What Makes Apple Different?

I have a question for all of you that, for the life of me, I just can't answer on my own: what makes Apple different?

Yes, I know it's a question that's been posed before, and some have said in the past that it was Steve Jobs or the company's massive cash coffers. Others have said it's a corporate culture. But I just don't think any of those answers fully captures what truly makes Apple special and different.

About a month ago, I was sitting in front of my computer contemplating writing a column here on SlashGear about Apple's seeming transition from a fast-moving, innovation-hungry giant to a slow, cash-hungry super corporate giant that wants nothing more than to maintain its ground and continue to generate massive amounts of cash.

Before I wrote that column, however, I decided to wait until the Worldwide Developers Conference to give the company one last chance to make me feel I was wrong. I was looking for something innovative and special, something that could truly blow my socks off.

And that's when Apple announced the new Mac Pro. After seeing the device, I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn't written that column. Apple was still on top of its game, I thought. And the company was still the most innovative and future-focused firm in the industry.

So, now I'm back to the same old question: what in the world makes Apple so different that it can come up with a desktop that features all of that power in a 10-inch case? What makes Apple come up with these great ideas while other computer makers stand around waiting for Jonathan Ive to tell them what to do next?

[aquote]I don't think it's as simple as saying that Steve Jobs left a legacy[/aquote]

I don't think it's as simple as saying that Steve Jobs left a legacy that continues on to today. I also don't think that we can simply say that Jonathan Ive is the most inspired mind in the history of technology design. Believe it or not, companies like Dell, HP, and Samsung all have really, really smart and creative people working for them. And any one of those people can create something truly special.

No, I believe that Apple's secret sauce might have a combination of ingredients. I think it might be one teaspoon of Steve Jobs, a heaping of Jonathan Ive, a tablespoon of cash, and a pinch of ego. Apple believes that it's truly the best company in the market, and it wants nothing more than to shove that in the faces of all those who question it.

In other industries, a single company isn't the only one to innovate the way Apple is in the technology world. Quite the contrary, there are several companies that have the ability to deliver something interesting or unique.

And yet, Apple is far different. Like it or not, the company has been the only firm that has done the unthinkable and transitioned the entire market to focus on the products it has announced. That happened with the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. And it's going to continue in the years ahead.

But as for why Apple is different? Well, I'm not quite sure. So, let us know what you think in the comments below.