In its 42 years, Apple has “revolutionised computing, upended industries and ultimately reshaped society.”
That’s the opinion of technology reporter for The Guardian Alex Hern, who declared that the Californian firm’s relentless drive for innovation has helped it transcend business and become something revolutionary for society as a whole.
Hern argued that few companies change the world, and fewer still do it more than once. However, Apple’s fearless approach – and the industry-leading devices that came as a result, mean it has done exactly that.
He noted that Apple’s beginnings were humble, especially when compared with what was to follow. The Apple 1 sold just a few hundred units – and took around ten months to shift them.
However, everything changed with its follow up, the prosaically titled Apple 2. In connecting easily to standard televisions, offering a built-in keyboard and having a sleek plastic design that owed more to kitchen appliances than gadgetry, Apple had created a product that would revolutionise home computing forever.
Unsurprisingly, the “ready-to-run” device sold in droves, even suffocating sales volumes of its follow up devices, as the public wasn’t ready to give up on its love affair with the Apple 2, even for its better-equipped successors.
Eventually, a new device came along that did make an equally big impression as the Apple 2 – and developed the home computing marketplace further still. The Mackintosh, released in 1984, helped establish Apple as the manufacturer of choice for nearly everyone involved in art, design and publishing (a reputation it still enjoys today). Apple achieved this by offering an advanced graphic user interface at an affordable price. The move paid off and before long, developers such as Quark were releasing software exclusive to Apple devices. So too were Adobe, with Photoshop initially being a Mackintosh exclusive.
Of course, more was still to come – including what is arguably Apple’s most iconic product: the iPod. Though reviewers took a little warming up, consumers took instantly to the music device – and it sold millions of units across the world before paving the way for what was to follow: the world-conquering iPhone.
“Unlike its tech rivals,” Hern notes, “Apple still makes the bulk of its income through the old-fashioned approach of building nice stuff, then selling it to customers for a lot of money.
“Apple is not just changing an industry: it is changing the world.”