Last in this three-part story of the history of Apple, we’ll find out how Steve Jobs saved the company and helped turn it into the world’s first trillion-dollar business.

One of the first thing Jobs did when he returned to Apple in 1997 was to simplify the product line.   Apple had a confusing selection of products which made it difficult to recommend a single solution to customers.

He also discovered Jony Ive – a product designer at Apple who up until this point hadn’t had much of an impact.   Jobs and Ive worked closely together to develop the iMac – an all-in-one computer with a translucent case.  It was a gamble as there was nothing else like it on the market, but it was a gamble that paid off with around 1 million units per year being sold!

This relationship between Ive and Jobs, along with the drive that Jobs brought to the staff, really turned Apple’s fortunes around.  Soon after the iMac was released, Apple introduced the iPod – a revolutionary portable music device with a simple “click-wheel” interface.   Before the iPod, there was an assortment of generic MP3 devices, but they were all difficult to use with awkward controls and small screens.   The iPod brought digital music to the masses and in combination with the iTunes music store made it simple to purchase and download music over the Internet.  The music industry was worried about the amount of illegal copying/downloads of albums, and the iTunes store appeared at just the right time.   It made it easier to buy music than it was to copy it – and because you could buy individual songs, you no longer needed to buy an entire album when you only liked a handful of songs on it.   In addition, music downloaded from the iTunes store had Digital Rights Management (DRM) which prevented anyone from copying the music.

It wasn’t until 2007 though that Apple was to strike gold with its most popular product.   Described by Jobs at the announcement as a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device, the iPhone was a revolutionary smartphone that forever changed the market.   Apple was entering an already tough marketplace with lots of competition, but the device was so advanced that it was an instant hit.   Looking back, it was quite limited, with a small screen, little storage and a slow connection, but it was so easy to use that people loved it.   Even today, the operating system iOS still works in a similar way to original version.

The iPhone is like no other product in terms of market reach and popularity.  By 2011, the iPhone accounted for 40% of the company’s revenue.  In the first quarter of 2014, Apple made more money than Amazon, Google and Facebook combined!

The iPad was announced in 2010 as a device that sat between the iPhone’s small screen and a laptop’s big screen.   In-fact the team working on the original iPhone were actually working on the iPad but changed direction to break into the growing smartphone market.

One of Apples biggest projects was the recent Apple Park campus.   This $5 billion project was originally devised by Jobs to house the 25,000 employees that were based in Cupertino, California.   Unfortunately, Jobs never saw the building completed as he passed away in October, 2011.

Today Apple are looking for the “next big thing” to replace the iPhone, as the smartphone market is starting to plateaux.   The Apple Watch has been a recent success and is becoming increasingly popular as a health and fitness device.   There are rumours that they’re working on everything from augmented reality eyeglasses to self-driving cars.

The recent departure of Jony Ive to start his own design business may well result in a new direction for Apple products.   With new people in charge it’ll be interesting to watch the evolution of Apple over the next few years.   I’m sure Steve Jobs would be proud of the globally influential business that Apple has become.