Exactly my view of Apple's "greatness"
As a technology company they are only 'above average' ... but they are the greatest marketing company ever!
Yes, they have changed the direction of the market (with the iPhone for example), but again, touch screen phones were NOT NEW (neither were ipods): technology-wise they did not really contribute much with the exception maybe of the user experience from a UI perspective. BUT they made them COOL and DESIREABLE where everybody else had failed to ignite interest. And the COOL and DESIREABLE meant that the market could turn e.g.
- Price points previously prohibitive to their competitors using say capacitive instead of resistive technology (selling only 'technology') for a better user experience was breached
- user expectations of long battery life were altered in exchange for the DREAM
- the DREAM made users accept less features (a race that is now starting again in smartphones!)