What is Apple?
Apple, based in Cupertino, CA, is one of the most valuable companies in the world. It produces popular digital gadgets, including Macs, iPods, iPhones, and iPads.
The company was founded in 1976 by two young hackers, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Its second product, the Apple II, was the first personal computer to achieve mass-market success. The Macintosh, released in 1984, introduced the modern graphical user interface to the mainstream.
Apple began to struggle after its board ousted Steve Jobs from the company in 1985. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was close to bankruptcy. Then Jobs led a spectacular recovery, introducing the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. The result: Apple earned almost $40 billion in profits in its 2014 fiscal year.
Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011. Since then, the company has been led by Tim Cook, Jobs’s longtime deputy.
Apple’s success is due in large part to its obsessive focus on the user experience. Apple is a designer-centric company that likes to build all parts of a product — hardware, software, and online services — itself. That approach has allowed Apple to build some of the most elegant and user-friendly products ever created.