Apple Inc. is a manufacturer of Macintosh computers, the iPhone smart phone, iPads, iPhone, servers and software.
Known for its very loyal customers, Apple is one of the most innovative companies in technology and praised for its brilliant design and quality of products.
Company founder Steve Jobs is a Silicon Valley icon was a charismatic showman and promoter of Apple products. He died on October 4, 2011 at the age of 56 following a long bout with pancreatic cancer. Tim Cook, Chief Operating Officer, took over the position of CEO in August.
Apple is a very secretive company and has spawned numerous websites that offer rumors and gossip on products it is working on.
On October 14, Apple began selling the iPhone 4S, the fifth version of its popular smartphone. Apple reported sales of over 4 million in the first weekend. The iPhone 4S is now available through AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
Apple has also sold more than 350 million iPods to date since its introduction in 2001. The iPod comes in various sizes and lets users listen to music downloaded online or from CDs. Some iPods also offer video playback. Apple operates the iTunes store, which sells music starting at 99 cents, along with TV shows and movies.
The iPad tablet was launched in 2009 and has sold over 100 million units to date, making it one of the fastest selling electronic devices ever. The company introduced a fourth version of the iPad priced at $499 in October along with the new iPad Mini starting at $329.
Apple operates over 390 retail stores in the U.S., Europe, Australia, China and Japan that are located in high-traffic locations in cities and shopping malls. The retail stores generate as much as 1/3 of Apple's total revenue and are among the highest-grossing stores in all of retail. There are over 30,000 employees working at the stores, which sell Apple products and offer individual customer support areas called Genius Bars. The company has a 24-hour store on NYC's Fifth Avenue that is located below ground beneath a glass cube.
Apple has an estimated 10% market share for its computers in an industry that is dominated by Microsoft Windows. Apple has a strong user base in publishing, video production and graphic design industries.
For fiscal 2011, Apple generated record revenues of $108.2 billion and profits of $25.9 billion on strong sales worldwide of the iPad and iPhone.
The company has been hiring thousands of workers and is also looking to build a new headquarters campus on land in Cupertino. Most of Apple's products are manufactured in China by Foxconn which has been criticized for low pay and tough working conditions.
Stock in Apple has soared over the past decade and now has the highest market capitalization, surpassing ExxonMobil.
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976 with the development of the first Apple personal computer. The Apple IIe was launched in 1983. The first Macintosh computer shipped in 1984 which featured a graphical user interface -- making computers easier to use.
Jobs was fired by Apple in 1985 after clashing with then-CEO John Sculley. He would return to the company in 1997 as a consultant and advisor. This was a period where Apple was in bad shape financially, losing hundreds of millions of dollars as Microsoft's Windows operating system exerted its dominance in the PC industry.
Jobs would take over as interim CEO and helped the company develop the iMac in 1998, an all-in-one Macintosh computer that quickly brought Apple back to profitability.
The iPod, introduced in 2001, has been one of the hottest products the company has ever released and lets users store and listen to digital music. Available for both Macintosh and Windows users, Apple has sold nearly 200 million iPods to date and more than one billion songs on its iTunes digital music service.
In addition to being CEO of Apple, Jobs is Walt Disney company's largest shareholder after he sold his company, Pixar Entetainment, to Disney in 2006.
In January 2006, the company began shipping new iMacs with new Intel Core Duo processors. The company made the transition to Intel chips after using IBM/Freescale processors.
The company changed its name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc. in 2007 to reflect its expansion beyond computers.
The iPhone made its debut on June 29, 2007 to long lines of customers. The iPhone features a phone, E-mail access and Safari Internet browser.
On April 3, 2010, Apple launched the iPad, a much-anticipated tablet computer with a 9.7 inch screen. Apple has sold more than 25 million iPads worldwide and started a new category with other PC companies trying to imitate the iPad's success.
Apple benefit packages vary by location and employment status. The company provides health and dental insurance and flexible spending accounts.
The company also offers 401(k) and investment plans. Apple matches up to 6% of eligible pay at 50% initially and up to 100% after five years of service. Matching contributions vest immediately.
For health and fitness, the company has fitness centers located in Cupertino headquarters; Sacramento, CA; and Austin, TX.
Most employees work at the main Cupertino campus which has six buildings and includes a conference center, Apple Company store and full-service cafeteria. Apple's Austin campus is home to the company's operations, sales and Apple Care divisions. European headquarters are located in Cork, Ireland. Asia-Pacific headquarters are in Singapore.
Updated October 24, 2012