Key technological and business innovations
After some financial difficulties and extensive restructuring in the 90s, the company resurfaced in the late 90s with a number of strategic and technological changes: in 1997, Apple introduced the Apple Online Store, followed by the iMac and the video editing program Final Cut Pro in 1998. The iPod was launched in 2001, which marked the company’s first venture away from computers and into other segments of consumer electronics. With several hundred million units sold, the iPod was a tremendous success. Its popularity started to decline in 2008, however, as advanced music functions of smartphones began to substitute MP3 players. Apple’s digital media store, the iTunes Store, was launched in 2003 and became one of the most popular online music stores in the world, generating billions of U.S. dollars in revenue per quarter.
In 2007, the release of the iPhone and the introduction of the first touch screen interface marked a revolution in the globalsmartphone market. Since then, the iPhone has undergone many new product releases and has remained one of the most significant players, shipping dozens of millions every quarter. Currently in its 13th generation, the iPhone 11 line and the iPhone SE are the newest additions to the family. The iPhone is Apple’s most successful product, contributing to half or more than half of the company’s total revenue.
iPad and the Apple Watch
In January 2010, the iPad was unveiled, marking yet another milestone in the industry. The device went on to sell more than three million units in the first three months, thus setting a new benchmark in the industry. With the launch of its Apple Watch in early 2015, Apple entered the growing wearables market, competing with companies such as Samsung, Pebble and Fitbit. The iPad and the Apple Watch are now both the most popular products in their perspective market – the iPad has shares of around 30 percent in the tablet market, the Apple watch a dominating 50 percent.
Apple’s soaring market cap
Apple’s market cap topped the one trillion U.S. dollars mark on 2. August 2018, becoming the first public company worldwide to reach that milestone. Just two years afterwards, on 19. August 2020, the company’s market cap surpassed two trillion U.S. dollars. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 has given the tech stocks a strong push, as tech companies provide the means for life to go remote and virtual in a time of social distancing; as a result, market caps of other tech giants such as Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet have also rocketed.