The first thing to know about the company is that its mission in life is to create great, easy to use products. This statement might seem ambiguous, but it's packed with some very powerful meaning. Jobs revealed this guideline at his MacWorld keynote in 2001, stating that the Mac would become the center of a digital lifestyle. At the time, we assumed he meant the Mac computer—it turns out that he meant the Mac OS.
Indeed, since then the Mac OS has become the center of the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and now the iPad. Jobs has a single code base to work with, which lets him create all types of products. Having a single core OS that is consistent throughout devices is Apple's second basic tenet. Once you learn the Mac UI, you can pretty much operate any other product in Apple's line. I cannot emphasize how important this is. In fact, this is a security blanket for Apple users. They may not articulate this when asked why they like the company, but it's one of the major reasons they keep buying Apple products.
The third basis tenet of Apple's strategy is the creation of receptacles for the Mac OS. Today the list includes the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. But you can be sure that when Apple introduces new versions of Apple TV or any other new product line, it will also be built around the Mac OS and will be tied to Apple's ecosystem of software applications
and services. These applications and services are designed around strict guidelines so they can conform to Apple's consistent UI, making them easier for consumers to understand and use. You can also be sure that these devices will be elegantly designed, another key driver for Apple's products.
If you keep these guidelines in mind, it's pretty easy to anticipate what Apple will bring to market. These principles drive the company's R&D efforts and eventual products. The actual form factors of these devices are always a mystery until they're actually announced, of course, but all take advantage of the Mac OS, its UI, and the company's ecosystem of software and services.
The mystique, ultimately, is tied more to Jobs than to Apple. Although he is back at work and in the public eye more often, Jobs is still a very private person. But he is well known for his role in commercializing the personal computer
and reinventing the MP3 player. He's a legend around the world. The fact that he doesn't talk much about himself, combined with the company's penchant for secrecy, lends an air of mystique to the whole thing.