Apple Inc. is a US-based multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California that designs, develops and sells consumer electronics, computer software and online services. It is considered one of the big four of the technology along with Amazon, Google and Facebook.
The company’s hardware products include the iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet, the Mac personal computer, the portable iPod multimedia player, the Apple Watch smart watch, the Apple TV digital media player and the HomePod smart speaker. Apple’s software includes the macOS and iOS operating systems, the iTunes multimedia player, the Safari web browser and the iLife and iWork creativity and productivity suites, as well as professional applications such as Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and Xcode. Their online services include iTunes Store, iOS App Store and Mac App Store, Apple Music and iCloud.
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in April 1976 to develop and sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. It was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc., in January 1977, and the sales of its computers, including the Apple II, grew rapidly. Within a few years, Jobs and Wozniak had hired a team of computer designers and had a production line. Apple went public in 1980 to achieve instant financial success. In the next few years, Apple launched new computers with innovative graphical user interfaces, such as the original Macintosh in 1984, and Apple’s commercials for its products received widespread recognition. However, the high price of their products and limited software titles caused problems, as did power struggles among company executives. In 1985, Wozniak moved away from Apple, while Jobs resigned and founded a new company, NeXT, with former Apple employees.
As the PC market increased, Apple computers lost some of the lower-priced products, particularly those running the Microsoft Windows operating system, and the company was financially on the edge. After further changes in executive work, CEO Gil Amelio in 1997 bought NeXT to recover Jobs. Jobs regained leadership within the company and became the new CEO soon after. He began to rebuild Apple’s status, opening its own Apple retail stores in 2001, acquiring numerous companies to create a portfolio of software titles and changing part of the hardware used in their computers. The company returned to profitability. In January 2007, Jobs changed the name of the company Apple Inc., reflecting its changed approach to consumer electronics, and announced the iPhone, which received critical acclaim and significant financial success. In August 2011, Jobs resigned as CEO due to health complications, and Tim Cook became the new CEO. Two months later, Jobs died, marking the end of an era for the company.
Apple is well known for its size and revenues. Its annual worldwide revenues totaled $ 265 billion for fiscal year 2018. Apple is the world’s largest information technology company by revenue and the world’s third largest mobile phone maker, after Samsung and Huawei. In August 2018, Apple became the first public company in the United States to be valued at more than US $ 1 billion. The company employs 123,000 full-time employees and maintains 504 retail stores in 24 countries as of 2018. It operates the iTunes Store, which is the world’s largest music retailer. As of January 2018, more than 1,300 million Apple products are actively used throughout the world. The company also has a high level of brand loyalty and is ranked as the most valuable brand in the world. However, Apple receives significant criticism regarding the labor practices of its contractors, its environmental practices and unethical business practices, including anti-competitive behavior, as well as the origins of the source materials.