Hi Fillippo — many thanks for your comment.
Inasmuch as I share your general sentiment, I do beg to differ — emphatically. Here’s why: Apple’s success (past and present) is undoubtedly attributed to that elusive “brand values and personal goals” balance that very few brands (including Nike and Northface as you rightly pointed out) are able to strike.
Brutal simplicity, accessibility, and intuitiveness are some of soft values that not only personifies Apple as an empathetic brand, but can be attributed to the sometimes rabid fanatism of the rabble outside its stores during a new product launch. It resonates deeply — disconcertingly some may say — with people. In short, Apple has found it’s sweet spot — in my opinion — from finding where its product truth, intersects with the consumer and culture truth.
We do agree on one thing though, Empathy is no easy feat!