Apple's Inc. (AAPL) current mission statement, as of 2019: "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."
Contrast that with Steve Jobs' original, personal ethos, "To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind." Indeed, what satisfied him most was watching kids use Apple products in the classroom.
Apple's current mission statement comes off as a bit myopic, doesn't it—especially in relation to Jobs' original mission statement. Jobs was tortured in his quest to create great products. Clearly, that type of passion is only present when someone is working for a greater purpose. The most fundamental difference between Apple's current ideals and its founder's vision is that Jobs saw Apple products as a tool to improve the quality of life for mankind. In contrast, Apple sees its products not as a tool for human advancement but as its raison d'être—its reason for being. This evolution partially stems from Jobs and the company's intense focus on producing high-quality products from a functional and aesthetic perspective encompassing all the steps of a product's life cycle. Although his attention to detail has become an essential part of his legacy, it was a means to a higher end.
- Steve Jobs saw Apple products as a tool to improve the quality of life for mankind.
- Apple currently sees its products, not as a tool for human advancement, but as its raison d'être—its reason for being.
It is important to remember that in 1980, Apple was a young company headed by a 25-year-old. Idealism tends to run amok at this age and stage in a company's life. Its future was uncertain, and it seemed inconceivable that it would be successful in taking on larger, established, better-funded competitors such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, or Digital. Most people did not share Jobs' and Apple's vision that the personal computer would be the "bicycle for the mind."
Apple has become larger and more influential than all its competitors put together in 1980. It has a very real chance to become the world's first trillion-dollar company. From its 1980 initial public offering (IPO), its share price has gained 25,000%, not including dividend payouts. It is now one of the most valuable company in the world.
In short, Jobs' baby has grown from being an idealistic upstart to a company that has more cash on hand than many countries. It's natural, given this astounding change in 35 years, that its values and focus would change.