 2021 as a whole demonstrated the fallout from the collapse of former smartphone challenger Huawei. Sanctions introduced by the US and other governments caused that former top three manufacturer to plunge out of the leaderboard for 2021. The main beneficiaries were Chinese rivals Xiaomi (whose volumes surged 29% year-on-year), Oppo (up 20%) and Vivo (up 15%). Apple enjoyed its traditional seasonal jump, eclipsing Samsung over the holiday season (as has become an annual tradition); a surge which also helped the company to report record revenues for that company. It also reduced Samsung's lead for the year as a whole. The Korean giant closed the year with an estimated 20% annual market share, virtually identical to 2020. Apple rose slightly to 17% (from 16% in 2020), while Xiaomi seized Huawei's third place with 14% (up from 11.5% in 2020).
Adbrands Update 4th Jan 2022: Apple started the New Year with a bang, becoming the first US company ever to exceed a market valuation of $3 trillion. Apple stock briefly topped the threshold price of $182.86 per share before falling back slightly. However, this is certainly a level to which it will return in the coming days. At its current price, Apple stock has risen by 41% since the beginning of 2021, and by almost 500% since Jan 2019.
Marketer Moves 22nd Dec 2021: Creative leader Nick Law is leaving Apple. See Marketer Moves (members only).
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