Apple became the first company in the world to be worth more than $3trillion (£221billion) this week – but how did the company manage it?
The impressive feat was managed when the total worth of all Apple shares rose above the magic $3trillion mark on Monday – briefly.
The value of Apple dropped back below that line by the end of the day, but not before the company had made history.
Apple, formally Apple Inc., was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Roland Wayne.
At the time the company was a far cry from its current form, and its first product was the Apple 1 – hand built by Wozniak.
The Apple 1 was a computer that only needed a keyboard and screen for users to make work, and it was Jobs’s idea that the trio make and sell 50 of them.
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Jobs sold his car to finance the project, travelling around by bike, and Wozniak sold an expensive electronic calculator.
There are now very few Apple 1s left, partly because Wozniak, as the only person in the world who really knew how to service them, had to answer all customer support questions himself.
To make his life easier, when the Apple 2 came out in 1977 the firm offered discounts if people returned the older models – many of which were then destroyed.
Wayne also left Apple in 1977, and the company carried on growing, eventually floating on the stock market in December 1980.
In 1984 Apple brought out the product that would start to make its name – the Macintosh.
This was the first consumer desktop computer with a screen and mouse, and was designed to be simple to use and low-cost.
The 1990s saw Apple bring out products including the all-in-one computer, the iMac, made with distinctive coloured plastics – but the company was still a far cry from its current status.
Most crucially, Apple lacked the one element that later made it truly famous – it wasn’t cool.
But in 2001 Apple brought out a game-changer – the iPod portable music player.
Not only did the iPod look good and work well, it could hold 1,000 songs – unheard of at the time.
Apple built on that success with the iPhone smartphone in 2007 and the iPad tablet computer in 2010. Both were design classics and status symbols – with price tags to match.
Apple stock hit $1trillion in 2018, but then the pandemic hit.
But even Coronavirus lockdowns turned out to work to Apple’s advantage, as people increasingly worked and communicated with others from home – on Apple products.
Apple Inc./AFP via Getty Images)
Apple was valued at $2trillion in August 2020, as the value of big tech companies soared.
That success continued until earlier this week, when it became worth $3trillion – more than the worth of Boeing, Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonald’s and Netflix combined.
When Apple stock hit that mark, chief executive Tim Cook sent a humble email to staff saying the feat was “not the most important measure of our success”.
Instead, he said the “financial returns are simply the result of Apple’s innovation, putting our products and customers first, and always staying true to our values”.
Some say Apple has lost some of the mojo it enjoyed in the 2000-2010 period when it seemed every new product came from unique, cutting-edge ideas.
But certainly if its customers are anything to go by, Apple is a bigger success than ever.
This year Apple is rumoured to be bringing out even more products, including a small Mac Pro computer and an iPad Pro that allows wireless charging.