As with everything that Apple does in the past 24+ years, everyone tries to copy what they do. We saw it with the removal of a floppy disk from a computer (1990s). Initially the critics were criticizing Apple for removing the floppy disk being a stupid idea. Then manufactures begin to imitate what Apple does. Eventually we saw the death of floppy disk and drives.
Apple added Firewire (IEEE 1394) ports (late 1990s) to all their computers and "uneducated" critics thought that it was a proprietary port that Apple force upon consumers and was a waste.
Apple promoted the use of CD-R drives on all their computers, again critics claims that that was a stupid idea as CD-R media was too expensive and say that no one will need such large amount of storage for personal use. Apple does not listen and sent out all their Developers Program media on CDs only.
Apple took the MP3 player, redesigned it and released the iPod in 2003, the same critics come along and claim that Apple is just imitating manufactures like iRiver and others who had MP3 players in the market for years. What Apple did instead was reinvented the mobile music concept with the 3-prong team of the iPod, iTunes audio jukebox and the iTunes Music Store.
Competitors try to imitate what Apple had done, by coming out with what they claim "iPod killers", which are devices that look like the iPod superficially but does not have the usability, nor do they have iTunes or the iTunes Music Store.
Others also try to over throw Apple's lead in the online music retail by launching their own online music stores to compete with Apple's iTunes Music Store, but again they do not have the iPod or the iTunes music jukebox.
In 2007 Apple released the iPhone 2G and changed the mobile phone industry. What they had done was to push the envelop of mobile phone design. They did not try to just create an extraordinary mobile phone, they also wanted to create an ultimate mobile connected information device. In doing so caused all the competitors to rethink their own mobile phone design directions.
Some critics criticizes the fact that the iPhone is not comparable to most high end smart-phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, HTC, etc., but what these critics keep missing is what Apple claims the iPhone 2G is capable of and that Apple is using the iPhone 2G as the first-device for the platform.
Can you remember what the iPod was like back in 2003? Could you have imagine the "3rd generation iPod nano" or the "2nd generation iPod Shuffle"? Can you image what the iPhone will be like in 5 years?
Over the years Apple had mostly been successfully in setting the expectations of their customers and audiences for Apple products and services. With the launch of the iPhone 2G on June 29, 2007, Apple released numerous amount of information; including videos, of what the iPhone is and the various things one can do on it.
Similarly, AT&T wanted to do the same expectation management with the launch of the iPhone 3G, and created the AT&T iReady program; including videos. What the iReady program and accompany videos did was to highlight the complexities of purchasing a mobile phone from a carrier and how poor a shopping experience it is.