Only a Bite of the Apple
Apple lovers are sometimes described as a cult who only desire an Apple device because of the stylish look and slim design. While Apple is not a cult, the fact that people love Apple products because of the look is not far from the truth. Thanks to the vision of Steve Jobs and genius of Steve Wozniak, Apple is not only coveted for its look, but many feel it is a superior product and is superior to anything else available on the market. To further understand why Apple is a superior product, it is necessary to look at the Apple’s creation, destruction, and the rebuilding of a multibillion dollar empire.
Throughout Steve Jobs early life, it was clear that Jobs was extremely talented. As described by his peers in school, Jobs was an intelligent boy who often played pranks on his fellow classmates. In 1972 Jobs graduated from high school and later that year attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, Jobs’ parents could not afford his tuition so he dropped out after six months. For the next eighteen months, however, he continued to audit classes and slept on his friend’s couches and floors, continuing to work at a computer company called Atari, Inc.
When people think of Apple Inc. they automatically think of Steve Jobs, the creator. Jobs had the vision of what Apple Inc. was and what it could be; he knew what people wanted even before they did. However, the inspiration and brilliant software came from Jobs friend and college classmate, Steve Wozniak, or more often called Woz.
Throughout his life, Woz had a passion and talent for creating technology. Woz met Jobs in college and they quickly became fast friends, sharing in their love of technology. In 1975, right after Jobs had dropped out of college, Woz completely designed what is now known as the Apple I and showed Jobs his prototype (Isaacson 21-27). Thoroughly impressed, Jobs came up with the idea to sell the Apple I so that homeowners could have their own personal computer. Skeptical at first, Woz soon succumbed to his friend and presented the idea to the Homebrew Computer Club, which was a local group in Palo Alto filled with electronic enthusiasts (Lashinsky). Among these enthusiasts was Paul Terrell, a man who has just opened a computer shop in Mountain View, California called the Byte Shop. Willing to buy their computers, Jobs sold his van and Wozniak sold his scientific calculator so they could buy the parts to make the computers to sell to Paul Terrell.
In 1976, Apple Inc. was officially founded in the Jobs family home garage. After Hewlett-Parkard said they would not fund Woz’s latest project, Woz quit his job at HP and started working full time doing research and designing for Apple while Jobs worked on getting them investors and buyers. For their next project, the Apple II, Jobs decided he wanted to go in another bigger direction. While Woz tried to figure out how to put color on the computer, Jobs had an idea for a sleek, plastic case that was completely different from anything currently on the market. Jobs went back to Atari and they led him to engineer Rod Holt. Holt designed the case for the Apple II and then successfully made history by designing a smaller and more efficient cooling system for the computer that was quiet. This computer was by far the most elegant piece of technology to be invented so far.
Jobs was a millionaire by the time he was twenty-one, but quite suddenly, at thirty, Apple was ripped away from him. Apple wasn’t doing well because of Jobs endless spending and desire to produce his LISA product put Apple in debt, with not enough money to fully fund other projects. The company’s board decided to strip Jobs of his title as CEO and replaced him with John Scully, a spokesperson for Pepsi-Cola. Despite their effort, Apple failed even more under John Scully’s management. The board at Apple decided Scully had been the wrong choice to replace Jobs and soon hired two other CEO’s who also failed (Geuss).
It wasn’t that Apple was now producing awful products; it was the horrible management that was taken into selling and managing the products. Somehow, Jobs convinced the world that it needed his products before the world even knew they could exist and that was not a talent that the three CEO’s had (Grossman 67). Wozniak also had the brilliance to pursue what he wished was in a computer and made it reality. One problem that Apple had was they allowed other businesses to manufacture devices that featured their Operating System, which was something Jobs would never have allowed (Geuss). One of the reasons for the iPhones success is because no one can replicate it; the only iPhone on the market is the iPhone. Except for a select few, most of the products Apple produced after the loss of Jobs were awful.
During the gap when Jobs was not at Apple, he was anything but inactive. From 1985 to 1996, Jobs founded a high-end computer company named NeXT. This was an important moment in his life because NeXT is what brought Apple back into Jobs’ hands. Apple bought NeXT in 1996 for its operating system (Isaacson 297-298). Unfortunately, the Apple Inc. that Jobs founded wasn’t the same as he had hoped it would be.
Jobs had managed to put himself back in the driver’s seat at Apple and started to take risks in order to put Apple back as number one. The first item he addressed was eliminate everything that was not selling and hired a new management team. Fortunately, thanks to brilliant products like the iMac and iPod, excellent campaigns, and the classic elegant designs, Apple caught the attention of the buyers market once again.
There are several reasons why Apple is labeled as number one in the technological world. The first reason would be quality. Unlike other brands, Apple is focused on giving its customers a high quality product at a decent price. Instead of plastic, Apple uses high quality gorilla glass for their screens and milled aluminum for the surrounding body of the product so it looks and feels nice. The second reason is software/viruses. In 2013, a detailed report from F-Secure was released stating that 97% of cell phone viruses are targeted at Android phones (Kelly). While the Android software is operated on an open model, Apple has a closed system that doesn’t allow other parties to sneak in and hijack your phone. The third reason, and definitely not the last, is the Apple Store. Something that Android users will never know is the beauty of knowing that a person can simply go into the Apple Store if they are having any problems with their iPhone and they will either fix it for free or give that person a brand new one. No paperwork needed.
Steve Jobs managed to create something that no one knew we needed, he made high end technology that was both elegant and simple. Unlike regular PC’s, Apple is made of the highest quality and Mac owners are unlikely to have a problem with viruses and malware. Macs support better battery life and unlike PC’s, actually have a resale value. Apple is one of a kind that will continue to grow without Steve Jobs because Jobs gave the company the vision and the ability to see what he saw (Lyons). On October 5, 2011, after battling pancreatic cancer for almost ten years, Steve Jobs died at fifty-six years old (Newman).
Despite its difficult creation, Apple brought elegance and simplicity to homeowners. Thanks to Steve Jobs and his vision for Apple, it has become the top computer company in the world. As said by Steve Jobs:
Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. The iMac is not just the color or translucence or the shape of the shell. The essence of the iMac is to be the finest possible consumer computer in which each element plays together. (qtd. in Brainyquote)
While most people call Apple a “cult”, even if it were, it is a gracious one. As of 2014, Apple Inc. market capitalization is worth over $700 billion dollars.