Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL; previously Apple Computer, Inc.) is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company’s best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes the Mac OS X operating system; the iTunes media browser; the iLife suite of multimedia and creativity software; the iWork suite of productivity software; Aperture, a professional photography package; Final Cut Studio, a suite of professional audio and film-industry software products; Logic Studio, a suite of music production tools; and iOS, a mobile operating system. As of August 2010, the company operates 301 retail stores in ten countries, and an online store where hardware and software products are sold.
Established on April 1, 1976 in Cupertino, California, and incorporated January 3, 1977, the company was previously named Apple Computer, Inc., for its first 30 years, but removed the word “Computer” on January 9, 2007, to reflect the company’s ongoing expansion into the consumer electronics market in addition to its traditional focus on personal computers. As of September 25, 2010, Apple had 46,600 full time employees and 2,800 temporary full time employees worldwide and had worldwide annual sales of $ 65.23 billion.
For reasons as various as its philosophy of comprehensive aesthetic design to its distinctive advertising campaigns, Apple has established a unique reputation in the consumer electronics industry. This includes a customer base that is devoted to the company and its brand, particularly in the United States. Fortune magazine named Apple the most admired company in the United States in 2008, and in the world in 2008, 2009, and 2010. The company has also received widespread criticism for its contractors’ labor, environmental, and business practices
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that provides reliable location and time information in all weather and at all times and anywhere on or near the Earth when and where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible by anyone with a GPS receiver.
GPS was created and realized by the U.S. Department of Defense (USDOD) and was originally run with 24 satellites. It was established in 1973 to overcome the limitations of previous navigation systems.
In addition to GPS other systems are in use or under development. The Russian GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS) was for use by the Russian military only until 2007. There are also the planned Chinese Compass navigation system and Galileo positioning system of the European Union (EU).
GPS consists of three parts: the space segment, the control segment, and the user segment. The U.S. Air Force develops, maintains, and operates the space and control segments. GPS satellites broadcast signals from space, and each GPS receiver uses these signals to calculate its three-dimensional location (latitude, longitude, and altitude) and the current time.
The space segment is composed of 24 to 32 satellites in medium Earth orbit and also includes the payload adapters to the boosters required to launch them into orbit. The control segment is composed of a master control station, an alternate master control station, and a host of dedicated and shared ground antennas and monitor stations. The user segment is composed of hundreds of thousands of U.S. and allied military users of the secure GPS Precise Positioning Service, and tens of millions of civil, commercial, and scientific users of the Standard Positioning Service (see GPS navigation devices).
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