You bring up the issue of retailing which I am surprised that no one else has touched on yet.
I think one thing that has been huge for Apple has been the Apple retail stores. People buy iPods for various reasons and then when they go to the mall or when their spouses drag them to the mall they see hey it's an Apple store let's go in.
They encounter a different shopping experience than what you get at Best Buy, Fry's, Circuit Sh*tty, etc. It kind of drives home the BMW kind of cache to the products.
I have more detailed thoughts about why Apple failed in the 90s and turned things around in the past 5 years but I'll post that on a seperate thread.