Apple: 40 Years of Macintosh Innovation, Controversy, and Success

Apple Inc., a name that has become synonymous with innovation and design, is celebrating the 40th birthday of the Apple Macintosh today, the first commercially successful personal computer for the everyday user that simplified the skills needed to operate it.

Just like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, but there’s no denying its impact on the world. From its humble beginnings as a start up in the family garage to its current status as one of the most valuable companies on the planet, Apple continues to innovate and stir buyer emotions.

The Humble Garage Origins

It all started in 1976 when Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer, Inc. in the Jobs family garage. They had a vision to create user-friendly computers for the masses, a revolutionary idea at the time. This commitment to making technology accessible and user-friendly would become a hallmark of Apple’s philosophy.

Innovative Design at the Core

One of the key reasons behind Apple’s success has been its relentless focus on design. From the iconic Macintosh to the sleek iPhone, Apple products have always been more than just tools; they’ve been pieces of art. This commitment to aesthetics and user experience has set Apple apart from its competitors.

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle

Simon Sinek’s “The Golden Circle” TED Talk is a concept that explains how some organisations, like Apple, can inspire action and achieve remarkable success. At its core, the Golden Circle is structured in three layers: ‘Why’, ‘How’, and ‘What’. Sinek points out that most companies communicate from the outside in, starting with ‘What’ they do, then ‘How’ they do it, and occasionally explaining ‘Why’. However, inspirational leaders and organisations like Apple do the exact opposite – they start with ‘Why’.

In his discussions, Sinek uses Apple as a prime example to demonstrate this approach. He explains that Apple’s success can largely be attributed to their communication style – they start by explaining why they exist, their core beliefs, and their purpose (which is to challenge the status quo and to think differently). Then, they move to ‘How’ they fulfil this purpose, which is through making beautifully designed and user-friendly products. Finally, they describe ‘What’ they do – they make computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices. This inside-out approach of starting with ‘Why’ resonates more deeply with consumers, creating a powerful emotional connection. It’s not just about making computers or smartphones; it’s about being part of a movement or belief system, which in Apple’s case, is about innovation and challenging the norm.

Marketing Mastery

Apple’s approach to selling in the marketplace has been nothing short of genius. They don’t just sell products; they sell a lifestyle, an experience. Their marketing campaigns are iconic, and they know how to create anticipation and excitement around their product launches. It’s not just about the features; it’s about how those features will enhance your life.

The Apple Store Experience

Walk into an Apple Store, and you’ll immediately notice the difference. The minimalist design, the clean lines, the helpful staff – it’s all designed to make you feel like you’re part of something special. Apple stores are more than just retail outlets; they’re showcases of the Apple ecosystem. They encourage you to explore, learn, and immerse yourself in the world of Apple.

Exceptional Customer Service

Apple is renowned for its customer service, and there’s a reason for that. They understand that their products aren’t perfect, and when something goes wrong, they’re there to make it right. The Genius Bar at Apple stores is a testament to their commitment to customer support. They don’t just fix your device; they teach you how to get the most out of it.

Now, let’s bring this story up to date.

The New Office and Massive Turnover

Apple’s growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. In 2017, they opened their new headquarters, Apple Park, often referred to as the “Spaceship Campus” due to its futuristic design. This architectural marvel houses over 12,000 employees and features sustainable design elements like solar panels and natural ventilation.

As for their turnover, Apple’s financial success has been staggering. With a market capitalisation that has surpassed the $2 trillion mark, it’s not just a tech company; it’s a financial giant. This level of success is a testament to their ability to consistently innovate and meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers.

Apple’s 40-year ‘Mac’ journey has been filled with highs and lows, controversies, and ground-breaking innovations. They’ve shown that it’s possible to combine technology and design in a way that captivates the world. Through Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, they’ve always started with a clear “why” and built their products, marketing, and customer service around that core belief.

As we look to the future, it’s clear that Apple will continue to shape the tech industry and inspire the world. Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t deny the impact they’ve had on our lives. Here’s to another 40 years of continued ‘Mac’ innovation!

Embracing the Apple Ethos: Lessons for Every Company

While replicating Apple’s success may seem like a daunting task, there are valuable lessons that companies of all sizes can learn from their journey. Here are some key takeaways:

Start with a Clear Purpose (The “Why”): Before diving into product development or marketing strategies, take the time to define your company’s core purpose. Understand why you exist and how your products or services can make a positive impact on people’s lives. Apple’s focus on empowering individuals through technology is a prime example.

Prioritise Design and User Experience: Design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about how your customers interact with your products or services. Invest in creating a seamless and user-friendly experience. Even small businesses can make a big impact by paying attention to the details that matter most to their customers.

Tell a Compelling Story: Apple has mastered the art of storytelling. Craft a narrative around your brand that resonates with your target audience. Highlight the value your products or services bring to their lives and create anticipation around what you offer.

Build a Strong Brand Identity: Your brand is more than just a logo; it’s the emotional connection people have with your company. Define your brand identity and consistently communicate it across all touchpoints, from your website to your customer interactions.

Invest in Customer Service: Exceptional customer service can set you apart from the competition. Whether you’re a small start-up or a large corporation, prioritise the needs of your customers. Listen to their feedback, address their concerns, and provide solutions that exceed their expectations.

Innovate Continuously: Innovation is the lifeblood of any successful company. Encourage a culture of innovation within your organisation, where new ideas are welcomed and explored. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and adapt to changing market conditions.

Create a Unique Buying Experience: If you have physical stores or online retail spaces, focus on creating an environment that reflects your brand’s identity and values. Make the shopping experience enjoyable and memorable. If you have a sales team use the Train4Results ‘TLC’ approach (Think Like a Customer) and position solutions in the way customers like to buy.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility: In today’s world, consumers appreciate companies that prioritise sustainability and social responsibility. Consider how your business practices can positively impact the environment and society as a whole.

Adapt to Market Trends: Stay attuned to industry trends and emerging technologies. Apple has consistently adapted to the changing tech landscape, and your company should be nimble enough to do the same.

Stay Committed to Quality: Regardless of your industry, prioritise quality in everything you do. Consistently delivering high-quality products or services builds trust and loyalty among your customers.

Remember that while Apple’s success is remarkable, these principles can be applied at any scale. It’s about embracing a mindset of excellence, innovation, and customer-centricity. By doing so, you can create a company that not only thrives but also leaves a lasting impact on your industry and the world.

Phil Hook


Phil Hook, founder of Train4Results, brings over 25 years of experience in sales, management, and training to his role. Known for his innovative approach that challenges traditional norms, Phil specializes in creating engaging, high-impact learning experiences. His unique blend of motivational coaching and hands-on activities has made him a sought-after consultant in the UK and globally, committed to empowering individuals to reach their full potential.

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