Look at the positives
It is easy to slag Apple off for just taking other peoples technology and using it. Such is the case with any commodity/manufacturing company, however, it misses the point.
Apple are Designers par excellence. This is not just slapping a few components in a pretty box with a bow on the front, anyone can do that and many have tried. What design, at its best, represents is careful and insightful thought into how to connect the bits together and importantly how the user may use the item in the best way not only in terms of raw functionality but to make the use of the item intuitive.
It is this insight that pushes Apple out ahead of the pack and in itself this is inventive - it certainly provides a very tangible benefit to the users. In many ways Apple provide the usability benchmark (which they keep moving) and as a result everybody has to improve. This detailed inventive, creative thought process (bordering on obsession) of course does not stop there - the internal and external form and function must also be right.
Design at this level is analogous to the architect. You have to see how the building relates to its environment, make sure it looks good, functions well mechanically, and ensure that the building works well for the users of it. You are concerned with the whole design from the widest view to the function of the bolts on the toilet door.
Clearly no one is perfect and I would guess that, to people who get irritated by an inelegantly routed wire, the recent woopsie with the iphone antenna was the cause of much angst and soul searching - these people will care!
To be a large successful company and still be innovative and also have a productive R&D arm is a tall order and requires different cultures in different parts of the organisation. If the prevailing culture is that of the dead hand of the bean counters, or the superficiality of the marketers you will struggle. Some companies manage it to a greater or lesser degree. Companies with a strong vision, often young and owned by the founder can have a purity of purpose. This is helped if they are privately owned as decisions are make quickly and you do not have to worry about the short term city gamblers reactions.
Apple is an established company that is, unusually, led by its founder - a man with a very strong vision and an aesthete to boot. Probably uniquely as a technology company they are design led.
For all it's faults Apple has a role to play challenging the more stodgy companies to raise their game. The world could do with a few more fruit in other areas.