Apple, the company, first began as a manufacturer of personal PCs and faced direct competition from the likes of Commodore, IBM, Tandy, Xerox, etc. Since its beginnings in 1977, Apple has diversified itself into a maker of portable music players (iPod Mini
, iPod Photo
, iPod Shuffle
, iPod Nano
), smart phones or PDAs (iPhone
), Laptops (Macbook, Macbook Air and Macbook PRO) as well as desktop PCs (iMacs). Other than that, Apple Inc. also develops its own software to go with its hardware products; this includes the Mac OS X operating system, iTunes, Quicktime, iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, iWeb, GarageBand and the web browser that is rapidly gaining popularity, Safari. Apple has strong competition in all its products, particularly in the form of Microsoft which goes head to head against Apple's OS X with Windows, iTunes with Media Player, iPod with Zune, etc but due to Apple's unique philosophy of combining aesthetic designs with no-nonsense functionality it has an uncommonly loyal customer base within and without the US. However, Apple has been criticized frequently due to its policy of not facilitating creation of software to run and maintain its devices (such as iPod and iPhone) other than its own iTunes. It was also criticized for making the iPhone available for use on only a single mobile service provider in the US and UK. Although Apple faces these and other criticisms, it still is a distinct brand in the computer hardware and software as well as consumer electronics industry. Accessories for the following laptop manufacturers are available at PDA Accessories
, iBooks by Apple
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