Apple is a multinational corporation that designs and manufactures electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, music players, desktop, and laptops. It provides different operating systems, brand new image designs, and manufactures diverse products to maintain a sustainable advantage. In addition, its core product lines include the iPod, iPhone,??iPad, and iMac. However, by studying Apple further, there are still some improvements in corporate-level strategy, technology development, and the relationship with its third party original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners that are necessary to guarantee the future success.
Although the Great Recession brought an ongoing market global economic decline and financial liquidity crisis starting in December 2007 (The Recession, February 2012), Apple still had its sales revenue increased from $24,006 to $36,537 million (See Table I). After this global recession ended in June 2009, its net income in 2010 rapidly increased from $5,704 to $14,013 million, which was almost tripled from the previous year. This was notably the time when Apple released the iPhone and Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in 2007 'prompting enormous lines outside of Apple stores as wand 2010. The iPhone was released on June 29, 2007, the features of iPhone combined both pocket computer and music players, 1.4 million units were sold by September 30 of that year. Each 8GB iPhone cost $599, with $499 for the 4GB version. After two months of release, the price was slashed down $200. When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad, on January 27, 2010, iPad replaced 'moribund tablet' and became Apple's fastest-selling product ever. At the time, no tablet or laptop computer could beat the iPad. By June of 2012, Apple had sold 84 million iPads (Lists, 2013). Two years after Steve Jobs passed away, Apple's net income decreased 11.25% from 2012 to 2013 (Table I). Despite the company's 9.20% sales revenue increased in 2012, the cost of sales increased 21.36% as well, and so the gross profit went down 6.35%. The balance sheet (Table II) of each year shows that Apple is in a good standing because its total assets are in excess of its liability, which means the company owns more than it owes. Also based on Apple's Return on Asset, Quick Ratio, Current Ratio, and Inventory Turnover in Table III, which determined Apple is a company that investors could safely invest their money in.
Demographic ' Based on research, there are 28.7% Apple iPhone users worldwide where around 43% of them from age 18 ' 34 (Smartphone, January 2012). This entire statistics has provided Apple an opportunity to place more effort on its Asian market, especially China and India and should focuses on the age range between 18 and 34.
Sociocultural ' Apple focus on three aspects for its sociocultural environment: workers, green society, and ethics. Apple provides educational resources for workers throughout their supply chain. They train workers based on the local labor laws, rights as workers, and Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct. 'Since 2007, more than 2.3 million workers and managers in our supply chain have received this training, carrying this knowledge with them in their current role or any future job' (Supplier Responsibility, 2013). Apple managing their carbon footprint, identifying high-risk facilities, and conducting focused audits to reduce their environmental impact. Also, ending excessive work hours, stopping underage and bonded labor, and sourcing conflict-free mineral are giving Apple good ethic performances due to its labor and suppliers.
Political-Legal ' Apple offers Licensed Application End User License Agreement, rights on consumer and labor law, and protects its intellectual property rights by enforcing piracy prevention. Research shows the threat from software piracy is severe. 'Software piracy (the illegal copying of software programs) is a worldwide problem ' more than $11 billion is lost to piracy every year. Because software is valuable, and it is easy to create an exact copy of a program from a single computer, software piracy is widespread' (Piracy Policy, 2013).
Technological ' New product designs is always a challenge to Apple Industry. On July 18, 2013, Apple revealed its technology behind their new fingerprint sensor from its acquired company ' AuthenTec. 'Apple's interest in fingerprint scanners for the iPhone and Mac first surfaced in a 2009 patent application. Apple's project was then advanced in 2012 illustrating that a fingerprint scanner could be combined with face or eye recognition (or Retina recognition) to enhance security needs' (Patently Apple, 2013). Also, Apple's iOS is the most valuable platform for the U.S. e-commerce industry. Due to the??latest IBM 2013 Black Friday online sales report, Apple iOS users spent $127.92 per order, its traffic reached 28.2 percent of all online traffic, and its sales reached 18.1 percent of all online sales (IBM, 2013).
Economic ' Despite China is a developing country that Apple should concentrate its business on, recently, China's GDP has decreased from 10.4% in 2010 to 7.8% in 2012 (GDP Growth, 2013). This 2.6% difference in GDP indicates the economy for China is in a downturn, fewer goods and services are being sold, business profits decline, government tax collections fall, and unemployment rate rises. The economic depression in China also influences Apple's growth rate.
Global ' Chinese market is one of Apple's significant sources in global environment. Expand Chinese citizens' disposable income will provide a larger customer base for Apple to tap into. Apple engages in third-party verification and quality assurance for their carbon emissions reporting.
In the recent decade, Apple Industry has dominated the entire electronics device market and become the leader in designing and manufacturing electronic devices in the U.S. Its unique products ' such as the iPhones, iPads and MacBook Pros make the company even more different from others companies. However, the innovative products and competitive pressure from rival companies, customers, and vendors are limiting Apple's growth.
The Bargaining Power of Buyers - The power for end-users and individuals is relatively weak. Even though customers pursue a lower price with higher quality, a high price with valuable quality and fresh operating systems is still acceptable. Also, the contracts among distributors and customers give customers a high switching cost. However, if the customer is a business corporation or a school institution, they could have a strong negotiation power with Apple Industry, but once the business has purchased the product from Apple, its bargaining power will switch directly from high to low because of the switching cost from changing or updating systems. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are Apple's partners as well as its clients. They have relatively high bargaining power as buyers.
The Bargaining Power of Suppliers - For the most of the time, suppliers have a strong negotiation power, but in this case suppliers' power has been cut from high to low because Apple is the number one electronic devices market leader in the U.S, and it has more than 150 suppliers in its suppliers list. In January 2012, Apple first time reveals its suppliers that consist of 156 companies, and these suppliers represent 97% of Apple's procurement expenditures for materials, manufacturing, and assembly of Apple's products worldwide (Wingfield, January 2012). Some big-name companies like Intel Corporation and NVIDIA Corporation who provide computer chips to Apple, along with other parts makers like Samsung Electronics, Toshiba and Panasonic.
The Threat from New Entrants - Due to a high customer loyalty from its unique product design, Apple leaves its new entrants a high threshold and a low opportunity to get into the business. Creating a new brand requires large amount of research and development cost, which also needs a high spend on human capitals and natural resources. Furthermore, innovations and product maintenance are cost money and time even more. Based on a research of the risk of disruption through technology failure rate, 'The Standish Group reports that roughly two out of three IT projects are considered to be failures (suffering from total failure, cost overruns, time overruns, or a rollout with fewer features or functions than promised)' (Nelson, June 2007). All these information restrict and weaken the new entrant to get into the market.
The Threat from Substitutes - The threat from substitutes to Apple industry is medium. Some substitutes include Dell's Display, Microsoft Arc Mouse, Sanyo Eneloop Batteries, and NuForce NE-7M headphones. The diversified commodity production and innovating technology required Apple to face various competitors and substitutes, but it is another reason that helps Apple to dominate the electronic market. Recently, Apple focuses on its brand new system ' iOS7, a new A7 processor, and it achieves a 64-bit processor based on the ARMv8 architectureand more than one billion transistors. This new A7 chip makes iPhone 5s' features slightly improved. The battery life, LTE, and the new M7 motion co-processor that now contains the phone's accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.??In addition, some more new features such as camera system and high-tech fingerprint sensor lead Apple industry into another generation that keeps all substitutes further away.
The Intensity of Rivalry among Competitors - Most domestic rival companies include Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Motorola, Dell, and international competitors include Samsung, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and LG Electronics are all interfere Apple's growth. They push Apple into a serious threat. Companies in this area put large amount of efforts and times to innovate the new design, develop new features, and improve the differentiation to make the intensity of rivalry among competitors high. Over the last few years, price competition in these markets has been particularly intense. Most rival companies try to lower their price and provide better service to be able to compete with Apple.
''''Although new designed products like iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2, and iPad air made Apple stand out different from others, the failure product iPhone 5c was cut orders due to a weak demand. In addition, the critical reason that causes iPhone 5c fail is it is only $100 less to get a same storage memory iPhone 5s. According to a research, 'the popular perception is that iPhone buyers are swayed by style, and that owning the attest and greatest handset is a status symbol of sorts' (Kingsley-Hughes, October 2013). On the other hand, Most of Apple's rivals, such as Samsung, Levono, and even Google Nexus 5 produce cheaper Android system cell phones that give customers no reason to choose an iPhone 5c.
''''On Tuesday September 10, 2013, Apple share fell 2.3% which partly on concern that the iPhone 5c is an old model in new cloth, also the price for 5c may not be cheap enough for mid-class customers to afford. 'Apple expected to see its share of U.S. smart phone users reach 38.3% this year, however, 45.9% shares was hit on Android' (Barr, September 2013). Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said: 'To reach the maximum number of customers, ideally you would have a product that million more consumers could afford unsubsidized.' Each iPhone 5c cost $549 out of contract which will be a tougher sell because Apple is going after a new customer who would also considering Android.
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