Apple has really become the poster child for how design can truly differentiate a brand and its product and produce rabid customer loyalty. In an industry where every piece of hardware is susceptible to commoditization, Apple is uncompromising in its commitment to produce well-designed products.
The results speak for themselves. A discussion with a Mac or iPod owner will often garner emotional praise. Just about any business – especially technology – can learn a lot from committing that time to good, thoughtful design.
HCI pioneer Don Norman talks about Apple in a recent BusinessWeek article.