Apple earned the title of being the most valuable brand in the world. Even after releasing two refreshed iPhone 5 models, the 5S and the 5C that were initially greeted by the financial markets negatively, the tech giant replaced Coca-Cola as the most valuable brand. Apple’s 5C/5S also went on to sell 9 million units on the weekend of the launch.

Even though Android competitors try hard to tease the supposed sheepie loyalists, what is it that keeps Apple so valuable? Last year, the company botched an in-house Maps app release. Even the cannibalization of the iPad by its own iPad mini failed to reduce the value of the company’s financial performance.

Below, Nokia took a shot at Apple for copying its colors by tweeting that “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” 

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Apple brand has highest worth

According to the report, Apple’s brand is worth $98.3 billion, up 28% from last year. Apple’s brand was recognized to be worth more than Google, Microsoft, and Samsung. Samsung edged higher compared to last year because the company adopted a marketing strategy that raised the “social purpose” of the company. From a technology standpoint, Samsung is introducing great waves of innovation in its smartphone. The devices have bigger screens and faster processors.

BlackBerry out, Nokia drops

Unsurprisingly, BlackBerry disappeared from the list altogether. The firm was 93rd ranked last year.  Sales for BlackBerry devices, most notably the new BlackBerry 10, dropped very rapidly that the firm quickly announced its intent to be sold by November. Nokia dropped to 57th spot, down from 19 in 2011. Nokia exited the devices and services by selling the division to Microsoft.

Apple innovation slowing

Despite the higher brand value of Apple, some may argue that Apple’s rate of innovation is slowing. Apple snubbed the budget market by releasing not a Cheap phone but Colorful ones with the 5C. The 5C/5S both have small display screens, though a fingerprint security scanner was added on the 5S and the photography functionality was improved. Apple also moved the iPhone to a 64 bit architecture, which will give support for more memory in future devices.

In the tablet space, the iPad  brand is synonymous with tablets, but since its introduction, Apple slowed down new product releases. Innovation to the Internet TV and wearable devices have yet to be announced. Conversely, search giant Google is developing computers that could be worn like glasses while Samsung introduced a watch gadget.

Chinese brands missing

Oddly enough, well-known Chinese tech brands were missing from the top brands list. For example, Lenovo and HTC were not on the list.

Customer satisfaction matters

Innovation is only one aspect of a company’s success. Apple might be seen as lagging in this area, but the company does not need to introduce radical things to keep its customers. Strong iPhone 5S sales are like a testimonial to strong customer satisfaction. By selling high quality products that customers appreciate, Apple is able to sell more phones every year. The satisfaction is also at the software level. Google applications seem to run better on an iPhone than on, say, a powerful Samsung S4 device.

Apple dominance could continue

Expect Apple’s brand value to increase over time. It was rumored that Apple needs Samsung again to build the A8 chip. TSMC is the other company that was supposed to supply much of the chips. The company recently hired Nike FuelBand designer Ben Shaffer, which could mean a wearable Apple product in the future.

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