Apple Inc., the manufacturers of Macs, iPods, iPhones, iPads and professional software, has achieved great success since it began in 1977. It's difficult to predict what will happen to this company in the future, but a SWOT analysis (which measures the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to a business) can help to understand the company's current position and where it may go in the future.
Apple's strengths are being a design innovator that is ahead of the trends, creating ergonomic electronics that fit people's lives. Specifically, Apple has been able to invest significantly in research and development, having invested $80 million in the quarter ending in June 2010.
Apple acknowledges that its profitability is dependent on the global economy. Economic downturns can have a significant negative effect on the company, and fluctuations in foreign currencies make profit predictions in foreign markets uncertain.
Apple is expected to introduce a new mobile advertising platform for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The introduction of this advertising platform represents an opportunity for new revenue sources.
Apple is involved in several legal actions, including lawsuits alleging patent infringement and antitrust violations. Many of the suits are from smaller companies, but notable plaintiffs include Nokia. These lawsuits present a threat because of the possibility of unfavorable judgments and the ongoing costs associated with legal defenses.