Apple has traditionally been the underdog when it comes to computers, and Microsoft has
dominated the PC market. Apple computers are somewhat popular for household use, but are
virtually absent from the corporate scene, with a few exceptions (artists, graphic designers,
movie makers, and some programmers). The recent rise of mobile devices has shifted the
balance, and if Apple will ever rise to the top it will be now. Of course, it’s possible that Apple
just won’t make it to the top. Despite the failure of Windows Vista, the mixed reviews of
Windows 8, and Apple computers getting Microsoft Office, Microsoft still maintains a huge lead
in the PC industry.
Apple’s rise started with the invention of the iPod over a decade ago. Although digital music
players existed at the time, none caught on with the fire of the iPod, and Apple rapidly
dominated the music player industry. They have held on to their lead ever since. This first foray
into a new market set the precedent for Apple to branch out of computer manufacturing.
In 2007 Apple launched the iPhone, the first phone with full Internet capabilities. Up to that
time RIM’s BlackBerry devices offered a competitive lead on the extremely limited Internet
capabilities of other phones, but on one had captured the full Internet experience in the way
that Apple did. Google has since responded with their Android operating system, and Windows
with their Windows Phone 7 and 8 devices, but Apple’s early lead allowed them to grab the
market and keep a firm hold on it.
As if dominating and practically creating the market for mobile devices wasn’t enough, Apple
did it once more with the iPad. Although touchscreens on laptops already existed, they had not
caught on, perhaps due to a lack of useful applications. Journalists reaction to the device was
initially skeptical, but consumer adoption was rapid and made the device another clear market
winner. Google and Windows have both responded with their own tablet devices, but the iPad
remains the most popular tablet computer.
This leads us to today. Apple has set a clear pattern of making new devices first, as well as
making them good. While Apple still lags in the PC market, where their next biggest competitor
is Microsoft, they dominate in the mobile device market, where their main competitor is
Google. This rise to prominence makes it seem as though Apple could take the overall lead in
the computing world.
The problem with this thought process is that Apple isn’t actually gaining much market share. In
the case of portable music players, smartphones, and tablets, Apple dominated the market by
being first and creating a nearly flawless product. As time has gone on, however, the
competition has improved, and Apple hasn’t had anywhere to go but down. Apple certainly
isn’t going anywhere soon, and product redesigns like the Retina display keep a competitive
However the fact remains that Apple’s competitors are catching up. If Apple wants to gain position in the market in the same way they have before, they might have to create a new category of devices rather than attempt to compete in the existing markets. It is certainly safe to say, however, that Apple is a leader in developing new, high quality technology.
This article was written by Jeremy Paine. He is a blogger for iowainternetproviders.net. He enjoys writing about social media, technology and economy.
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