ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer has a test to identify the alpha of the alphas among NFL quarterbacks: If four QBs are in the same car, who drives? In a mighty techmobile, Apple definitely has the keys—because where it goes, everyone follows. Siri may not have been introduced with a Jobsian public performance, but it dominated (and created) conversation ever since and prompted Amazon and Google to snap up rival Siri technologies. Think of it: They had to compete in a space Apple just created. And in some places, the followers can barely keep up. The camera on the iPhone 4S is so advanced that it alone would have cost $500 just a few years ago; iPads dominate the tablet market; Apple is winning in greater China (12% of fiscal 2011 revenue, 400% better than the previous year); and new CEO Tim Cook is reportedly bringing a more humane leadership style. Until someone outplays Apple, it's the starter.
Illustration by Peter Oumanski