There's a meme that's floated around for a few years now without being challenged, and it's that the success of Apple is explained by their focus on design, in particular through the work of a couple of in-house geniuses. The idea that their success is explained by the individual genius of Ive and Jobs is a convenient myth for them to encourage, but I don't think it's the whole story. And they don't think so either: witness the efforts to systematise their success by setting up an internal university, or Tim Cook's assertion that they don't share details of their process because it's part of their competitive advantage

Rather, what makes them scary, and probably fun, to compete with is that they do very well at very many things. Design is a part of this, but their software quality is good relative to their peers: witness the flood of developers moving from Windows to BSD-based MacOS in the early 2000s. They have done incredible things logistically (there's a good tale in the Jobs biography about their buying up capacity on air freight to get iPods delivered, I think). Their marketing is clear and consistent. And so on.

I don't mean to eulogise them here. Not everything they touch turns to gold (just look at Ping, or iAd) and I find the regulations and control around the App Store a little hard to stomach; they feel like they lead to a slightly cloying Disney-like experience sometimes. But the idea that to succeed like Apple, you just need to "get design" and have a few solitary geniuses? It's inaccurate and naive.