Apple Business Strategy: a brief overview

By John Dudovskiy
July 3, 2023

Apple business strategy can be classified as product differentiation. Specifically, the multinational technology company differentiates its products and services on the basis of simple, yet attractive design and advanced functionality.


Apple Business Strategy


Apple business strategy consists of the following four elements:

1. Focus on design and functionality of products. According to its business strategy, Apple has adapted advanced features and capabilities of its products and services as bases of its competitive advantage. The list of innovations introduced by Apple include, but not limited to the introduction of iPad, the first device of its kind that stored thousands of songs with a simple shuffle capabilities through songs, development Macintosh, the first computer to use a graphical user interface and the launch of iMac that “ripped up the computer design rule book, doing away with dull beige boxes and instead replacing them with fun, translucent machines in shades such as “Bondi Blue” that hinted at the aesthetic Apple would become so well-known for.”[1]

The first company ever to be valued at $1 trillion systematically improves features and capabilities of its products, setting new standards for the industry at the same time. Take photos for example. Apple single-handedly advanced global photography industry with a range of innovations illustrated in table below.


Innovation Year
High dynamic range imaging 2010
Panorama photos 2012
True Tone flash 2013
Optical image stabilization 2015
Dual-lens camera 2016
portrait mode 2016
portrait lighting 2017
night mode 2019
LiDar scanning 2020

Photography innovations by Apple Inc.


First mover advantage is another element of Apple competitive advantage. It has to be stated that Apple competitive advantage may be challenging to be sustained for long-term perspective. Specifically, the management may fail in terms of ensuring the addition of innovative features and capabilities in new versions of its products, thus compromising its competitive advantage.

2. Enhancing customer experience. Focusing on customer experience is one of the pillars of Apple business strategy. It is not rare for Apple fans to create videos of themselves unwrapping their new Apple products and uploading the video on YouTube. This happens because the company has succeeded in creating a customer experience that extends beyond the purchasing process of a product.

For example, starting using any Apple product is extremely easy. Customers open the box, plug to electricity, turn on and start using products. There is no need to install or download anything. More than 518 Apple Stores in 25 countries and regions, where people can try products and ask helpful staff questions effectively also contribute to customer experience.

3. Strengthening Apple ecosystem. Apple business strategy can be characterised as vertical integration in a way that the company has advanced expertise in software, hardware, and services at the same time. Apple’s vertical integration is one of the major factors that set it apart from the competition. The company has been benefiting from its vertical integration immensely. Specifically, an important source of Apple competitive advantage relates to its ecosystem, which is enabled by such integration.

Apple devices and software sync easily and work well with each other. Applications work on multiple Apple devices at the same time and there is no much difference in user interfaces. However the same items do not pair with products of other companies, thus creating the likes of a closed ecosystem. Apple’s ecosystem creates switching costs for its customers to the competition. The ecosystem also provides the opportunities to leverage relationships with existing customers to offer other products and services.

4. Decreasing dependence of the business on the sales of iPhones. Apple business strategy is transitioning from relying on iPhone sales to prioritizing its services business and other divisions. John Giannandrea has been promoted to a machine learning and AI role, retail chief Angela Ahrendts left the company and Bill Stasior has been removed as a head of Siri.[2] These high-profile changes that took place within the timeframe of less than three months are clear indication of company’s focus on services and other business divisions in order decrease dependence of the business on the sales of iPhones.

It is important to note that these and other efforts are showing positive results. Specifically, Apple’s services business division generated record revenues of USD 53,77 billion in 2020, an increase of 16% compared to the previous year.[3]

Apple Inc. Report contains the above analysis of Apple business strategy. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on Apple. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Apple leadership, organizational structure and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of Apple marketing strategy, ecosystem and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.


[1] Apple’s Greatest Innovations (2016) The Telegraph, Available at:

[2] Broussard, M. (2019) Apple’s Recent Leadership Changes Suggest Transition From iPhone Reliance to Focus on Services, Mac Rumors, Available at:

[3] Annual Report (2020) Apple Inc.

Category: Strategy