Peeling Back Apple’s Wall Of Secrecy

March 16, 2012 by staff 

Peeling Back Apple’s Wall Of Secrecy, Apple is riding a wave of popularity and success seldom seen in the tech industry — or any other industry. With the company’s recent white-hot success, including today’s release of a new model of the market-leading iPad, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way.

The company’s history is well-known to anyone even remotely interested in Silicon Valley lore. Apple was launched in 1976 by the affable and brilliant Steve Wozniak and the charismatic visionary Steve Jobs in a garage in Los Altos, California. Its first line of PCs, the Apple II, is credited with igniting the personal computer revolution and became a mainstay in schools and homes throughout the 1980s. The Mac, introduced in 1984, forever changed the interface between humans and computers, bringing to the mass market advances that today we take for granted, including the mouse, the graphical interface, and tiled windows.

The 1990s, however, were not so kind: Innovative products like the Newton failed to catch on, the Mac languished as an overpriced, niche PC (with less than 5 percent market share), and a misguided strategy to allow manufacturers to clone Macs pushed the company to the precipice of irrelevancy and bankruptcy.

Jobs’s 11-year exile ended in 1996, when Apple purchased his NeXT Computer company. Back in control of his baby, he slashed product lines and employees, focused on form and function, and soon introduced another hit, the bulbous Bondi-blue iMac. With some cash in the bank and a rejuvenated fan base, Jobs orchestrated a string of hits — iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad — that have swelled Apple’s bank account to more than $100 billion and made it the most valuable company ever.

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