Apple’s evolving PR boilerplate 

One of the more interesting debates in the nerd community is around how Apple views itself. Is it a software company that happens to make hardware? Is it a device manufacturer that also offers sort of crappy cloud services? Is it all just a ruse to sell music and apps?

Instead of making things up as we go, I think Apple can speak for itself — and is it just so happens, it has.

For ages, at the bottom of press releases, Apple has included a statement about its business, and over the years, this boilerplate statement has changed numerous times.

The oldest Apple press release on the Wayback Machine is from April 1995. Here’s how the article closes:

Apple Computer, Inc., a recognized pioneer and innovator in the information industry, creates powerful solutions based on easy to use personal computers, servers peripherals, software, online services and personal digital assistants. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) develops, manufactures, licenses, and markets products, technologies, and services for the business, education, consumer, scientific & engineering and government markets in over 140 countries.

After his return to Apple in 1997, Steve Jobs cleaned house, paring back the company’s offerings to a simple matrix of products. As a result, the 2000-era statement is cleaned up, too. Gone is the verbiage about the company’s servers, peripherals, software, online services, and personal digital assistants.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II, and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is now recommitted to its original mission to bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.

These groups of consumers formed the backbone of the Apple community, and were the only thing between the company and its demise. The “recommitted” bit was an attempt to keep the old-timers happy, while taking away the old, busted MacOS and trying to grow the customer base.

Starting in early 2000, however, Apple tightened things up a good bit:

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

In mid–2004, Apple added a sentence about its iTunes Music Store, which launched in April 2003:

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store.

The statement remained unchanged for years, until the last half of 2007, when the company highlighted the then-new iPhone:

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market this year with its revolutionary iPhone.

The statement would remain unchanged until 2010. The pattern of adding a sentence per device continued with the iPad. It was tacked on to the end of the statement, complete with the m word was used:

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, then reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. Apple continues to lead the industry with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system, and iLife, iWork and professional applications. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

Before the iPad 2, Apple re-worked the statement to drop products last sold in 1992:

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

After the iPad 2 shipped in March 2011 (and up until early 2012) the statement read:

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

Since early 2012, the statement has read:

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

(I’ll admit that’s fancy-pants language, but when has Apple not used ridiculous language when talking about itself or its products.)

I think that’s a quote apt description of 2014-era Apple: Macs are the best personal computers on the market and Apple is leading the way in the digital music and smartphone revolutions, all while the company is carving out the future of computing with the iPad.

JUNE 2015 UPDATE:

Apple’s current statement reflects not only the company’s products, but something about the company itself as well:

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, the Mac and Apple Watch. Apple’s three software platforms — iOS, OS X and watchOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

In many ways, this boilerplate reflects Apple better than any previous version used. It feels like Tim Cook’s Apple, and that’s a good thing.

NOVEMBER 2015 UPDATE:

Apple TV has made it into the boilerplate. I guess it isn’t a hobby anymore:

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

JUNE 2016 UPDATE:

OS X is gone:

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

Early 2017: “More than” 100,000 employees:

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.