A brief account of the products that made Apple's fortune mainly thanks to the genius of the late Steve Jobs. From the first Macintosh to the iPad
Every company lives, inevitably in the course of its activity, ups and downs, as well as stories of successful products and failures. Everything, however, contributes to making the company what it is today if, of course, it is still in business. A great textbook example is Apple.
Apple, under the leadership of its co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs,
has risked bankruptcy several times over the years but has also managed to recover thanks to some brilliant insights translated into products that have managed to change-if not actually create-new markets, changing, at the same time, our lives. Of course, there have been some total "flops", but Apple - even if it would be better to say Steve Jobs - has created a multitude of revolutionary products anticipating the needs of users and turning Cupertino into one of the most important and profitable companies the world has ever known. Thanks, above all, to these five products.
The Original Mac (1984)
The Cupertino company - after the epic failure of the Apple III wanted by Steve Jobs - withdrew it from the market in 1984 to launch the "Mac". The Mac - or more precisely the Apple Macintosh - was unveiled to the world in a commercial during the Super Bowl XVIII in the same year and revolutionized the world of personal computers. The progenitor of the Macintosh family - Mac for its friends - came with a beige-colored case equipped with a CRT monitor, a floppy-disk drive, a mechanical keyboard, a mouse and the multicolored Apple logo (for the occasion). The cost was exorbitant by the standards of the time: $2,495.
The traditional MP3 player existed long before Apple introduced the iPod on November 10, 2001. It's Cupertino's vision for the product, and even more, the simple yet innovative way to interact with this new music device that represented Apple's true comeback at the beginning of the new millennium. Steve Jobs described it - during a presentation that has now gone down in history - as "something" to have "a thousand songs in your pocket". The original iPod was characterized by the "click-wheel" - a circular mechanical bezel that allowed to browse the music library using only the thumb - and, at the time, only the thumb of Mac users since the first generation was compatible, and synchronized via FireWire, only with Macintosh computers. It came with 5 GB or 10 GB of storage memory and cost $399 or $499, respectively. The iPod over time has grown, changed, and spawned a whole series of "godchildren" such as the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod mini and iPod Touch still, almost, all on the market.
Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone model from the stage of MacWorld in January 2007 and began the real revolution in the portable phone industry. The era of the smartphone began. Not only did the iPhone dictate new standards of design, functionality and ease of use for these innovative phones, but Apple managed to sell around 6.1 million units in the first year after launch, so the applephone paved the way for subsequent generations, not only "made in Cupertino". Although the first models were only equipped with 4 GB or 8 GB of built-in memory at a price that was certainly not cheap - 499 and 599 dollars respectively - they still became accessible to many users thanks to funding and monthly subscriptions offered by telephone providers around the world.
After Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of his first projects involved the development of the iMac. Also known as the iMac G3, the iMac was a huge success and Apple wasted no time in rushing it out in 13 fashionable colors, integrating stereo speakers, a dual headphone jack, earning it a reputation as a leader in the all-in-one computer industry. Not only was the iMac G3 one of the first creations of Jonathan "Jony" Ive - currently Apple's Chief Design Officer - but it also featured a special "see-through" design that allowed a "peek" at the internal components. The iMac G3, by the way, is the precursor of the aluminum unibody iMac models that remain - even today - a staple in Apple's desktop offerings. Interestingly, the original iMac G3 remained on sale until May 1998 at a price of about $1,300.
Many of us may have seen nothing more than a giant iPhone, but Steve Jobs had a far more ambitious vision in mind when he unveiled the first iPad in April 2010. Not only did the iPad, then, effectively change and move the tablet market in an entirely new direction, but in light of a combined sale of nearly 13 million units in its first year, Apple's "tablet" ushered in - for the umpteenth time - a new era in mobile computing. While the first iPad was a stand-alone device, over time, it has become increasingly powerful, accessorized and functional, offering users a tool with which to easily and intuitively interact with their digital content, the web, books, work, and more. It has to be said that the tablet market has suffered a considerable setback in recent years, but Apple's iPad continues to maintain its dominant position, and probably for several more years.