Apple continues to use its design, brand and user interface prowess to (re)invent and grow new categories
The world’s most valuable company shows no sign of stalling any time soon. With CEO Tim Cook and SVP of Design Jonathan Ive maintaining the momentum built up by founder Steve Jobs, Apple continues to create new markets and proactively set the pace in existing ones. Over the past few years the iPod, iPhone and iPad have all variously created new business models, disrupted markets and changed contemporary culture. At the same time as new products take the company into television and mobile payments, it continues to steadily grow its oldest core category of laptops selling more MacBooks in 2011 than ever.
While some cast doubt over Apple’s current valuation, it is a massive cash generator and given its achievements, trades at relatively conservative PE ratios. With nearly $100bn in cash at the end of 2011, a $1 trillion valuation is potentially on the cards – Apple now accounts for over 4% of the S&P 500 and 1% of the global equity market. At its heart this secretive design icon continues to do what it has done so effectively over the past decade or so – supported by slick outsourced production, the world’s most profitable retail stores and an ever growing fan base, it innovates perfectly across product, service and business model. Moreover it stays ahead of the competition by, uniquely in this sector, relentlessly releasing new versions to replace its products while they are still market leading. With a consequentially small product portfolio for its size, Apple is able to shift and increasingly control the markets it chooses to play in.