Apple's secret ingredient: Clarity
While it frustrates some people when Apple redesigns Final Cut Pro or the Mac Pro and it no longer seems to serve the power-user base, it ultimate ends up empowering a far larger base. That's Apple's longstanding mission — to make technology ever-more accessible. And one of the primary ways Apple accomplishes that mission is through clarity. Jim Dalrymple, writing for The Loop:
One of the triumphs for Apple over the last decade was providing users with powerful software with a very simple interface. iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote and others showed people that software didn’t have to be complicated to be useful. That’s not to say that Apple’s consumer-level software isn’t powerful, because it is.
GarageBand, for example, uses the same audio engine found in Logic Pro, Apple’s professional digital audio workstation, but GarageBand has allowed millions of musicians to record music easily.
It goes beyond hardware, software, and services as well. It goes to Apple itself. My favorite recent examples is Tim Cook's re-org and what has followed from it as a direct result. It's also why, when Apple makes something that's not as simple or clear as it should be, the push back is so extreme. If you've got any favorite examples of Apple's clarity — or lack thereof — let me know!
(Also: I love Jim's long form stuff. I hope we see a lot more of it on The Loop.)