15 Years of Apple’s Homepage

I was looking at screenshots of Apple.com’s former homepages (using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine) and decided to compile them into a slideshow. With the exception of Apple’s homepage in 1997, it’s pretty remarkable how little the core design has changed:

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After 15 years, the layout of Apple.com is still the same: prominently feature the latest product, with 3-4 little boxes below that highlight other recent products and company news. The homepage has become more evident and intuitive each year. Bigger pictures, less copy, bolder text, fewer items to click… It’s like a giant billboard. They stuck with a format that worked and continually refined it. [The two biggest changes: they moved the navigation bar to the top in 2000, then gave the entire site a facelift with the introduction of Leopard in 2007.]

It goes without saying that Apple’s strength is design, but their homepage deserves credit for being great for so long. Ever since its early days, Apple.com has moved in the direction of being more friendly, focused, simple, and beautiful.

Bonus: Take a look at how Microsoft, Dell, HP, IBM, and Sony’s homepages have evolved over the years. Much bigger redesigns.

If you liked this post… You might enjoy Should Apple use Google’s Hammer?

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Charlie Hoehn is a speaker and the author of Play It Away (“Here's the cure to your stress!” -Tony Robbins) and Recession Proof Graduate. He has presented at the Pentagon and three TEDx events. His article about the importance of play is the #1 result on Google for the search “cure anxiety." He was the former Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss, and helped launch The 4-Hour Body (#1 NYTimes bestseller, million copies sold). Charlie's work has been featured on NPR TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. He lives in Austin, Texas.

This Post Has 69 Comments

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  7. dougieladdDoug

    Really interesting how the basic structure is more or less the same for so many years. Thanks for doing that, it was interesting. Do apple design their own site or do they outsource it to a design company?

  8. Webmarketing

    Apple is an incredible corporate. I Always look at it as the work possibility of my dreams ;-)

    I also studied a lot the marketing strategies of apple and their marketing team is absolutely AMAZING.

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  16. GeorgeMillo

    The first thing I noticed in the 2000 screenshot of Microsoft’s homepage was the picture of an Xbox. I did a double take. Xboxes have been around for 13+ years? I feel old.

  17. GeorgeMillo

    The first thing I noticed in the 2000 screenshot of Microsoft’s homepage was the picture of an Xbox. I did a double take. Xboxes have been around for 13+ years? I feel old.

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  19. Vince

    Awesome slideshow. Thanks for putting it together. It looks like Apple took the road of incremental changes and ongoing refinement.

  20. Vince

    Awesome slideshow. Thanks for putting it together. It looks like Apple took the road of incremental changes and ongoing refinement.

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  28. NatalieMac

    Thank you so much for putting this together. I think it’s a perfect illustration of the important of consistency in branding and a big huge argument for incremental design changes over time rather than massive re-designs. Great work!

  29. NatalieMac

    Thank you so much for putting this together. I think it’s a perfect illustration of the important of consistency in branding and a big huge argument for incremental design changes over time rather than massive re-designs. Great work!

  30. technik84

    A prime example of why “simple” design is “timeless”. To essentially keep the same layout for over a decade is basically unheard of in web design. Why? Because most designers/companies make their websites too complicated. I’m not really a fan of Apple’s products but I’ve always appreciated their website because it works. Simple navigation, hero banner and a few featured products/stories at the bottom with a basic footer. Easy to manage, update and tweak over the years to keep the design fresh.

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  35. bailorg

    On Slide 14: “Apple announces Q4 profit of $170 Million.”

    How times change.

    Stupid stock market…

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  46. web marketing Doc

    Il sito Apple ha fatto scuola nella web usability. Ancora oggi che quest’ultima sta prendendo tante direzioni, uso questo sito web come esempio di come sia possibile avere un sito enorme senza doverci mettere i sottomenu a comparsa “on mouse over”. Si può fare!

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  55. Mike

    Is there a way to watch this on the iPad? Pretty frustrating; this page looks totally messed up on my iPad and the slideshow doesn’t start.

    1. Charlie

      I got in touch with Slideshare about this glitch. No clue why it’s doing that.

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  59. Peter Garety

    This is great Charlie, it gives a lesson how less important are fancy graphics and what is the real value when it comes to selling products.

  60. Timmy

    Charlie,

    Bro. Wayback Machine is AWESOME! I had never heard of it before today. Yesterday I’m viewing news websites in real time, today I’m viewing them from 2001 the day after 9/11. It’s f*cking incredible. Your slideshows are awesome, but mentioning Wayback Machine really made this post valuable. Thanks for sharing!

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