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Apple, Technology and Competitive Advantage

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Apple Corp., which was set up in 1976, is one company that continuously strives to be the leader in the technology and computer world. Since its inception as a company, they have always tried to stand out of the many competitors in the technology industry (Jurevicius, 2018). As technology continues to become the major driving force in the current world of business, there is no denying the fact that; a company cannot survive without making strides to strengthen their technological know-how. From delivering services, producing goods and manufacturing items all make use of technology in today’s world to create valued and quality products and services. As Porter & Miller (2018) indicated, “the information revolution is sweeping through our economy. No company can escape its effects. Dramatic reductions in the cost of obtaining, processing, and transmitting information are changing the way we do business”.    

The technology world is divided into the software and hardware departments, where the software departments provide the basic tools needed for the hardware to work. Apple is mostly known for its hardware components of technology: Apple is generally thought of as a hardware company, whose computers are developed to set them apart from the other computer hardware companies, however, ideologically speaking, it’s an operating system and user interface company first, hardware company second — and user interfaces are a form of content (Bajarin, 2017).  Meaning that, Apple creates their software and then manufactures the hardware component to display the software data.

Apple Corp., as initially indicated, has set themselves apart in regards to the services they provide to the general public, using different techniques and approaches to remain very competitive in the technology industry. The Company is committed to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software and services. The Company’s business strategy leverages its unique ability to design and develop its own operating systems, hardware, application software and services to provide its customers’ products and solutions with innovative design, superior ease-of-use and seamless integration (Jurevicius, 2018).

In the subsequent pages, how Apple has been able to use their technology to achieve some level of competitive advantage over its competitors will be explored. This will help in providing more insight into what is means to be differentiated even in the mist of saturation, especially with the fact that technology has become the driving force propelling almost every other industry in the global business.


Apple over the years has developed many products from software, hardware, music and entertainment, and so on. Some selected few of their products will be discussed in this piece. The Company’s products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, a portfolio of consumer and professional software applications, iOS, MacOS, WatchOS and TvOS™ operating systems, iCloud, Apple Pay and a variety of accessory, service and support offerings. The Company sells and delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, TV App Store, iBooks Store™ and Apple Music (Okot, 2016).

Figure 1. Apple’s product ecosystem

[pic 1]

Source: Strategic Management Insight

        The above products are just a selected few of the products that Apple over the years have developed and marketed to the population. The very name of the products themselves differentiates them from other products in the industry.

iMac: Three years after his return to Apple in 1998, Jobs urged the world to "think different". But no one anticipated the iMac, the computer that kick started Apple's fortunes and propelled the company to where it is today (Halliday, 2011).

iPod: Unveiled some years ago, the iPod is the one device that transformed Apple from a computer company into a mass-market electronics giant – and would later spark a revolution in digital music. Though many who bought it had to hack their computers to store music on it, the first-generation iPod was a stylish MP3 player boasting a 10-hour battery life and space for 1,000 songs. "Listening to music will never be the same again," said Jobs at its launch in October 2001 (Halliday, 2011).

iPod Nano: Steve Jobs discontinued the iPod mini at the height of its popularity in September 2005. His indefatigable drive for design and efficiency saw it replaced with the much smaller nano. Apple reinvented the nano in September 2010 with its sixth iteration. At 21.1g the new nano was 15g lighter than its predecessor and half the height.

iPhone: Less than half a decade after the iPod, Apple was already the biggest name in digital music. After months of rumor and anticipation, Jobs, in January 2007, unveiled what would quickly become Apple's killer product. The phone was a hit with techies and non-techies alike.

iTunes: Until Jobs unveiled iTunes in January 2001; no one had been able to convince music label executives that people might pay for songs online. Announced at the back end of a 90-minute keynote to launch the new Macintosh, iTunes was an unexciting "all-in-one digital music program" that brought together MP3 playback, Internet radio and CD writing (Halliday, 2011). It was the beginning of Apple's cloud revolution.

iPad: Apple's so-called "Jesus tablet" was everything that everyone didn't need on its launch in January 2010. Less than a year later, Apple had invented a new market and intentionally spawned hundreds of poor-man copycats. Dubbed "the oversized iPhones with a 9.7in screen, Apple's lean-back device would be the savior of the media industry (The Guardian, 2018). This was another product that was developed to enhance the idea of mobile computers, in that; it could function as both computer as well as a phone device, which could make calls.


        There are many factors that make a company or product have a competitive advantage over its competitors. From the product, pricing, promotion, advertisement, positioning, brand, and so on, a business if determined can develop a strong hold in the industry in which the business is operating. Every company has its own strengths and weaknesses, threats as well as opportunities, hence in the subsequent illustrations will try to establish why Apple, with the use of informational technology, become one of the most attractive companies in the world.



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