The retail initiative not only allowed Apple the perfect canvass to paint its own narrative of evolution of the CE business, but also provided total control of the consumer experience. This was critical to the success of its products ... from iTunes,iPod, iMac to the most recent iPhone.
Core to the success of Apple was the organization's belief in branding at a time when CE industry worldwide transitioned from analog to digital. The branding initiative and Apple's manic attention to design and customer experience were key factors that allowed the brand to catapult from the slipstream to mainstream and in fact lead the CE industry in innovation in terms of customer interface & branding...something that other industry titans forgot.
The challenge for Apple begins now... as staying on top is greater challenge than catching up. This means a transition from the "Windows" mocking ads to that being an industry leader and a visionary. And backing it up with consistent cutting edge product / service launches that are paradigm shifts without sacrificing the core elements of customer experience...not to mention an increased focus on branding that is mainstream COOL and NOT niche in its approach.
Will this quest for mainstream COOL lead to another disruptive invention / brand from Apple ... OR will it result in the launch of whole new distinct brand from Apple? Stay tuned...