That's the last thing manufacturers want. They saw what happened to the PC hardware market, which was basically a race to the bottom on price. If they can do ANYTHING to differentiate themselves from each other they will, even if it means they have to support hardware themselves. Unfortunately they want it both ways, selling commodity hardware with a "unique" wrapper.
IDK, different laptop manufacturers can differentiate themselves pretty well, XPS,Thinkpads,Elitebook,etc all of them have a reasonably well defined market
Frankly Apple has NEVER been ahead of the curve, they are a brand, like Prada and Nike. You look at even the machines Apple releases on their refresh and you can get machines that very same day that have MOAR power, MOAR memory, MOAR speed, and cost less. the ONLY thing that sells Apple is the brand, because it'll never be hip to carry a Dell or an HP, that's all.
I dont have other examples, but the REALLY high res displays ("Retina") on their phones and laptops do kind of put them ahead of the curve
While all the other manufacturers refused to listen to consumers asking for something better than 1366*768 or 1080p, Apple did go ahead and make a laptop and tablet with a higher res diaplay
(and ofc the Macbook Air form factor)
Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?