The strongest brands in the world all share in their ability to conjure up demand for products that consumers hadn't even realized they wanted. As the late Steve Jobs famously put it, "It is not the customer's job to know what they want." In the end, the businesses that matter most to consumers happen also to be the ones that satisfy shareholders.
That's where Apple
An Apple a day
"We're here to put a dent in the universe," said former Apple CEO Jobs, and that's exactly what it did. After pioneering the personal computer, Apple products revolutionized one industry after another: The iPod and iTunes, which forever changed how consumers purchase and listen to music; the iPhone, which transformed the mobile industry and created the world's first smartphone; and the iPad, which achieved what rival Microsoft
Where Apple differs from Microsoft and other industry peers is in its ability to know its customers better than they know themselves. Apple propelled itself to the top by creating products that were easy to use and beautiful to look at. During a time when the PC reigned supreme, Apple proposed a partnership with Intel
Intel coined the term UltraBook last year, when the company invested $300 million in its Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund aimed at offering the same features that made Apple's MacBook Air such a success. This is another testament to the market disruption the Mac maker has caused, as smartphones, tablets and lite-weight laptops replace traditional PCs.
The way I see it, Apple's growth story is far from over.
With new products barreling down the pipeline, Apple's teaching us that you can't put a price-cap on innovation. Its latest iPad launched today, which will undoubtedly shake things up for rival tablet-makers Amazon
All-time record Mac and iPad sales powered Apple's latest earnings report. The tech giant sold 17 million iPhones for the period, 11.12 million iPads, 4.89 million Macs, and 6.62 million iPods. Apple closed fiscal 2011 with full-year revenue of $108 billion. And even without its visionary leader Jobs, Apple's in good hands with its new CEO, Tim Cook. The stock also hit an all-time high recently, passing $500 billion in market cap. Investors can expect big things from Apple going forward.
Built to perform
Apple creates value through innovation by capitalizing on opportunities that are hidden in plain sight. As investors, few things are as rewarding as riding a stock from $15 to $500. Pay attention to the brands that are connecting with customers, creating a sense of community around their productions and thinking to the future. Do this and you just may find the next Apple. Until then, experience the freedom of long-term wealth, with this special free report from The Motley Fool: "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich." To get an advanced look at this special bonus report click here now -- it's free.