Apple Company and Computing Industry

Is Apple an Industry leader?

Apple is an industry leader in the world of computing. The company’s products include Macintosh, iPods, iPhones, and iPads. The end of market trading of the 26th of May 2010 left Microsoft trailing behind while Apple was leading with approximately $3 Billion more in combined share values. The huge boost for Apple was from the sales of the iPad that was in great volumes. Apple has been releasing new products year in year out, which has been a groundbreaking invention.

They have taken dominance in the mp3 and iPhones markets, and if the trend continues, they will be one of the top businesses in the whole universe that is doing great. ITunes and Ipads application developments too are other streams of revenues together with the sale of their music, which is greatly increasing. As the cell phone market sees a drift with increment in demand for smartphones, Apple has then positioned its iPhone as one of the fastest and best ever-growing and innovative products in the industry.

Apple’s progressive innovation and yearly releases of new versions of existing products have led to its top-line growth. The innovations include application software, printers, storage devices, and many others. It is evident that Job pushed design and simplicity to levels like never before, and this made Apple an industry leader.

The difference between Apple’s products and its competitors

Apple is very smart in releasing demos and prototypes. Apple, for instance, released Ipad when it was a complete product, unlike Microsoft’s release of Windows 8. Secondly, Apple’s products are very well integrated. The software and the hardware are maintained and controlled by the same company, unlike its competitors who have the hardware and software done by different companies. It is thus very easy to handle a fault by Apple.

Apple knows how to integrate technology with media. This has called for by the need to deliver digital content, thus becoming a media company in the process. iTunes for newspapers, for instance, display creative thinking about a new media infrastructure while its competitors are not quite sure about venturing into the same. In addition, Apple’s products seem to follow a very simple rule that puts people before everything else, first people and their needs, and then create a technology, crossing point, and service to make it come about.

To expound on the same, Ipad motivation came from people by how and where they wanted to experience content. Apple has been excellent in the integration of functionality, form, and design from the user’s perspective that has made it have a cutting edge over the other companies. Other companies create technologies driven by the specificity of its functions, an example being a smartphone that also plays different video formats.

Apple, too believes that design is neither aesthetic nor usability but both. It believes that design is how a product feels like in its usage and that the difference between aesthetics and usability is the same. The ‘what’ of the iPod and the multi-touch of the iPad are not about achieving a specific function of zooming but about the experience of going about it. Many competitors are making efficient interfaces, unlike Apple, which is making them enjoyable.

Apple’s market structure

Marketing refers to the right mix of the four P’s, which are price, place, product, and promotion. Apple’s iPods, for example, are said to be enjoying a market share of eight percent. Apple has been innovative as a strategy to deliver new products that appeal to the many new entrants of customers.

Some people claim that Apple has built a vertical monopoly based on the great success of the iTunes music store platform, iPods, ITouch. Apple has used the FairPlay digital rights management that has restrictions including; users making a maximum of seven CD copies of any particular playlist containing songs in the mp4 file format purchased from the iTunes Store. With DRM, users accessing their purchased songs in the mp4 file format on a maximum of five computers and songs in the mp4 file format only being played on a computer with iTunes or an iPod; other MP3 devices do not support FairPlay encoded tracks.

In 2009, Apple got into agreement with big music labels to offer music free of the digital rights management protection. FairPlay does not affect the ability of the file itself to be copied. It only manages the decryption of the audio content. The docking stations and some other Apple products reinforced the market position. A vertical monopoly occurs when a single company controls production, distribution and the sale of the products and Apple’s iPod brings about this aspect. Before the release iPod in 2001, Apple was bankrupt but after the release, it commanded a market share by selling over 100 million units of iPod making a huge profit. Apple incorporated iPod with iTunes and iTunes store in a brilliant manner attracting a large number of customers.

Apple also fit into the oligopoly market structure. Oligopoly means a market subjugated by a few number of sellers each with some control over the market characterized by huge investments in research and development. Apple’s iPhone brought about this structure because it was competing with large phone companies including Nokia. Despite this very stiff competition, after its release, just a year later, it became the third largest mobile handset supplier in the world.

Apple has also branded its products strongly. Its brands happen to be one of the most expensive brands around the globe. The strong focus on brands and new generations of digital media players with new features, extra functionalities and strong design with improved portability is what Apple believes in. Positioning too has been a key aspect in Apple. Apple has a unique clique of customers who are wealthy with a good lifestyle.

If Apple was cheap and sold to anybody then the trendy customers would abandon it and that would harm the brand more despite making more sales. In addition, Apple happens to have snob products that when its products are cheap, the sales figures drop down. There are no substitute products to Apple’s line of products. This justifies the high prices of Apple’s products and that is why it is termed as the elegant company for the minority.

Factors that have contributed to the success of Apple

Industry firms have to look into the factors that encompass competencies, market achievements, resources and competitive capabilities. Apple put many of its funds in research and development by employing many experienced personnel to handle this critical department. This research has made Apple popular for its innovative product lines. It has launched different innovations from iPods, iTunes, iPhones and many more. Apple has used advertisement and differentiation to imitate a set up of marketing its brands to creative persons. This includes campaigns like “Think Different” of the 1990s. Nowadays their advertisements focus around special events including expos.

Apple has a well-recognized and cherished brand name as a success factor. It is the number one brand name in the United States in the world of digital technology. Its retail and distribution network has positioned Apple an edge higher than its competitors. This has helped it to retail locally and abroad through its retail stores; direct sales force, online stores, as well as throughout value added resellers and wholesalers.

Apple deals with manufacture, marketing and design of personal computers and related services that gives it a significantly large breadth of its product line. It is also involved in designing of portable digital music players with related services that include online distribution of music. It uses customer-based satisfaction as a factor to have it do better than any other company does. It produces products that are about the user’s experience iPod being a good example with its motto: 1000 songs in your pocket.

What Apple should do to succeed in the 21st century

Apple has managed to penetrate the market in a superb way in the recent past. In its endeavor to surpass all the threats in the 21st century, Apple need to show care for the environment by use of clean energy sources in manufacturing to reduce pollution. It should boost its care about its stakeholders, from customers to its employees and members of the community at large. This includes responding to its customers with new products that solve their day-to-day problems.

It should look into addressing the iPhone’s single network operability to allow its usage across different networks without dropping calls. It should also address the battery life issue together with the lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard especially for among high-volume email users. It should maintain focus on core business and concentrate on leveraging its core competences. Apple should look into its product’s ability to have more speed and expansion capabilities compared to its competitors at a pocket friendly price.

It can also secure its success in the 21st century by diversifying its products. Diversification of Apple’s products will enable it to expand its market share. In turn, this will yield an increase in sales volume as well as maximize its profits. Generally, supplying customer with what they need is a sure way for Apple to maintain its success in the century.

A brief update on operations at Apple since the HBS case was published

Apple released iOS 4.2.1 to the public on November 22, 2011 as the operating system. As of June 2011, there were about 90,000 iPad specific applications on the App Store. The iPad that was released in 2010, was first jail broken (allowing applications and programs that are not authorized by Apple to run on the device) in May 2011 with the Spirit jailbreak for iOS version 3.1.2. Apple developed another jailbreak version 4.3.3 with a web-based tool jailbreakMe 3.0, which it released in July 2011.

Early this year, the US Federal Aviation Administration approved the iPad for the in-cockpit use to reduce on the paper consumption in a number of airlines. This has replaced the pilot’s manual paper that weighs around 0.64kg compared to 11kg for the printed flight manuals in Alaska airlines.

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