For many people, thinking about technology conjures up one name: Apple. Although the company started out modest, it has grown into an absolute giant over the past two decades.
Today, Apple is the world’s largest technology company and continues to exceed global sales for devices, products and services every year.
There’s no doubt that Apple is a giant right now, but how long can the Cupertino-based company stay at the top?
What makes Apple a tech giant?
One of the biggest reasons why Apple continues to hold the title of largest technology company is because of the iPhone.
While many people swear by Apple’s Mac line of computers, these devices have always sold far less than their Windows competitors, and that fact still holds true today. The iPhone, on the other hand, is an absolute monster. Gadgets360 reports that of the top 10 best-selling phones of 2021, seven were iPhones.
Also when it comes to tablets, Apple has an incredibly strong hold on the market. PhoneArena reports that four of the top five tablets sold in the first quarter of 2022 were iPads. In fact, the iPad brand is so big that tons of people call every tablet, made by Apple or not, an “iPad.”
Hardware sales have been an incredibly profitable business for Apple, but software sales are arguably even more important. CNBC estimated that Apple brought in about $64 billion in 2020 from the App Store alone. So there is no doubt that Apple’s greatest strength is its continued dominance of the mobile device market.
How did Apple become so popular?
While Apple has a history of making cutting edge devices, it has also done a great job convincing people to go out and buy those products. Since the days of the iPod, Apple has made technology cool. Many people remember the iPod silhouette posters from the early 2000s, and Apple’s “1984” Macintosh commercial has become a cult classic.
While Apple’s ads have generated more than a few buzz, the company has always followed a quality over quantity when it comes to its products. If you look at the websites of most smartphone or PC manufacturers, you will see dozens of different product lines and devices from which to choose.
Having a large number of devices with long specification sheets can confuse buyers and make products feel generic. Now look at Apple. Although it is a huge company, it really only sells a few different products. So if you want to buy a new Apple device, you have three different iPhone models, three different iPads, and only a handful of Macs to choose from.
While Apple products are usually more expensive than the competition, they can be a good long-term investment. The company has been great at supporting their devices with software updates for years. And one of the things people love most about Apple products is that they hold their value much better than comparable Android or Windows devices.
The Apple ecosystem keeps people hooked
Most companies know that selling a new product is only the first step to long-term success. After that first sale, keeping customers within the brand becomes the main focus. And Apple has mastered the art of making a sale and retaining customers for years.
Many people refuse to buy anything other than an iPhone because of the ease of using iOS. While iOS may not have nearly the same customizability as Android, it makes up for it with simplicity and security.
Using that idea across different devices gave birth to the Apple ecosystem. Unlike the world of Android and Windows, where devices usually work on their own, Apple has designed its entire product line to work seamlessly together.
That means you can sync all your online passwords to iCloud Keychain or FaceTime and use iMessage to stay connected whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. And with features like AirDrop, you can seamlessly send photos and files to all your devices. All these little conveniences together make the Apple ecosystem incredibly powerful.
Is Apple starting to fall behind?
Even in Cupertino, life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. While Apple is still a behemoth when it comes to sales, there are dark clouds on the horizon for the tech giant.
For years, people have criticized Apple for playing it safe with the iPhone. While Apple practically invented the smartphone as we know it, improvements to new iPhones often feel like baby steps rather than giant leaps forward. On the other hand, companies like Samsung are pioneering new technology such as foldable devices, products that Apple simply doesn’t have a good answer for.
And the fact that Apple often refuses to listen to user feedback is forcing many people to walk away from the company. When Apple debuted its infamous butterfly keyboard for the MacBooks in 2015, many users immediately reported the issues and problems.
However, it took five long years for Apple to admit it had made a mistake and go back to a more traditional design for its MacBook keyboards. Likewise, Apple is still forcing iPhone users to use the Lightning port instead of USB-C.
Apple products are expensive and if you choose Apple, you sometimes pay more for less.
What can Apple do to stay on top?
When people see exciting new devices like foldable phones, or exclusive features and apps that are missing from Apple products, it can be hard to watch from the sidelines.
Staying relevant means staying abreast of trends and new technologies. To retain customers, Apple must deliver products that are not only powerful and easy to use, but also continue to innovate across its product line. The company has a huge amount of money to spend on research and product development, so there’s no excuse not to keep up with new technology.
It also means developers have more freedom to create apps and do business on their platforms. Apple has had several major disputes with developers over the App Store. This has resulted in incredibly popular apps like Fortnite simply not being available on iOS. That’s a huge loss for Apple users and consumers as a whole.
Just because Apple leads the tech world today doesn’t mean it always will. Even the biggest tech company makes mistakes, and Apple has come close to bankruptcy on more than one occasion. At the end of the day, staying at the top of any industry means providing consumers with the products they want and giving them a good reason to keep coming back.
Can Apple keep its crown?
Apple is still the largest technology company in the world, and that fact doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
There’s no doubt that Apple is competing fiercer and fiercer every year, but don’t underestimate its ability to create products that are incredibly powerful and easy to use.
Nothing lasts forever, but for now, Apple is just too hard to beat.