How did Apple become the most valuable company in the world? And where it goes now, in the post-Jobs era?
Required Reading: inside Apple
Apple's yearly Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) has become a gathering of near-mystical significance for tech-heads.
Last week's WWDC 2012 in San Francisco was no exception. Thousands of Apple fans queued to get a glimpse of the new MacBook Pro laptop, with improved "retina" display. This was the first WWDC after the death of former Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, giving commentators pause to reflect on the remarkable story of what is now the world's most valuable company, worth a staggering US$500 billion (Dh1.8trillion). As ever, a selection of the best reading can unravel the details.
Go to Apple Confidential 2.0 by Owen Linzmayer (No Starch Press, Dh120) to learn how Steve Jobs and friend Steve Wozniak formed Apple as a vehicle to sell computers that Wozniak was building by hand. The Apple Macintosh became one of the first commercially successful home computers, and by 1990 Apple was riding high.
Then read Infinite Loop: How Apple Went Insane by Michael S Malone (Arum, Dh 48) to learn what happened next: boardroom powerplays forced Jobs out in 1985, and unsuccessful products saw Apple's fortunes plummet. In 1997, though, one of the most remarkable turnarounds in corporate history began. Jobs returned, and steered Apple through a series of era-defining products, including the iPod and the iPhone. Apple's share price soared, from around US$10 in 2002 to more than $500 today.
In the authorised biography Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Little, Brown, Dh150) you'll read how Jobs combined ruthless business strategy with an unrivaled purity of design vision: he was, we learn, such a perfectionist that he lived in an empty mansion for years, unable to find furniture that he liked. And learn more about that design vision in Insanely Simple: The Obsession that Drives Apple's Success by Ken Segall (Portfolio Penguin, Dh90). Now, Apple must face a future without its guiding spirit. See this year's Inside Apple (John Murray, Dh120), by Adam Lashinky, to learn how the company has no plans to relinquish its market lead.