The odds that Apple will be mentioned as the most innovative company are very high due to its reputation for leading edge products. It is the world's third largest mobile phone maker just after Samsung and Nokia. Apple has had a reputation since its founders who are college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak brought it into existence. It was established in 1976 and incorporated in 1977 (Reuters Edition U.S., 2012). It had the name Apple Computers Inc. For thirty years until it was renamed in 2007 since the traditional focus of production of computers shifted to the production of consumer electronics.
Apple memorably invented the Mackintosh in 1984 and since then it has gone on to build a hard core brand name due to the fact that its customers who liked the good designs of their products (Reuters edition U.S., 2012). Apple Inc. is a company that is engaged in designing, manufacturing and marketing mobile communication and media devices that include personal computers and portable digital music players. It also sells a wide range of related software, peripherals, services and third party digital content and applications. The software and services include iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, the IOS operating system and accessory services and support offerings. The company sells and delivers applications and digital contents through iTunes store, App store, and iBookstore. The introduction of a store for purchase of software application was a representation of Apple's new business model. Though touch screens had been invented and seen in the mobile industry before Apple was the first to achieve the first mass market adoption of this user interface that included specific preprogrammed touch gestures. The logo of the company is an Apple with a bite so that it would not be recognized just as another fruit.
Apple has become well-known for its advertisements that launch musicians into stardom due to their highly creative graphics and catchy tunes. Apple products are sold worldwide from their retail stores, online stores, direct sales force not forgetting third- party cellular network carriers, retailers, wholesalers and resellers. In addition to its main products Apple also sells a wide range of third party iPad, iPhone and iPod compatible products such as application software, printers, speakers, storage devices, headphones. The customers of the company range from consumers, small and mid-sized businesses, education enterprise and customers in government demanding the hardware and software products (Apple Inc.,2012).
The company ranges of products are also designed to address students' needs since they support mobile learning and a real time distribution of education related material online. The sales to the education market are made through direct sales force, a selected range of third party resellers and other online and retail stores. The company's operations are in five segments; America segment includes North and South America. The Europe segment includes European countries as well as Africa and the Middle East, Japan, Asia-pacific including Australia and Asia not forgetting retail that operate worldwide in Apple owned retail shops (Apple Inc., 2012).
In the traditional computing market Apple stands out as a leading innovator and strengthening its range of high quality products. Its reputation as a company was cemented by the launch of the iPhone that created its global publicity. It demonstrated the ability of Apple to break through existing paradigms since it is sold through specific mobile operators and is associated with a specific contract and hence sold at a specific high end price. This has really brought about a customer pool otherwise known as brand community for Apple. Apple element on approach to innovation is the interplay between service and product. First it was music and now it is movies, these are made possible via its iTunes service. Apple has brought a revolution in the operation of the music industry and has expanded its music videos, audio-books and movies.
Challenges Apple Inc. is facing
Apple has been a popular company for years among consumers and investors. The customers have been talking about the cool products that Apple produces that are vast in technology. Investors have been chasing after the stock that Apple has, creating momentum that is sufficient to propel the stocks to new heights. In the recent times the Apples momentum has appeared to be fading away as less enthusiasm is shown by both investors and customers. This is because of various challenges that Apple has been facing including competition. So far Apples barrier to competitors and new innovations has been formidable and many companies such as Samsung and Nokia have seriously come up to compete against their products (Mourdoukoutas, 2011) In recent times two of Apples blockbuster products the iPhone and iPad have faced great challenge. On the tablet market Apple contends with an online seller Amazon.com who has in the recent times released a ne version of Kindle reader that is expected to be a great challenge to Apple's iPad. On the iPhone part Apple faces a great challenge from Google and Android phones that are now in market circulation. Android phones have now increased their command in market as compared to the market penetration of iPhone.
Apple enjoys strong brand name recognition among its customers. This is a challenge since it makes the demand for products it offers inelastic. The sales that it makes are sensitive to impending down turn particularly in Europe.
The features of iPhone 4S which is Apples radical innovation appears to be running out of steam since it is the one replicated for iPhone 5. This posse the challenges of technology change and how it affects Apple Inc. The new phone in the market just a marginal rather than a radical improvement when a comparison is made with other ones that were there before in terms of its physical attributes and technological capabilities (Mourdoukoutas, P. 2011)
Apple has consistently won first place as an admired company though it has experienced several ethical issues in the recent years this include product quality. Since new products are introduced quite fast and successively, there can be mistakes made that may be difficult to detect before introduction of the product to the market. For instance the iPhone 4s was marred with complains from the customers on reception problems. These problems were caused by antennae interferences when the phone was held in a particular way.
Another ethical issue is privacy due to the fact that some features on the cell phones have a way of collecting data on the location of the phone. This was viewed as an infringement on the privacy of the user by consumers and government officials. Though apple made an announcement that this feature could be disabled, some phones still continued to collect information.
Though steps are being taken for Apple to become a greener company to ensure a reduced environmental impact at its facilities, Apple managers have admitted that most of emissions come from their products are not green. Since Apples success lies on the constantly development and launching of new products the environmental impact of its products is a serious issue.
The Apple brand, the quality of marketing strategies, its innovative capabilities and the continued success it has had in building of strategic partners are the factors that will determine the company's future in music, mobile phone and other of its products. Apples actions and commitments should be thoroughly integrated and well coordinated so that the company can overcome its core competitors, build up its strength on competitive advantage and maximize value. As a manager this can be achieved through cautiously engaging the low end market that has potential of tarnishing the name of Apple as a company. They should also ensure they carefully manage the brand exposure. The management should also invest continuously in research and development to…