Horace Dediu answering a question during an interview with John Cox, has the following to say about Apple and how it approaches the business of selling hardware:
Apple changed the basis of competition from hardware as the primary value consumers paid for to a combination of hardware, software and services. Being competitive changed from having good hardware to having good hardware, good software and services — made usable through integration.
The “made usable through integration” bit is perhaps the most notable change of Apple in recent years and I think the reason that iOS has really taken off. We all like to hate on the mess known as iTunes, but the fact remains that iTunes made syncing the first iPhone relatively painless for Mac users. Fast forward to today and you have iCloud, which from my own use, has been even better than iTunes — and that’s before you take into account the fact that iCloud requires no cable.
Apple is in the process of taking everything that makes using multiple devices a pain in the ass, and removing that pain from your ass — so to speak. Cables: gone. Contact/Email/Calendar syncing: done. Moving photos from your device to computer: done. Backups: check. If you stop and remember where we were before 2007, then you can truly appreciate all the advancement that Apple has had a hand in bringing forth.