This telling of the story of iTunes and the iPhone suggests that this focus on the user experience not only defends against disruption, but it also provides an offensive advantage as well: namely, Apple increases its user experience advantage through the leverage it gains from consumers loyal to the company.
In the case of iTunes, Apple was able to create the most seamless music acquisition process possible: the labels had no choice but to go along. Similarly, when it comes to smartphones, Apple devices from day one have not been cluttered with carrier branding or apps or control over updates.
If carriers didn’t like Apple’s insistence on creating the best possible user experience, well, consumers who valued said experience were more than happy to take their business elsewhere. In effect, Apple builds incredible user experiences, which gains them loyal customers who collectively have massive market power, which Apple can then effectively wield to get its way – a way that involves maximizing the user experience.