How Apple became the world's biggest company

Apple's growth in the last 14 years has been remarkable.
How Apple became the world's biggest company

It’s 14 years to the day since Apple opened its first store. It was a time before the iPad, the iPhone or even the iPod – a time when Apple was a cult computer company fighting against Microsoft’s dominance.

On 19 May 2001, four years after Steve Jobs returned to save the company he created from the brink of bankruptcy, Apple threw open the doors of its first store, marking the start of a journey that has made it the biggest company in the world.


Just a few months after the first Apple Store opened, the company launched one of its most iconic devices ever, iPod. mp3 players had been around for years, but iPod was designed to be much easier to use and offer more storage than its biggest competitors.

Within 18 months, Apple sold a million iPods. Six months after that it has sold 2.5 million. The advanced mp3 player was a growing success and people flocked to Apple Stores to get one.

Apple took advantage of this success, bringing out new versions of iPod regularly and eventually shrinking the technology into the iPod Nano. This meant Apple was constantly pushing forward the technology inside iPod, which eventually let Apple create its next big gadget.


After the success of iPod, Apple decided to take on the emerging smartphone market in June 2007. It merged iPod with its legendary iMac computer to create iPhone.

Like iPod, the main goal of iPhone was to make things simple, so it had a touchscreen for easy navigation, 12 handy apps and a straight forward web-browser. In just six months, Apple sold 3.7 million iPhones.

As with iPod, Apple made sure it kept iPhone up to date with the latest technology by launching a new version every year. That drive for the latest technology has led to more than 700 million iPhones being sold to date.


The next big product from Apple didn’t try to muscle in on an already established industry, instead the technology giant created the tablet computer category with the launch of iPad.

Again, simplicity was key to the handheld computer. Its big screen and slim design was meant to make it as easy as possible to get online and work on the move. And again, it was this very simplicity that led to success. Apple sold over 3 million iPads in the first three months after launch.

Since its launch in April 2010, Apple has sold around 250 million iPads. And while iPad sales are slowing, it’s still by far the most popular tablet on the market.

The Apple universe

While Apple has a lot to thank its three top handheld devices for, it’s important to note that iPod, iPhone and iPad were just catalysts to Apple’s enormous growth.

The ecosystem of other gadgets that surrounds Apple’s most popular tech and the company’s laptop and desktop computers have helped make it the most profitable and biggest company in the world.

The innovation and meticulous attention to detail that Steve Jobs brought to the company remains at the heart of Apple, and we can’t wait to see what comes out of the Apple design studio next.

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