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The Era of Apple

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) formerly Apple Computer, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company’s best-know hardware products
are the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Its software
includes the Mac OS X operating system; the iTunes media browser; the iLife suite
of multimedia and creativity software; the iWork suite of productivity software;
Aperture, a professional photography package; Final Cut Studio, a suite of professional audio and film-industry software products; Logic Studio, a suite of music
production tools; the Safari web browser; and iOS, a mobile operating system.
In 2011 Apple had 357 retail stores in ten countries and an online store. It’s
the largest publicly traded company in the world by market capitalization, overtopping Exxon Mobil by some $60 billion, as well as the largest technology company
in the world by revenue and profit worth more than Google and Microsoft combined. In 2012 the company had 60,400 permanent full-time employees and 2,900
temporary full-time employees; its worldwide annual sales totaled $65.23 billion,
growing to $108.249 billion in 2011.
Fortune magazine named Apple the most admired company in the United
States and in the world. However, the company has received widespread criticism
for its contractor’s labour, and for its environmental and business practices.
The company was named Apple Computer, Inc. for its first 30 years. The
word “Computer” was removed from its name on January 9, 2007, as its traditional
focus on personal computers shifted towards consumer electronics.
Apple was established on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and
Ronald Wayne to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. They were hand-build by
Wozniak and first shown to the public at the Homebrew Computer Club. The Apple I was sold as a motherboard (with CPU, RAM, and basic textual-video chips) –
less than what is today considered a complete personal computer. The Apple I
went on sale on July 1976 and was market-priced at $666.66.
The Apple II was introduced in 1977 at the first West Coast Computer Faire
and differed from its major rivals, the TRS-80 and Commodore PET, because it
came with character cell based colour graphics and an open architecture. While
early models used ordinary cassette tapes as storage devices, they were superseded
by the introduction of a floppy disk drive and interface, the Disk II.
The Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first “killer app”
of the business world – the VisiCalc spreadsheet programme VisiCalc created a
business market for the Apple II. Apple exaggerated its sales figures and was a distant third place to Commodore and Tandy until VisiCalc came along. By the end of
the 1970s, Apple had a staff of computer designers and a production line. The
company introduced the ill-fated Apple III in May 1980 in an attempt to compete
with IBM and Microsoft in the business and corporate computing market.
Jobs and several Apple employees including Jef Raskin visited Xerox PARC
in December 1979 to see the Xerox Alto. Xerox granted Apple engineers three
days of access to the PARC facilities in return for the option to buy 100,000 shares
of Apple at the pre-IPO price of $10 a share. Jobs was immediately convinced that
all future computers would use a graphical user interface (GUI), and development
of a GUI began for the Apple Lisa.
When Apple went public, it generated more capital than any IPO since Ford
Motor Company in 1956 and instantly created more millionaires than any company
in history.
At the Macworld Conference & Expo in January 2007, Steve Jobs revealed
the long anticipated iPhone, a convergence of an Internet-enabled smartphone and
iPod. The original iPhone combined a 2.5G quad band GSM and EDGE cellular
phone with features found in hand held devices, running scaled-down versions of
Apple’s Mac OS X ( dubbed iOS, formerly iPhone OS), with various Mac OS X
applications such as Safari and Mail. It also includes web-based and Dashboard
apps such as Google Maps and Weather. The iPhone features a 3.5-inch (89 mm)
touch screen display, 4, 8, or 16 GB of memory, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi (both “b”
and “g”). The iPhone first became available on June 29, 2007 for $499 (4 GB) and
$599 (8 GB) with an AT&T contact.
On February 5, 2008, Apple updated the original iPhone to have 16 GB of
memory, in addition to the 8 GB and 4 GB models. On June 9, 2008, at WWDC
2008, Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone 3G would be available on July 11,
2008. This version added support for 3G networking, assisted-GPS navigation, and
a price cut to $199 for the 8 GB version, and $299 for the 16 GB version, which
was available in both black and white. The new version was visually different from
its predecessor in that it eliminated the flat silver back, and large antenna square
for a curved glossy black or white back. Following complaints from many people,
the headphone jack was changed from a recessed jack to a flush jack to be compatible with more styles of headphones. The software capabilities changed as well,
with the release of the new iPhone cane the release of Apple’s App Store; the store
provided applications for download that were compatible with the iPhone. On
April 24, 2009, the App Store surpassed one billion downloads.
On June 8, 2009, at Apple’s annual worldwide developers conference, the
iPhone 3GS was announced, providing an incremental update to the device including faster internal components, support for faster 3G speeds, video recording capability, and voice control. On June 7, 2010, at WWDC 2010, the iPhone 4 was an-
nounced, which Apple says is its “biggest leap we’ve taken” since the original iPhone.
The phone includes an all-new design, 960x640 display, Apple’s A4 processor used in the iPad, a gyroscope for enhanced gaming, 5MP camera with LED
flash, front-facing VGA camera and Face Time video calling. Shortly after the release of the iPhone 4, it was realized by consumers that the new iPhone had reception issues. This is due to the stainless steel band around the edge of the device,
which also serves as the phones cellular signal and Wi-Fi antenna. The current fix
for this issue was a “Bumper Case” for the phone distributed for free to all iPhone
4 owners for a few months. In June 2011, Apple overtook Nokia to become the
world’s biggest smartphone maker by volume.
On January 17, 2011, Jobs announced in an internal Apple memo that he
would take another medical leave of absence, for an indefinite period, to allow him
to focus on his health. Chief operating officer Tim Cook took up Job’s day-to-day
operations at Apple, although Jobs would still remain “involved in major strategic
decisions for the company.” Apple became the most valuable consumer-facing
brand in the world. In June 2011, Steve Jobs surprisingly took the stage and unveiled iCloud. iCloud is an online storage and syncing service for music, photos,
files and software which replaced MobileMe, Apple’s previous attempt at content
syncing. This would be the last product launch Jobs would attend before his death.
It has been argued that Apple has achieved such efficiency in its supply chain that
the company operates as a monopsony (one buyer, many sellers), in that it can dictate terms to its suppliers. Briefly in July 2011, due to the debt-ceiling crisis, Apple’s financial reserves were greater than those of the US Government. On August
24, 2011, Jobs resigned his position as CEO of Apple. He was replaced by Tim
Cook and Jobs became Apple’s chairman. Prior to this, Apple did not have a
chairman and instead had two co-lead directors, Andrea Jung and Arthur D. Levinson, who continued with those titles until Levinson became Chairman of the Board
in November.
On October, 2011, Apple announced the iPhone 4S, which includes an improved camera with 1080p video recording, a dual core A5 chip capable of 7 times
faster graphics than the A4, an “intelligent software assistant” named Siri, and
cloud-sourced data with iCloud. On October 5, 2011, Apple announced that Jobs
had died, marking the end of an era for Apple Inc.
The iPhone 4S, which was released in the United States, Canada, Australia,
United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan on October 14, 2011, with other
countries set to follow later in the year. This was the first iPhone model to feature
the Apple A5 chip, as well as the first offered on the Sprint network. On October
19, 2011, Apple announced an agreement with C Spire Wireless to sell the iPhone
4S with that carrier in the near future, marking the first time the iPhone was officially supported on a regional carrier’s network.
On October 29, 2011, Apple purchased C3 Technologies, a mapping company, for $240 million. C3 is the third mapping company Apple has purchased so far.
On January 10, 2012, Apple acquired Anobit, an Israeli hardware company that
developed and supplies a proprietary memory signal processing technology that
improves the performance of flash-memory used in iPhones and iPads for $390
Another notable feature of the iPhone 4S was Siri voice assistant technology,
which Apple had acquired as well as other features, including an updated 8 megapixel camera with new optics. Apple sold 4 million iPhone 4S phones in the first
three days after its release, which made it not only the best iPhone launch in Apple’s history, but the most-successful launch of any mobile phone ever.
In his biography Steve Jobs stated that he wanted to reinvent the textbook and
education. And on January 19, 2012, Apple’s Phil Schiller introduced iBooks
Textbooks for iOS and iBook Author for Mac OS X in New York. This was the
first major announcement by Apple since the passing of Steve Jobs.
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