Regular readers of this blog will know that I am an Apple lover. I have made no bones about the fact that more and more every day I rely on both my iPad and my iPhone. With the premature recent passing of Steve Jobs I really started to think about the influence that he, and Apple, had on the world today. 

Apple is no longer just a company or a brand, Job’s worked tirelessly to see it become the most influential company in the world today. Why do I say this? Well to put it quite simply Apple has changed the buying and consumption habits of millions of people around the world and is in turn, changing all of our business models.

It is undoubtedly true that Apple’s financial results really have improved hugely year on year, announcing revenues $28.27 billion in their quarter ending September 2011 compared to revenue of $20.34 billion, in the same quarter the year before, but I would argue this doesn’t go anywhere near explaining the influence they have had on the market. To understand this we must look at the three ways Apple have changed the way we consume;

Apple made us all technophiles

If I look at my own family I can see this in practice. My parents traditionally shied away from technology and would never “risk,” as they saw it, using their credit card online. Then along came the iPad, now my parents browse the web like experts and happily clock up a small fortune on their iTunes account, which is of course linked to their credit card.

Then at the opposite end of the age spectrum there are my nieces and nephews who seem almost perplexed by any phone or device which is not touch enabled, so used are they to the iPad and iPhone technology. This is where Apple have succeeded where others have failed they have broadened their market from the IT savvy few, to everyone.

This acceptance by young and old has to be seen as a result of the amazing job Apple have done in building the ‘i’ brand which has become such a must-have that without fail you can see an iPad or iPhone on the table of every coffee shop in every country.

Apple broke the strangle hold of the ‘open’ Internet

If I think about how I consumed online information before my iPhone it has changed significantly. Three years ago if I was looking for anything, say a restaurant, I would quickly jump on Google and do a quick search, now however there is “an app for that” and for everything, and I like many millions of Apple customers am happy to trust that app to help me make my choice.

Apple has usurped the power of the internet and has introduced us to the power of the dedicated app. What is interesting is that everything on the app store is controlled and vetted by Apple and as such is a very closed paradigm.

The genius of Jobs lay in realising people will give up anything for convenience including their hard earned cash, and day by day he has been proved correct as customers happily pay for these apps which provide information that could be found for free elsewhere.

Apple made mobility as must for the enterprise

Before the huge success of the iPhone those of us in the world of business were happy just to receive our emails on our mobile device. However along came the iPhone which made us realise how much more is possible.

This set us to thinking what could be achieved if everything we do at the office could be done on our phone as David Goldschlag VP Mobile Technology McAfee noted: “The iPhone changed the whole world, because all of a sudden the people within the enterprise were demanding that the iPhone be used. And then it became the CFO’s job or the CIO’s job to say yes, rather than to say no.”

This is the challenge we are all now faced with making our enterprise truly mobile, allowing our key staff to have the information they need at their finger tips when they need it.

I could go on and on about the very many ways Apple have changed the way the world of business and online consumption work but I think you see where I am coming from. Apple have laid down the gauntlet and the other mobile giants including RIM and Google now need to play catch up.

The war of the mobile giants will rage for many years and who will win is anyone’s guess. What is clear however is that now we in the enterprise need to grasp mobility and take it for all the competitive advantage it can bring.