Having transformed computing, music, phones, cameras, and now watches, what will the next products from the world’s most valuable company be? Center Director Jeffrey Cole examines Apple’s field of potential innovations.
When talking about Apple, you quickly run out of superlatives. Its performance and story require new words, not yet developed, to describe the company that sits atop the throne of the technological revolution.
Apple was founded in 1976 and is now the grandfather of all the other tech companies. But the journey has been rocky. One of the co-founders, Steve Wozniak, left the company after nine years in 1985 to pursue his own interests. The other co-founder, Steve Jobs, also left in 1985, after losing a board struggle to John Sculley, the Pepsi executive brought in to manage Apple.
At the time, neither founder took out a lot of money by today’s standards. Even with the phenomenal rise of the company, neither accumulated anywhere near the kind of wealth of other tech founders such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergei Brin, or Mark Zuckerberg.
Apple floundered until the company brought Jobs back in 1997. That led to one of the greatest waves of innovation ever and the most spectacular business success story in history. The newly re-designed iMac was followed by the iPod and iTunes (2003), the iPhone (2007), and the iPad (2010).
Jobs also re-imagined what a product launch could be. On stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco in his signature jeans and black turtle-neck sweater, Jobs would come near the end of the presentation and coyly add, “One more thing.” That’s when he introduced products that changed the world. Fans would re-arrange their schedules to watch the launches on television. A lucky few would do whatever it took to be there in person. It was like watching Picasso create a painting or Toscanini conduct an orchestra: a genius at his prime in his element.
It all worked beyond anything ever seen before. (more)