Apple’s market value ballooned at over $700 billion dollars, exceeding the GNP of Switzerland. The iPhone 6 sales skyrocketed at 75 million, overtaking its rival Samsung in the global smartphone market and making it the most successful product in Apple history. Furthermore, the introduction of a new streaming music service and the acquisition of headphone makers Beats has opened up new avenues for potential future global dominance. This makes Apple not only the most successful technology company in the world, but the most successful company in the history of companies. But why and how has a company quietly coming into existence in 1976, achieved such unparalelled success. What’s its secret? One could perhaps narrow down Apple’s success to three key principles that have attracted millions of loyal customers, made them leaders in mobile ad-revenue and generated billions of dollars in profit.
1. Simplistic Design and Intuitive Products
One of the fascinating aspects of Apple products is the sheer simplicity. iPhone users enjoy many features on the smartphone that can be operated with the aid of a few buttons. This outlook on design has been exported to all of their products, which have similar minimalistic manufacturing. The famous inner round button can in essence operate the entire device, exemplifying the observant focus on design. Furthermore, retailers stock as many as 20 different models for some smartphone manufacturers. Comparatively, Apple has only 1 phone minimising the decision making process for potential consumers and allowing staff to have in-depth knowledge of the product. Some may argue that there are tech-savvy individuals who prefer more choice, however the reality is that the majority of phone users have little knowledge of detailed phone specifications and would rather not prefer the plethora of choice offered by rival phone manufacturers. This makes buying an Apple product simple.
2. Trade Masters
Apple will only enter new markets and products if Apple can do it better. Conversely, many major companies have undertaken new ventures into whichever markets they can find. A clear example includes Samsung, whose production ranges from refrigerators to television and surprisingly even ships. Apple primarily has five products with the new addition of the iWatch. A concentration of resources on fewer products has evidently led to higher quality products and the emergence of a loyal fan base. They have never invented a new product, rather recreated and improved exiting products like the tablet. The revolutionary iPod was seen as a replacement for the conventional MP3 player, with the iPhone similarly improving popular market smartphones for the consumer. Apple, have also pioneered the music revolution with the emergence of iTunes. Online purchasing of music wasn’t the norm when it was first introduced and the digitalisation of world media was started through the use of iTunes. It made downloading music simple and cheap, with the notion of continuity and strategic integration within the family of apple products attracting the ‘Apple fanboys’.
“And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important”
Steve Jobs (2004)
3. A league of their own
Whilst competitors are innovating to introduce products that are competitive, Apple is two steps ahead focusing on new products. The iPhone was a clear example, as it was designed and signed off two years before its emergence into the retail market. Apple keeps ahead of its competitors with all of its products, consequently keeping them in a league of their own and without any formidable competition to fight off. Additionally, Apple’s profit margins on their products allow them to reinvest cash into the manufacturing processes in ways that their competitors will find difficult to match. Their closest competitor, Android enjoys a larger share of the smartphone market, however the real measure of company success is through the profits generated. Apple in this case, is making as much as 70% profit on their iPhones and 85% on their iPads.
These three principles are by no means exclusive to their success. All three have played a major role in their market value and loyal fan base. Apple also has excellent software, apps and services that have all played some part in the companies past and present accomplishments. However, the aforementioned points have been paramount to their unrivalled success and adhering to these will continue their dominance over rival companies and products in the future.
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1939)