Apple is one of the largest and most popular companies in modern history. It became one of the leading names in personal computing and has dominated the market for mobile devices as the original innovator of the smartphone, digital music player, and tablet computer (better known under their proprietary monikers, the iPhone, iPod, and iPad).
Apple’s mission and vision statements have changed over time as the company has grown. What started out as a business completely focused on personal computers has evolved into an enterprise that serves technology needs for many types of consumer technology goods. Today, its most recent mission and vision statement speak to far-reaching goals and Apple’s critical strategy of innovation.
The company’s most recent mission statement is “to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative computer hardware, computer software, and services.” Let’s explore what this means in practical terms.
1. What Apple Does: Delivers the Best User Experience
A mission statement should first describe what the company does. In Apple’s case, it seeks to provide an outstanding user experience. From computers to media players, Apple offers a seamless user interface that has long been recognized for its ease of use, clean design, and sleek aesthetics.
Apple’s product design is itself aspirational, becoming the envy of competitors and the desire of its customers. Each new product release or upgrade attracts buyers in droves who are seeking the latest features and designs. The company became a trendsetter with each product’s clean, polished appearance. Its website also reflects the simplicity of a graceful design, and the overall brand feel is polished and refined.
2. Who Apple Serves: Focuses on the Average Person
The next part of its mission statement reveals Apple’s target market. Every company exists for a particular user base. Apple’s customers are typically average users, though businesses make up a large portion of its user base. Apple’s products and the accompanying user experience have broken the mold numerous times and have set the standard for other companies to follow.
3. How Apple Does It: Dominates with Innovation
The final piece of its mission statement outlines how the company delivers on its promised goals. Apple’s “how” is innovation.
In Apple’s most recent annual report, dated September 26, 2020, right after the risks associated with COVID-19 and the economy, Apple’s report delves directly into its competition and its challenges from rapid technological change. It went so far as to say that to remain competitive and stimulate customer demand, it must frequently introduce new products, services and technologies. (Pretty interesting that it focuses on actually creating demand, instead of fulfilling an existing demand or need.)
Apple innovates in the areas of hardware, computer software, and services. It focuses on providing something no one else can. Compare this to Microsoft, for example, which dominates the personal computing market with sheer volume. Apple has proprietary features and a uniform product design, plus it is the only company that produces Apple computers (whereas Microsoft’s Windows-based machines can be manufactured and sold by nearly anyone). If you want a Mac, you have to go through Apple.
Apple was also the original innovator behind the iPod, iPad, and iPhone. Today’s massive market for smartphones, digital music, and tablet computing owes much of its very existence to Apple. Here is a summary of the impact of these “i” innovations:
- The iPod changed the way we purchase and listen to music, moving away from physical media, and making music digital.
- iTunes, a closely related piece of software, helped users manage their digital music libraries and also brought about new ways that users could consume that media. It made digital purchases of music, movies, and TV shows much more accessible and spawned the explosion of podcasts that provided a totally new channel for sharing and consuming content.
- The iPad was the first consumer tablet product, and Apple continued to define what the product could do.
- The iPhone is still the most popular mobile device on the market, completely revolutionizing how people use “computers.” Where people mostly used larger desktop or laptop computers even as little as ten years ago, now many only use a smartphone – all thanks to the iPhone.
Other accessory products, like earbuds (which largely replaced headphones), wireless technology, the widespread use of touchscreen interfaces, the application-based approach to software delivery, and much more were either created or made commonplace by Apple. Furthermore, consolidating the functions of several devices into one powerful and compact machine is a massive advantage for Apple. Consumers can use Apple’s products to perform the functions of a telephone, music player, camera, personal computer, and much more.
Other things like apps (applications), mobile payments, and more owe much of their expansive growth to Apple leading the way. Many processes that we take for granted trace their genesis back to Apple. If we were to suddenly remove all the things we take for granted due to Apple’s far-reaching influence, we would be surprised at how different the world would look. In this way, it has more than delivered on its mission statement.
Where a mission statement tends to deal with the tangible ways a company conducts business, the vision statement is more aspirational and forward-facing. It goes to the heart of a company’s goals. Apple’s vision statement is as follows:
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are here to make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it.”
1. Why Apple Does What It Does: To Deliver the Best Products on Earth
The vision statement answers the question of why. The “why” behind Apple’s mission of innovating in computer hardware and software is that it believes that it is on the face of the earth to make great products.
Apple does not settle for anything less than excellence. If a product or service is not up to its high standards, it will delay (and has delayed) its release until it is fully ready. Its reputation for high-quality and cutting-edge concepts has been well-known for decades, and with every new product, it further cements that reputation in the eyes of its consumers and the wider industry.
Furthermore, it has committed to staying at the top, maintaining its sterling reputation for excellence. Not only does it seek to make great products, but that goal is not changing. This tells its customers, staff, and investors that the company will stay focused on its goals and not change or cut corners. This perception of stability and faithful execution of its mission inspires great confidence.
2. Why Apple Exists: To Leave the World Better Than It Found It
The vision statement then restates the overall goals to make the best products on earth. Once again, the commitment to excellence and innovation is clear. Apple uses its vision statement to recognize the impact it has on the world: it commits to leaving the world better than it found it.
So often, companies can come and go without leaving any lasting impact. A brand may be the favorite of the day or the season, but when the business folds, there is rarely any lasting impact on its consumers. Competitors, copycats, or substitutions usually slide right in, erasing virtually all memories of the company’s presence. Such is not the case with Apple.
a. Apple Has Changed How, When and Where We Use “Computers”
Apple has revolutionized the use of and access to personal computing. It has changed the way that billions of people work, live, and communicate. It has created entirely new segments of the technology market and has gone on to dominate those markets over time.
b. Apple Has Created a More Connected Globe
One of the major results is that the global society Apple has helped to create is much more connected than it previously was. Innovations created by market leaders like Apple and others have helped to bring together people from all corners of the globe. Many of us use the same hardware and software, making us feel even more closely connected through that shared experience. Our access to information and services has never been more open, and it will only continue to grow.
c. Apple Has Given Access to People Who Had None
Beyond these specific aspects of interconnectedness is Apple’s additional commitment to increasing that access to those that previously did not have it. Apple has joined with other companies to provide access through devices and technology to growing economies and countries that did not already have a strong technical infrastructure.
In this way, it not only creates new markets for itself (again, creating demand), but it changes the ways those people live their lives and connects them with others around the world.
Apple’s mission and vision statements guide its corporate goals and the products and services it releases to the public. But beyond sales figures and revenue, these statements help Apple stand out not only apart from its competitors, but as a leader in changing lives and lifestyles the world over.
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