The news Monday that Apple Inc. is the richest corporation in United States history really should come as no surprise.
Now with a market worth of $632 billion, the Cupertino, Calif., juggernaut surpassed the former record of $616 billion set by rival Microsoft in 1999. Everywhere one turns there are iPads, iPods, iPhones and iMacs - all seemingly part of a hit Apple song that is probably available from iTunes.
Even though its latest quarter fell a bit short of analysts' expectations, the stock is still rising because of rumors of new iPhones and iPads arriving before Christmas - as well as some foray into providing live television.
The problem with companies like Apple and Microsoft is that we become so dependent on their products that when we are deprived of them, we are lost. For example, this editorial is some three hours past its deadline because a hard drive went bad in the author's iMac.
Deprived of access to email and the Internet, we felt like a junkie looking for a fix. Not to mention that without email we weren't sure how to get the piece to the opinion page editor.
Of course, had we known about the balky computer, our iPad would have filled in nicely. But it was at home.
The experience made us realize how accustomed we have become to the ease these products provide. It is therefore hard to do anything but marvel at companies that have such inventive minds at work. Ten years ago, the iMac had only been on the market a couple of years - and the phones, music players and tablets weren't available.
It has been a remarkable decade for Apple, as Monday's market cap record revealed. And, because of Apple, it has been a remarkable decade for consumers, too.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.