specialised in making gadgets that have enormous appeal but are for some reason not obvious to other companies. In retrospect, the jukebox-in-your-pocket that was the iPod and networked-computer-that-happens-to-make-phone-calls that was the iPhone were blindingly obvious. Yet no other company executed them well enough to achieve mass uptake.
Nonsense really. Apple came late to every product sector after other companies proved there was a market.
The iPod outstripped other MP3 players (Creative, Digital River) because of the Record label deals with iTunes and ability to buy tracks rather than buy entire CD and rip it.
The iPhone was about 9 years after other smart phones (some were good), it was an iPod, + bought in GUI, cut down MacOS as iOS and Samsung reference phone design using Samsung SC6400 family chips.
Yes the GUI was far better than S60 or WinCE (Nokia earlier had better GUIs they scrapped!), but no better than some other Linux based tiled interfaces on niche phones. It was the Operator promotion and cheap data plans that made it succeed. Previously cost arm & leg to use data on your "portable networked computer".
I had Nokia N9100 and then Nokia N9200i. The Nokia N9200 had browser, email, fax, office apps etc.
In neither case was it Apple tech innovation (SW or HW) but the deals with Record labels and Mobile operators. Frankly the iPod and iTunes was horrible. The lauded Apple GUI (which was a big improvement) was bought in and wasn't the reason for success. Phone contracts made it a success. My E65 was a better phone, had copy/paste, email, web browser but cost a fortune in data charges. Widgets were good (Nokia stupidly scrapped them and had the stupid Ovi store instead, loads of websites offered S60 apps, the Ovi store misunderstood by iTunes worked).
Let's stop re-writing history. Apple came late to every party, then overcharged for inferior HW spec and created walled gardens. They never have been a technical innovator, except maybe the Newton, though better PDAs existed earlier, Newton didn't deliver what it promised. Not Apple II, Lisa, Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad or Watch.