Just as depicted in the 1984 Super Bowl commercial, Apple has been consistently breaking the norm of personal technology industry by transforming what is already available in the market into “insanely great Apple products”. Apple’s success did not come from invention of new products. Apple was not the first to introduce digital music players, yet by improving existing products, Apple developed its own iPods. Apple did not invent computers, it simply bought an existing company that manufactures computers and then, through continuous iterative innovation and redesign, slowly “perfected” the product that made Apple one of the largest players in today’s personal computer market. By the time Apple entered the mobile phone industry in 2007, Nokia, Samsung and Sony had been dominating the market and enjoying their fair share of the profit. Only within a few years, iPhones had gained quite a bit of the market share in the mobile phone industry, with Nokia becoming the loser of all.
What drove Apple’s success? Looking at the stock performance, Apple’s share price stayed at less than $10 for little over 20 years. As of 2012, it reached $700. Can we conclude that the company was a failure during the 1980’s and 1990’s and started to become more and more successful afterwards? People often ask: “What did Apple do differently in these two different periods that had such a profound difference in its performance?” While it seems certain that some things changed drastically---iPod transformed into iPhone and iPad---colorful Macintosh computers now are metallic silver.
The key driving force for this company to be enjoying its current belated success is its core value which has been constant throughout the history of the company: commitment to product design and development. 20 years of the “ramp-up period” seems long for a person, but for a company looking for long term and sustainable success for generations, this time is crucial for incubation of ideas that eventually drives successful and marketable innovation.