Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has announced his retirement from Apple. This visionary led a brand that impacted our digital lives in a way few brands can exalt. Let’s recount some ways Apple, and Mr. Jobs, raised the bar.
Nick Shultz put it nicely, “Lots of ninnies can give customers products they want. Jobs gave people products they didn’t know they wanted, and then made those products indispensable to their lives.” Apple has changed our game many, many times. Let’s take a look.
- Music – Sure, the iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player when it hit the market in 2001, but it was the most impactful – the product family enjoys over 70% of the total MP3 player market share. And then there was the introduction of iTunes that brought forth the first legitimate digital music marketplace. Together, these revolutionized the music industry. In 2010, CDs accounted for less than half of total music sales, while downloads were up to about one-third.
- Smartphones – In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, revolutionizing smartphone technology with touchscreen capabilities and a satisfying mobile web experience, bolstering widespread adoption of smartphones. And a year after the iPhone came the App Store, which changed the way we think about software and democratized development opportunities.
- Tablets – In 2010, Apple pioneered the tablet craze, bridging the gap between laptop computing and smartphone access. As the industry scrambles to bring competition to the game, Apple enjoys over 70% tablet market share.
Apple is known for its design aesthetic, for its unique ability to create sleek, intuitive, user-friendly products. Adrian Shaughnessy said “He made computing sexy. In a world of Dells and Microsofts, Apple products were always designed for use by real people….Apple’s (and therefore Jobs’s) greatest contribution to design has been the elegance and simplicity of the tools they provide designers with. What I like best about Apple products…is the constant sense of improvement and refinement: a tireless search for simplicity and purity.”
Considered to be one of the best commercials ever, the “1984” Apple Olympics spot announced a new computer – but really a brand – that would change our expectations, the way we think about technology and, ultimately, the way we behave with technology. And almost 30 years later, this message still holds true of the brand. Strong brands are consistent, and Apple’s message is unwavering. Apple’s marketing continues to renew itself, entertain and delight users, but always reinforces the brand promise.
For a brand that has never had considerable market share in its initial category of personal computers, their innovation, design and branding capabilities paved the way in music, smartphones and now tablets. With COO Tim Cook stepping into Jobs’ job, Apple is set for a new era. But expect the brand to stay the course – product design is covered through 2015, Cook has been acting CEO since before Jobs’ sick leave and Steve is expected to still be involved with the brand he built. Best of luck Cook, and job well done Jobs.