Apple (ticker symbol: AAPL) is one of the world's leading consumer electronics and personal computer companies. The Cupertino, California-based company was established in 1977 as Apple Computer Inc. It dropped the "Computer" from its name in early 2007.
Apple's current place in the global marketplace is a far cry from its humble beginnings, with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne selling hand-made personal computer kits in the late '70s. The company continued to focus on personal computers for the following decades, but in recent years that focus has shifted more to consumer electronics such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod. However, Apple also sells a range of related software, services and applications, with some of the most prominent non-electronics products being the iCloud, iOS, Mac OS and Apple TV. In addition, the company sells and delivers digital applications and software through its iTunes Store, App Store, iBookstore and Mac App Store.
Apple has remained focused on developing its own hardware, software, operating systems and services to provide its customers with the best user experience possible. A significant fraction of the company's efforts also go toward marketing and advertising as it believes such efforts are essential to the development and sale of its products.
The company - the principal executive offices of which are located at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California 95014 - has retail stores around the world, with more than 300 locations as of 2012. Apple has five reportable operating segments: Americas, Europe, Japan, Asia-Pacific and Retail. The geographic-based segments do not include the results of the Retail segment.
Despite Apple's market-leading position, the company still faces a number of risk factors, which include changing global economic conditions, fluctuating consumer demand, worldwide-competition and potential supply chain disruptions.