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Designed in California, loved around the world

Sector: Futuretech

Apple’s story is retold a thousand times. But in a world of relentless innovation and imitation, the brand needs to reassert itself, as more than its products, and more than Steve Jobs.

On May 21 2013 Tim Cook stood before the US Senate. Apple had enjoyed unprecedented success over the last decade, and globally the brand’s popularity has soared with international revenues double those from local markets. He was asked whether Apple is still proud to be an American company. He emphatically replied yes, more than ever. Whilst the question was supposed to be about taxation, Cook replied with a bigger passion. Whilst iPhones and iPads are manufactured across the globe, the ideas behind their success – design and innovation – happens within one zipcode, 95014.

At Cupertino, in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley where Steve Jobs grew up, then surrounded by orange orchards, and later by tech start-ups, Apple is building a new futuristic campus. Shortly before he died, Steve Jobs made one final public appearance, in front of Cupertino’s planning committee. He talked of his love of the place Apple calls home, and the people, “the brightest, most creative people on the planet” he called his team. He wanted to ensure he secured a great place for them to continue his work.

In the same month, Apple launched a huge marketing program with the slogan “Designed by Apple in California”. It’s a signature that has been enscribed on the back of every Apple device for decades, but it says more about Apple, and the business world now than ever. It reminds us that we live in an ideas world, that Apple is a creative business, working with the best technical partners across the globe, to create great products, with a brand that captures the world’s imagination. Whilst most businesses are now a mosaic of nationalities, heritage and iconic images are what inspire us.

The rest of Apple story has already been told. From the early days of 1976 when Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched Apple 1 at the Homebrew Computer Club, and made his first million that year, to Apple 2 two years later when his wealthy had grown to $100m. In 1984 the “Mac team” flies a pirate flag above their office, and launches the Mac at that years Superbowl. But soon after, they were gone, refusing to be slaves to conventional management.

Rejoining Apple in 1997, having made $1.5 billion at NeXT and Pixar, Jobs “thinks different” with his multi-coloured iMacs. iPod and iTunes, iPhone and iPad soon followed. Whilst people loved and hated Jobs, his passion was to make things people loved, to create a better life. This purpose, more than the pursuit of money or innovation, is what has inspired Apple, and inspired consumers, to build a great brand.

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