- Apple has fundamentally changed how consumers communicate and access information. But to some extent, it is a victim of its own success.
- Reliance on Chinese manufacturing is problematic on a couple of fronts. Rising labor costs associated with the emerging Chinese middle-class impact company profit margins. Increased environmental regulation in the country might also impact manufacturing operations.
- Apple’s ability to innovate in the wake of Steve Jobs has been diminished. Once unique technology is being easily replicated by competitors such as Google and Samsung.
Apple is a company that has fundamentally changed aspects of the way we communicate with each other.
Founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple now has a line of innovative technology products including the iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and iPad. It also has a long list of propriety software and hardware to support its numerous devices.
Understanding the Apple PESTLE analysis
In the United States, this has stimulated discussion over corporate tax legislation. Worsening income inequality as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has also exacerbated this issue for the company.
Apple is also heavily dependent on China for manufacturing. The continuing conflict between the U.S. and China has resulted in import restrictions and a general focus on renewing the American manufacturing industry.
With an emerging middle class numbering in the hundreds of millions, Chinese manufacturing also represents an economic threat to Apple. The Chinese middle class is demanding higher wages, which has the potential to erode the cost advantage of manufacturing Apple products.
Few social trends have been as significant as the uptake of smartphones among consumers. Once a consumer owns a smartphone, there is now a societal expectation that it will be upgraded in 1-2 years.
However, the tendency to upgrade a device for social status is fading. Younger generations are becoming more discerning consumers, with a need for both affordability and functionality. Inevitably, Apple will need to reduce its dependence on the iPhone which accounts for almost half of its sales.
This problem was exacerbated by the death of Steve Jobs, who was unmatched in his ability to innovate. Current CEO Tim Cook is a logistics and optimization specialist. His modus operandi is to extract money from consumers with high-margin accessories such as dongles, cables, and adaptors. While effective, this strategy is not unique.
Reports suggest it is also planning to enter automobile manufacturing – which is also heavily regulated. Both industries have the potential to increase insurance and compliance costs for Apple.
Apple faces several environmental issues going forward. The safe disposal of its devices is perhaps the most significant.
Pollution from manufacturing facilities in China is also likely to become increasingly regulated as China tightens emissions laws.
Rising energy costs also mean the company is having to spend more money on maintaining data centers and other infrastructure.
Key Highlights of Apple’s PESTLE Analysis:
- PESTLE Analysis:
- Apple’s substantial cash balance has raised discussions on corporate tax legislation in the United States.
- U.S.-China conflicts have led to import restrictions and focus on American manufacturing, impacting Apple’s dependence on China.
- The rise of smartphones and the expectation of frequent upgrades have driven consumer behavior.
- Younger generations prioritize affordability and functionality, impacting Apple’s iPhone-centric sales strategy.
- Apple has entered regulated financial services and is considering automobile manufacturing.
- Reliance on intellectual property laws, piracy, and litigation costs pose legal challenges.
- Disposal of devices, manufacturing pollution, and energy costs are environmental concerns for Apple.
- Key Takeaways:
- Apple’s success and innovations have led to challenges, including reliance on Chinese manufacturing.
- Rising labor costs and environmental regulations in China impact Apple’s operations.
- The company’s ability to innovate post-Steve Jobs is under scrutiny, as competitors replicate its products.
- Entering regulated industries like finance and potential automobile manufacturing introduces legal complexities.
- Environmental issues like device disposal and energy costs require attention for sustainable operations.
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