CUPERTINO, Calif. (
) -- Despite the
PR nightmare, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that
(AAPL - Get Report)
iPhone 4 antenna blunder will greatly impact the company's quarterly earnings report, which hits today after market close.
at 4 p.m. Eastern -- we'll be live-blogging the earnings call and answering questions from readers.)
In fact, the following sample of recent comments from Apple fans, culled from
and the margins of our own stories, underlines how Apple enjoys a brand awareness and customer loyalty that few companies can match:
"The names of the game are innovation and integration. Apple is the absolute leader here and that's the secret of their success."
"Note to Steve Jobs: Please help make the world a better place by making crappier products. If you only could even the playing field by making a more difficult user interface ... or perhaps making your iPad slow and buggy by adopting Flash, then the world would be more fair."
"I'd like to see a test of smart phone reception phone-to-phone with various hand positions as well as hands-free just to see how the new phone stacks up to Droids, etc. Until then, Apple haters should just STFU!"
"I heart my iPhone 4." -- Jonas Brother Joe Jonas, via Twitter.
"[Apple's] brand loyalty is a little unusual in this day and age, when so many options are [on the market]," said Priya Raghubir, professor of marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business, in an interview with
. "The fact that they have got this almost militant customer base suggests that they are doing a lot of things right."
Then numbers suggest the same thing. 3 million iPads sold in 80 days. 3 million iPhone 4s sold in three weeks. And 30,000 followers on Twitter for Apple iOS exec Scott Forstall -- though he has yet to tweet anything.
So what is it about Apple that has inspired what can almost be described as a cult-like following?