Apple Inc. (NYSE: AAPL) has, in recent years definitely become a brand that represent innovation. Ranging from personal terminals to the iPod and iTunes to their entertaining “Get a Mac” ads has turned them not just to a consumer electronics company, but a lifestyle.
Apple Computer Inc. (“Computer” dropped from their name in 2007) was officially launched on April 1, 1976. The first Apple computer, the Apple I was an ugly looking hand-produced machine which sold for $666.66. Sounds like a joke, right? Then a year later, Apple launched their Apple II. This was a more complete computer by modern terms and unlike its rivals, included a 5 1/4″ floppy drive.
The Macintosh (aka Mac) came soon after. The Mac had an easy-to-use graphic interface, which Apple later sued Microsoft for copying. Because Mac is far superior for graphics, it quickly became the preferred machine for those in creative industries. Macs also film better, which is a reason why one sees Mac on film and television more often than non-Mac.
Many people are misled to believe that Apple didn’t really become a lifestyle brand until the twenty-first century, with the debut of iTunes and the iPod. However, this was not the case. In fact, Apple tried to produce portable CD players, speakers and TV-related products in the early 90s. They were even one of the first companies to launch PDAs. The Newton made its debut in 1993, but only sold for five years. They were just ahead of its time then. But things were changing.
As the twenty-first century dawned, technology and the way people entertain changed drastically. Music was no longer confined only to recordings one bought at a store. With the advent of the Internet, one could easily access the latest hits through downloads. This caused problems with the music industry as file sharing infringed copyright. But Apple had an innovative idea. Why not SELL songs through downloads? That became iTunes. Along with iTunes came the iPod portable music player. Eventually, iTunes sold TV shows, movies and applications for the device. Apple dug deeper into the lifestyle business by launching the iPhone and Apple TV.
Of course, Apple isn’t without its issues. Many people who use both Apple and non-Apple products find the Mac’s single click mouse a problem. There aren’t any right-click short cuts. In addition, Macs are generally more expensive than Windows machines and don’t always have compatible software. More recently, the iPhone 3G was noted to have a low battery life.
On Tuesday, November 4, Apple Inc. opened at 109.99 and closed at 110.99. Their 52-week high was 202.96 and the low was 85.00.
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this column is not to give financial advice or analysis, but to highlight how these companies affect our every day lives.