There are lots of opinions on this but that’s not going to stop me adding mine. My overly simplified take on why Apple has become hugely successful of late is that they focus on building long term relationships with their users.
While others are absorbed with creating features that help win the sale or are engaging in cheap tricks that help convert customers in the short term, Apple focus on creating products that build admiration and respect for their brand over time.
This means that those who own Apple products are unlikely to return to other brands and they also evangelise Apple products to others.
As Sachin Agarwal of Posterous very accurately pointed out in his recent post – A product is not just about features. It’s about experience:
“You won’t find a matrix where Apple compares their product to a competitor by feature. They measure products by the experience.”
The other ingredient for their current success is that I believe the IT consumer market is maturing and people are actually realising that the user experience is actually more important than the number of features.