44 years ago today, Apple was founded by 3 people in a business partnership: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and lesser-known Ronald Wayne, the ladder of which sold his 10% share of the company 12 days after the company’s founding for $800– which would now be worth about $113 billion.
In 1984, the Macintosh said “hello.” It was the first personal computer to be sold without a programming language, in exchange for a graphical user interface and mouse. On January 22, 1984, Apple aired a $1.5 million Super Bowl XVIII advertisement, titled “1984.”
Jobs then left Apple in 1985 after failing to oust then-CEO John Sculley, which removed Jobs from all operational duties. He then went on to found another computer company, NeXT, in the same year.
Windows continued to gain market share during this period, while Apple’s stock was sinking and the company was losing millions. In 1997, Apple purchased NeXT, bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple. They were reportedly just 3 weeks from bankruptcy at the time Jobs returned.
Steve Jobs wanted to reduce Apple’s complicated Mac lineup with 1 consumer desktop and notebook, along with 1 business desktop and notebook. With the design help of Jony Ive, Apple went on to release the first product since Jobs returned as interim CEO, the iMac, which would end up coming in 13 “flavors.”
In 2000, Apple purchased MP3 player SoundJam MP, which would later be rebranded and re-released as iTunes on January 9, 2001. Apple opened it’s first store on May 19, 2001, at Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Virginia, selling Macs, Software, Accessories, along with other products. They also had Genius Bars, which featured phones to directly call Apple’s HQ, in case the geniuses couldn’t find the problem in-store.
On November 10, 2001, Apple would release the first iPod, with the slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket,” and was priced at $399. Later, in 2003, the iTunes Store was introduced, offering music downloads at a price of $0.99 per song.
In 2007, Steve Jobs announced during an event that the company would be renamed from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple Inc. During this same event, Apple unveiled the first Apple TV, and most notably, the first iPhone. It was the first product of its kind, with other “smartphones” featuring physical keyboards, styluses, and limited functionality. Apple sold over 250,000 iPhones during the first 30 hours of sales.
When the iPhone launched, it only came with pre-installed apps. However, in 2008, Apple launched the App Store, giving users the opportunity to download apps directly on their devices from an initial selection of 500 apps. Today, the App Store features millions of apps from thousands of developers around the world.
In 2010, Apple unveiled and released the first iPad, featuring a 9.7 inch touchscreen, 256mb of RAM, and up to 64gb of storage. The device started at $499, but many questioned the use of the device and considered it a larger iPhone. However, the iPad went on to become a popular device, selling a million devices in half the time it took Apple to sell the same amount of iPhones, and was ranked as one of Time’s 50 Best Inventions of 2010.
On January 17, 2011, Jobs announced that he would take a medical leave for an indefinite period of time to focus on his health. On August 24, 2011, Jobs resigned from his position at Apple, bringing in previous COO Tim Cook as CEO. Just a couple months later, on October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs died, marking the end of an era for Apple.
In 2014, Apple acquired Beats Electronics for $3 billion, which sold the popular Beats By Dre line of products and what would be the starting point of Apple Music, Beats Music. In 2016, 1 billion Apple devices were in use.
Apple also announced the Apple Watch in 2014, and it was released on April 24, 2015. The Apple Watch is now the best selling watch, outselling the entire Swiss watch industry combined. The Apple Watch Series 4, released in 2018, was the watch’s biggest redesign, featuring a new display, ECG, fall detection, and more.
In 2016, Apple announced and released the first generation of their true wireless earbuds, AirPods, for $159, featuring Siri support, and a special W1 chip which allows for seamless setup and connectivity, among other features. The W1 chip works with select Apple devices, but AirPods also feature regular Bluetooth connectivity for other devices. Originally mocked for their design, they eventually became a massively popular product and Apple’s most popular accessory.
In 2017, Apple would announce HomePod, its smart speaker aimed to primarily compete with Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices, but failed to meet its original launch timeframe. That same year, Apple started work to acquire music recognition app Shazam, which was estimated to cost about $400 million. The deal closed in September 2018.
In 2018, Apple held an event to announce 4 new services: Apple News+, Apple TV+, Apple Card, and Apple Arcade. Apple News+ costs at $9.99/month, while both TV+ and Arcade cost $4.99/month each. Apple Card was marketed as a no-fee credit card, featuring Apple Pay support and notably a titanium physical card.
All of the new paid services included free Family Sharing with support for up to 6 family members, TV+ and Arcade has no ads or additional purchases. Apple’s services business is now its fastest-growing, and iOS is now the world’s biggest platform for games.
Apple is now one of the world’s most valuable companies, hires over 135,000 employees, and sells some of the world’s most well-known, innovative, and best-selling products. Think different.