* Apple's strengths are being a design innovator that is ahead of the trends, creating ergonomic electronics that fit people's lives. Specifically, Apple has been able to invest significantly in research and development, having invested $80 million in the quarter ending in June 2010. Weaknesses
* Apple acknowledges that its profitability is dependent on the global economy. Economic downturns can have a significant negative effect on the company, and fluctuations in foreign currencies make profit predictions in foreign markets uncertain. Opportunities
* Apple is expected to introduce a new mobile advertising platform for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The introduction of this advertising platform represents an opportunity for new revenue sources. Threats
* Apple is involved in several legal actions, including lawsuits alleging patent infringement and antitrust violations. Many of the suits are from smaller companies, but notable plaintiffs include Nokia. These lawsuits present a threat because of the possibility of unfavorable judgments and the ongoing costs associated with legal defenses.
Factor i. Brand
1. Millward Brown Optimor rated Apple the 3rd most valuable global brand in their 2010 top 100 list of most valuable global brands and estimates their brand value to be worth $83.2 billion, (2010). Apple’s brand loyalty, often referred to as the “Cult of Apple”, is probably Apple’s greatest asset and due to their intense loyalty their customer base tends to be very forgiving of product problems, (Bulik). Brands aspire to gain this type kind of a loyalty from their customers, as such, this is an obvious strength. Factor ii. Demand
1. With over 160 million registered users secured by credit cards at Apple’s iTunes store, (McGuire & Baker, 2010), Apple has an overwhelming share of the downloadable digital music and video market. One cannot ignore the “i” vernacular, iPhones, iPods, iPads, and their effect on consumers as “must have” devices. The popularity of innovative Apple entertainment and media products over the last decade and their apparent influence on American culture is another obvious strength. Factor
iii. Design & Innovation
1. Steve Jobs concentration on the importance of aesthetic values and user friendliness has allowed them to maintain a loyal following of consumers that have so far overlooked premium pricing and interoperability issues, (Hoovers). One of the primary motivations for Apple’s design teams is to make intuitive products that allow users to be up and running without having to read instruction books, due to this standard they set the benchmark for design led hardware and software products, (Harris, 2009). This is a strength because through hardware and software design and innovation Apple has revolutionized both the pc and the media industry and their customers have become reliant upon their products. Factor iv. Marketing
1. Advertising Age recently awarded Apple the title of Marketer of the Decade, the first time...