For over a third of Macworld readers Apple is all about innovation.

Asked "What does Apple mean to you?", 36 per cent of Macworld Online readers said innovation was the company's defining characteristic.

This view is echoed by Advertising Age which this week named the company as one of the top a branding success story, declaring that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is "once again at the forefront of innovation".

A further 31 per cent believe Apple is synonymous with ease-of-use. Apple itself makes great play of this.

For 16 per cent of readers, it's creativity that best characterizes. One reader said: "Apple makes software that prompts new ideas and new creative ways for me to work. Microsoft makes software that answers problems caused by old versions of its software."

Product design was pinpointed by 12 per cent of readers as being Apple's strongest suit. From the groundbreaking CRT iMac, the stark minimalism of the Power Mac G5, to the sleek iPod, the work of Apple's 36-year-old British-born design chief Jonathan Ive has made a huge global impact.

Despite Steve Jobs' iconic status Apple's King of digital cool won just 5 per cent of the vote.

Some even feel Jobs' presence can be a negative one: "He often becomes a scapegoat whenever the company is thought to be displaying arrogance."