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Apple’s iPhone: How Was Your Favorite Product Made?


People produce various things, both useful and entertaining, material and non-material, practical and creative. One can distinguish cultural and creative artifacts among all these products. Cultural artifacts can be defined as items that reveal valuable and useful information about the society that manufactured it or used it. For instance, paintings, films, cartoons, social networking websites, pottery, smartphones, or any other items that reveal the political, religious, social, or economic organization of the society that created them may be regarded as cultural artifacts. One of such interesting and famous cultural artifacts is the iPhone, first introduced by Steve Jobs, the chairman of Apple Inc., in 2007 (Campbell and Pastina 2). This little device changed the ways people shared information, allowing them to have access to any data they needed at any time and in any place. The following questions arise: how was an iPhone made, and what organizational processes were involved in its production? To answer these questions, one should analyze the history of Apple, Inc.’s development, its management and organizational structure, and the role of creativity in the manufacturing process.

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Brief History of Apple, Inc.

The company Apple, Inc. was first founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Rob Wayne, and Steve Wozniak (Johnson et al. 1). However, Wayne left the company, and Jobs and Wozniak remained. The primary attempts to introduce the first Apple computer to the market were unsuccessful, but the entrepreneurs did not stop developing their products. In 1978, the second Apple computer was introduced, and the sales doubled from 35,000 computers to 78,000 within a year (Johnson et al. 1). After that, the company hired new employees and began to grow significantly. Jobs began to introduce innovative products one by one, and in 2007, the first iPhone was created (Johnson et al. 1). The iTunes store sold more music the next year than the biggest supermarkets did, and the new era of online products and technologies began. The introduction of the iPad in 2010 increased music sales even more than the iPhone, and the company was considered “the world’s best company by many magazines” (Johnson et al. 1). Its success can be explained by innovation and creativity, as well as the management and marketing group cohesion, and some other factors.

Management and Organizational Structure

The role of managers in cultural industries is to shape organizational practices and find novel approaches to product development and sale. According to Lampel et al., managers have to identify the artistic values with the economics of the entertainment industry and find something innovative in their products to differentiate these products from others (263). Moreover, they need to analyze the demand and try to use imagination to expand the market. They also have to “build creative systems to support and market cultural products” and ensure that the inspiration of the product developers is not suppressed (Lampel et al. 263). All these tasks are not as easy to implement in the fast-changing world of new technologies. However, the executive team of Apple, Inc. demonstrated that the company producing computers, smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets, could be creative, innovative, and financially successful at once.

One should utilize the contract theory to understand how the iPhone was made and how it became popular and successful. According to Caves, “contract theory pays much attention to asymmetrical information, which usually involves a situation in which the seller knows key characteristics of the product not known to the buyer” (75). However, in the analyzed company, symmetrical ignorance takes place because nobody knows these characteristics. Thus, before creating a final version of a product, the producers ask the customers’ opinions about it and their wishes and demands. For example, when Jobs saw that his iPods were successful, he and his executive team began to think of the customers’ further needs. To succeed with this goal, the company had to involve the humdrum parties, such as independent manufacturers, labor, and strategic partners.

Before entering the cell phone market, Apple, Inc. developed its strong reputation for the Apple brand and the success of the iPod. The company utilized self-branding practices to generate its brand and associate it with the name of Steve Jobs. Bandinelli argues that self-branding is a “process of invention and production of the self” (13). Steve Jobs managed to create a narrative that helped him to persuade the audience that his company produced the products they really needed. His passion for his job and his will to invent something valuable and usable became the main source of motivation for the businessman and his colleagues.

Apple’s executive managers were flexible and capable too. For example, they introduced the new product, the iPhone, not as one of the cell phones that had already been popular at that time. Instead, they claimed that the Apple designers created a “full-fledged hand-held computer that could also make calls and browse the internet” (Lyytinen para. 2). Such a creative approach to product management and marketing allowed the company to achieve success and transform its products into cultural artifacts.

The role of humdrum parties should not be underestimated in the history of the iPhone’s success. Apple, Inc. relies on suppliers from all over the world to produce its technological items. For example, LCD panels are made in Korea due to high-quality concerns, while other important manufacturers are situated in China due to low prices (Johnson et al. 6). One can see that the company developed an effective supply system to increase its profits and decrease manufacturing costs. Labor is another important humdrum party because the company sells its products through marketing campaigns, customer service, and Apps. Apple, Inc. hires people in different countries to better understand the needs and preferences of the potential consumers from those countries. These employees are able to bring the company’s inspiration to the consumers and persuade them to buy new products. Without these humdrum inputs, the iPhone would not be as successful as it is nowadays.

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The Role of Creativity in the Production Process

The company Apple, Inc. is associated with creativity and innovations. Steve Jobs is a famous creative leader because he was known for his ability to look beyond the standards and frames. According to Runco and Albert, “creative people of all types became our culture’s heroes” (16). Such people are not afraid of changes and innovations, and they are not scared of taking risks. If Jobs gave up after his first failure, the company Apple would never exist. Thus, creativity was of high importance for the creation of such a cultural artifact as the iPhone.

The first key to Apple’s success was its chairman’s attitude to the employees. He did not see them as tools or robots whose only purpose was to complete the given tasks. On the contrary, the businessman knew that the positive relationships between the employees and their supervisors would lead to organizational success. Thus, to foster innovativeness and creativity in its employees, the company had to adopt a novel approach and deal with its employees effectively. Therefore, shared vision, the desire to innovate, and strong creative leadership became the fundamental characteristics of Apple, Inc.

Interestingly, the company did not rely on market research and did not focus on what its competitors did. On the contrary, it relied on its perfectionism and intuition while launching new products. Moreover, Apple, Inc. does not produce as many products as its competitors do. Instead, it focuses on the quality of its products, making their shapes, sizes, colors, functionality, and usability as perfect as possible. In such a way, before designing its first iPhone, Apple, Inc. created a product-oriented culture, making people believe that they really needed Apple products.


Having analyzed the creation of the iPhone, one can conclude that creativity and innovation were the keys to Apple, Inc.’s success. The company is a perfect example of a novel approach to business management and marketing. All employees share the same vision in this company, and their creativity and innovativeness are not suppressed but encouraged. Creative people are free to explore and implement their ideas, and this freedom makes them passionate and willing to invent the best products. In general, Apple, Inc. developed a strong and effective marketing strategy to launch the iPhone successfully. Instead of analyzing the market and examining the customers’ demands, the company created excitement about its products and justified its propaganda by manufacturing and selling a high-quality and desirable product. As a result, the customers were content with a great smartphone, and the company increased its profits significantly.

Works Cited

Bandinelli, Carolina. “The Production of Subjectivity in Neoliberal Culture Industries: The Case of Coworking Spaces.” International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, 2019, pp. 3-19.

Campbell, Heidi A., and Antonio C. La Pastina. “How the iPhone Became Divine: New Media, Religion and the Intertextual Circulation of Meaning.” New Media & Society, vol. 12, no. 7, 2010, pp. 1-17.

Caves, Richard E. “Contracts Between Art and Commerce.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 17, no. 2, 2003, pp. 73-83.

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Johnson, Katherine et al. “The Innovative Success that Is Apple, Inc.” Theses, Dissertations and Capstones, no.418, 2012, pp. 1-42.

Lampel, Joseph, et al. “Balancing Act: Learning from Organizing Practices in Cultural Industries.” Organization Science, vol. 11, no. 3, 2000, pp. 263-269.

Lyytinen, Kalle. “Understanding the Real Innovation behind the iPhone.” The Conversation, 2017, Web.

Runco, Mark A., and Robert S. Albert. “Creativity Research: A Historical View.” The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity, edited by James C. Kaufman and Robert J. Sternberg, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 3-19.

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