What Makes Apple So Profitable and Unique?

Apple Logo
Apple Logo. ©Apple

Apple is one of the most successful companies in history. Even during periods in which the company struggled, it was known for being innovative. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Apple began its rise to dominance in a range of technology areas, and established itself as the trend setter in mobile devices.

What is it that makes Apple so desirable and so special? How does the company keep up its formidable status even decades after its first introduction of its first desktop computers, and what is it about the company that inspires such excitement and loyalty among its customers? Here is an analysis of some aspects that set Apple apart from their competition.

The Steve Jobs Brand

Steve Jobs
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Almost inseparable from the image of Apple the company is its founder Steve Jobs. Jobs became synonymous with the brand, and as famous as the brand itself. He expanded the company into new areas, including the music industry, and ultimately helped defined the modern mobile category. He had a knack for divining what people would want before they knew they wanted it.

Not only was Jobs the main force behind new products in the market, but he also took an aggressive lead in marketing those products. When he returned to the role of CEO of Apple in 1997, he launched plans to expand into the mobile technology market, and to reimagine the retail experience for shoppers.

After Steve Jobs's death in 2011 from pancreatic cancer, Tim Cook took over the CEO position at Apple. Some industry experts believed the company would suffer with the loss of Jobs, despite a full year of planned products put in place prior to Jobs's death. Customers and competitors alike mourned his loss, but the company continued its success.

Diverse Range of Products

Interior of the flagship Apple Store, 'The Cube', on 5th Avenue.
Jon Hicks / Getty Images

Apple has released a number of diverse and stylish-looking products since the late 1970s. The company that started from humble beginnings in a garage grew steadily, introducing the Apple II series of personal computers, the Macintosh, and then the much sought-after iPod, iPhoneiPad, and Apple Watch.

New releases of products, and even updates to its operating systems, inspire excitement among customers, developers, and the industry. Though the showmanship aspect of Apple announcements has waned slightly with the passing of Jobs, interest in what Apple will revolutionize next continues to energize the company's events.

Dynamic Business Plan

Steve Jobs doing presentation
 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One major reason for Apple’s success is its dynamic, constantly changing business plan. Jobs intently studied the market and tried to ascertain the pulse of the audience. Apple originally started as just another computer company. But Jobs always knew that it was meant for much bigger things.

Apple had to expand its offerings if it was to grow. The team, therefore, changed its business plan to introduce a greater variety of products. Starting with the release of Final Cut Pro, the company expanded beyond desktop computers to experiment with MP3 players, mobile phones, tablet computers, watches, digital assistants, and more.

Jobs also changed the name of the company from Apple Computer Inc. to Apple Inc., to reflect this broadened vision of what the company was all about.

Branded Retail Store and Experience

Apple Store - Palo Alto
Apple, Inc

Apple felt that traditional retail outlets were not providing the experience with its products that Apple knew would drive sales and inspire customer loyalty, and decided to open its own retail store. The launch of their brick-and-mortar stores proved to be a huge turning point for Apple. 

As of 2015, Apple boasted more than 460 retail stores worldwide. This move gave the company the push to surge in the mobile market.

Partnerships

Google tablet
 Image © Google

Steve Jobs arranged an unexpected but important early move for Apple. In 1997, he announced a partnership with rival Microsoft and Bill Gates, securing a $150,000,000 investment in Apple. With the deal, Microsoft would support Microsoft Office on Macs. "We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose," stated Jobs. This rescued the company’s flagging reputation in the early and mid 1990s, stabilizing it, and helping it back on its feet. 

Later, Jobs partnered to manufacture mobile parts for rival companies such as Samsung. This further enhanced the company’s profits and reputation as a supplier of mobile components.

Opening up Job Opportunities

Apple Fans Await iPhone 7
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Entering markets in Asia and Africa, Apple opened up new job opportunities for iPhone app developers in those continents as well. The company hired employees from diverse fields, such as musicians, artists, historians, and so on, infusing its culture with a different, unique perspectives. It is estimated that Apple has created as many as two million jobs through suppliers and the App Store in the U.S. alone.