Life without iPhones is inconceivable. Smartphones today touch every part of our lives – and it all started with Apple. When you also consider iPads, MacBooks, the iTunes platform and the Apple Watch, it is clear that Apple Inc. has helped to shape the modern world. It is a brand that inspires loyalty among its customers. So what is it about Apple that makes it so appealing?
It all started in the 1970s. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, two college dropouts, started building computers in a suburban garage. Wozniak was a whiz kid. Jobs had a vision. He wanted to create a computer which people could use at home, on the desktop. His ambitious goal was to build a company that would change the world.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
The Apple 1 built by Wozniak was the first computer with a typewriter-style device, connected to a television set. That simplicity became the signature of the brand. Apple was officially established in 1975. Jobs had spent time on an apple farm and, once he thought of the name, it stuck. He found it “fun, spirited and not intimidating,” a description that suited the new company. Where others concentrated on greater power or speed, Apple concentrated on keeping things user-friendly.
By now, Apple had gone public and a difference of opinion led to Jobs being fired by his own company. For the next eleven years, Apple continued to popularise portable computers. However, it was not until Jobs returned in 1997 that the Apple brand known today really took shape.
THE INTERNET AGE
The first thing Jobs did was to throw all development work into a new, transparent design created by Jonathan Ive. The iMac hooked into the new internet age and appealed to the senses. It was a work of art, an elegant piece of hardware that was desirable. People saw it and wanted it.
From that moment on, Ive’s aesthetic dominated all of Apple’s devices. Apple’s hallmark was to take what was already invented and make it attractive and easy to use. Jobs explained this practice in a documentary interview. He said: “Picasso had a saying: ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’ and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
After the iMac, Apple revolutionised the design of unwieldy tablets with the iPad, and ugly mp3 players with the iPod. A clever move into content with the launch of iTunes saw Apple’s success soar even higher. With the iPhone, Apple’s world domination was complete and Jobs was its leader. His vision of changing the world had become a reality.
Steve Jobs died in 2011, months after appointing Tim Cook as the new Chief Executive Officer. Jobs’ legacy is the blueprint of the company’s enduring appeal: user-friendly technology that looks gorgeous and makes life easier. Cook has upheld the company’s success and brand loyalty remains as high as ever. According to a poll by Forbes, it is today the world’s most-admired company.