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Apple may have started out as a computer builder, but in the meantime they earn the most from selling iPhones. That actually makes them a phone manufacturer. A very creditable one because the company grew in a short period of time to become the most important and profitable smartphone manufacturer in the world.
The Apple Computer Company was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne from a garage in Cupertino. Wayne was bought out after just a few weeks and in 1977 the company continued as Apple Computers, Inc. focused on the development and sale of personal computers including the Apple II and Macintosh.
Despite the success, Jobs was forced out of the company in 1985 and Wozniak also quit. It would almost mean the end of the company. In the following years, success remained unsuccessful, products were too expensive and new product categories were flop. In 1996 it was decided to take Steve Jobs back, first as advisor and the following year as CEO. It would be the beginning of a very successful period with the introduction of iMac in 1998, iPod in 2001, iPhone in 2007 and MacBook Air in 2008. All these products come from the pen of the British designer Jony Ive.
Apple's adventure in smartphoneland didn't start until 2007 when Steve Jobs showed the first iPhone at the Macworld Expo. Even though there were smartphones on the market back then, the iPhone was fundamentally different. For starters, except for a single button, the iPhone only had a touchscreen for user input. Another major breaking point with the then traditional smartphones was the approach to the web. In those days it was very common to visit a stripped-down version of the web via your mobile phone. On the one hand via WAP or via a separate mobile web version. With the iPhone, you can visit the entire web just like you did on your computer at home.
The introduction of the iPhone came in for a lot of criticism from Apple. The device would be too expensive, have too few functions and the telephone networks would not be able to handle the large amounts of data. All justified objections. However, what the critics had not taken into account was Apple's loyal fan base who could live with the high price and all the shortcomings.
By the way, the iPhone would only be a great success from the iPhone 3GS. This was partly because the hardware was finally powerful enough and partly because iOS became mature. It was only then that it became possible to record video and copy and paste text.
Since the iPhone 6, Apple has released a larger Plus model alongside a regular iPhone. Since the iPhone Xs is called Max. Apple's update schedule is very cautious. Every major update is followed up the year after by a -s model that stands for 'speed'. It has virtually no external changes, but rather faster hardware and new functions. In addition to the models just mentioned, Apple has been releasing a new entry-level model since 2018 with the addition of -r. This letter has no further meaning.
In addition, Apple released some models that never had a direct successor. Think of the iPhone 5c from 2013 which stands for color. This coloured plastic version was used as a cheaper entry-level model. It also released the iPhone SE in 2016 to cater to fans of 4-inch large/small iPhones. It would be the last iPhone with such a small screen size.
Big reason for Apple's success is the brilliant visionary Steve Jobs. His way of announcing products is legendary. He pushed his team to the limit, which often led to problems. He saw needs and markets where others did not. His interference in even the smallest details would produce the most innovative products. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011.
Just before the death of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook was in charge and from then on he would present the popular Keynotes. Despite the fact that the market share under Cook's leadership increased enormously, and even went as high as 1 trillion, never again was a successful new product category announced with the well-known wow factor such as under Jobs. After many versions, the Apple Watch eventually became successful, but had no wow effect during its introduction. The cylindrical Mac Pro had it, but it wasn't a success. Although the AirPods are very successful, they are not a significant source of income.
Besides iPhones, we also know Apple from the iPads that first announced 2010. The story goes that the iPhone is a result of the iPad project rather than the other way around. Jobs would be so dissatisfied with the ROKR E1 with iTunes that made it with Motorola that Apple was going to create and prioritise a phone version of the iPad. After the introduction of the iPhone, it would take another three years for the iPad to see the light of day.
Both iPhone and iPad run the iOS operating system that can be controlled via a touch screen. Usually a new model is announced every year and in the meantime a distinction has been made in the range with series such as the Air, mini and Pro.
Since 2014, Apple has also entered the wearable market with the Apple Watch. The watch is characterized by a square touch-sensitive screen and a rotating knob that is also called 'Digital Crown'. It wasn't very clear who the watch was meant for during the announcement and Apple took many years before it finally became successful. The watch is particularly strong in health features and its close integration with other Apple products.