What Is Apple's Mission Statement?
Apple Inc. has evolved over the years from a relatively niche producer of personal computers into a diversified maker of electronic devices and provider of services that is one of the most highly valued publicly traded companies in the world. The company's mission statement and other statements of values and visions have also changed since the company's incorporation—as Apple Computer Inc.—by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak on January 3, 1977.
Apple is dedicated to the empowerment of man—to making personal computing accessible to each and every individual so as to help change the way we think, work, learn, and communicate.
That was Apple's original mission statement, according to marketing guru and Interbrand Pacific founder David Andrew. In "Brand Revitalisation and Extension," a chapter in the book "Brands: The New Wealth Creators," Andrew wrote that the mission statement sprang from the company's brand vision statement:
Man is the true creator of change in this world. As such, he should be above systems and structures, and not subordinate to them.
Steve Jobs' Application of the Mission Statement
You can see in those lines the origins of Jobs' simpler guiding principle, or brand vision, for the company during the 1980s:
To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.
Jobs again spoke of computers as being tools for our minds in the 1990 documentary film "Memory and Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress":
I think one of the things that really separates us from the high primates is that we’re tool builders. I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. And humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So that didn’t look so good. But then somebody at "Scientific American" had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts. And that’s what a computer is to me. What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.
That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
Tim Cook's Vision for Apple
Tim Cook, Jobs' chosen successor and current Apple CEO, touched on simplicity as well as many other aspects of his vision for the company right after he was named acting CEO in 2009 while Jobs went on medical leave.
We believe that we're on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that's not changing. We're constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex.
We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change.
And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
(Jobs had spoken of the importance of saying no to projects at the 1997 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference: "I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying 'no' to 1,000 things.")
In 2016, Cook brought up the common Apple theme of providing tools for empowerment during an interview with "The Indian Express":
For us, the most important thing we can do is raise people up, that is either by giving the ability to do things they could not otherwise do, allow them to create things they couldn’t otherwise create. It’s about giving them tools, it is about empowering people. I think to me that is the primary objective of technology—for you to live better, longer.
Apple doesn't currently have an official mission statement on its website, but company press releases end with the following statement that mentions empowerment. And its last sentence could serve as a mission statement:
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.