Apple Inc. is a Cupertino, California-based company that designs and markets personal computers, consumer electronics and computer software.

Apple is known for the Macintosh line of personal computers, the iPod portable digital music player, the iPhone mobile phone and the iPad portable tablet computer.

Other product offerings and services include Final Cut Studio, which is a software package for the audio and film industry, and iTunes, a browser for various types of media.

The company was established on April 1, 1976 and then incorporated on Jan. 3, 1977.

The original founders of Apple Inc. are Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.

The initial product was the Apple I personal computer kit, which were hand-built by Wozniak.

Soon after, Apple II and Apple III were introduced to the market. The Macintosh was launched in 1984. Although the machine had advanced graphics capabilities, it was expensive and had a limited range of software titles.

In 1985, internal issues caused Steve Jobs to resign from his managerial responsibilities at Apple Inc.

He went on to form two new companies, Pixar and NeXT Inc. In 1996, Apple bought NeXT Inc. and Jobs returned to Apple. In 1997, he took over as the company's CEO.

In the ensuing years, Apple released several new products including the Macintosh Portable, the PowerBook, the Macintosh LC and the Power Macintosh.

Beginning 1998, Apple started acquiring smaller companies in order to create its own suite of digital production software. Apple retail stores began opening up in various cities. One of Apple's most popular products, the iPod was launched in 2001.

In 2006, Apple transitioned its entire line of products to start using Intel microprocessor chips. Some of the older products were retired and new ones took their place.

A year later, the iPhone was launched. As more applications began to be developed for the iPhone, Apple launched the App Store. This portal allowed for the sale and purchase of third-party applications specifically designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

In April 2010, Apple unveiled the iPad, a hugely successful portable tablet computer that sold more than 300,000 units on the day of launch.

In December 1980, Apple had its initial public offering at $22.00 per share. Today Apple share prices have crossed the $300 mark. In May 2010, market capitalization of Apple surpassed that of its competitor, Microsoft, although Microsoft is said to have higher profits.

Fans have long admired Apple's innovative products, aesthetic design, graphics capabilities and intuitive user interfaces. Apple was voted the most admired company in the world by Fortune magazine in 2008, 2009 and 2010. (Text by Lakshmi Jagad)


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