<img src="/sites/imore.com/files/images/stories/2010/11/Jobsipad.jpg" alt=How Apple's Steve Jobs out-Sony'd Sony" title="How Apple's Steve Jobs out-Sony'd Sony" width="400" height="224" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-43950" />

Interesting article over at SFGate detailing how Steve Jobs studies early Sony product development culture and Zen-like approach to design:

"It was very nearly fetishistic, in fact -- he even had a collection of Sony letterhead and marketing materials," laughs Deutschman. "Sony was a company that Jobs instinctively admired and saw as model from the very beginning. So it's been an interesting transformation over time, to see Apple supplant Sony as the center of the consumer technology universe."

Early Sony would wait, miss first-mover advantage, take their time and only release breakthrough, revolutionary products that could own a category, like Trinitron televisions and the Walkman. That Sony has faded away. (I covered this year's CES Sony presser for Android Central and... yeah, it wasn't good). But Apple under Steve Jobs has taken its place:

"I was at a party last night in central Tokyo that happened to have a bunch of twentysomething guests," [Douglas Krone, CEO of Dynamism and Gizmine] says. "Every time I saw something glowing, it was an iPhone. It was a chilling display of dominance -- five years ago, you would have seen 99.9 percent Japanese handsets and 0.1 percent Nokias and MotoRAZRs. Softbank's flagship stores look almost comical now, with rows and rows of iPhones broken only by the occasional row of iPads, in a space that used to have a wide array of handsets."

It's often been said that Apple and Jobs build the products they themselves want to have and that they're not as concerned with market as they are with "denting the universe". They've had challenges, including the MobileMe launch and the iPhone 4 antenna kerfuffle, but measured against iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, the resurgence of Mac, and the growth of Apple Retail the successes have been stunning.

The only question is whether or not Apple can keep it up or if they'll stray the way once-dominant Sony did?

[SFGate via Daring Fireball]