In 1997, Apple’s share price dropped below $1. Yesterday, it hit $207.39 per share, making Apple America’s first trillion dollar company. In all honesty, it also made them the world’s first $1 trillion firm as the only previous incumbent – PetroChina in 2007 – (legally) manipulated the stock market to achieve the number. It was only worth a quarter that amount by the end of 2008.
So, how has an electronics company managed this? It is not even the biggest electronics company in the market. Samsung – despite a bad year – still has the largest share of the smartphone market. Meanwhile, Apple has even dropped out of the top two for the first time in years, as Huawei leapt up the table. Overall, Apple only sold 1% more phones in the last quarter than they did during the same period in 2017.
Then again, Apple has never been a company that made its business off hardware. Don’t get me wrong, that’s where all of their money comes from – and it’s a lot of money, considering they are the most cash-rich firm on the planet. But their market share is not derived from exclusive and exceptional technological. Rather, it comes from the ecosystem they have built around their hardware.
In 2001, they released the sleek and beautiful iPod. But, the innovation was iTunes. Similarly, when they released the iPhone in 2007, it was an undoubtedly brilliant piece of technology that put a high-end phone, camera and internet connection together. But, the innovation was the App Store that came out in 2008. No longer was the iPhone just three things – now it was a gaming console, a torch, and countless other products rolled into one.
What should not be forgotten though, is that despite this software brilliance – and the immense monetisation on Apple’s behalf – the Cupertino-based company have continued to churn out top of the line phones and computers. The iPhone X’s lack of a traditional headphone jack and use of a notch were ridiculed when it was released last year. 2018 has seen a spate of high-end smartphones copy both features.
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