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Apple named most valuable brand (yet again)

Technically Incorrect: Forbes' annual study of brands says Apple is still on top. Apple's brand value is almost twice that of Google's.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


So he wins again.

James Martin/CNET

It's been around forever.

Some deem it a has-been, trading on past glories.

They decry its latest work as so much hype over hope.

The software, they say (with some justification) is all over the place and the hardware is beginning to look dull.

Yet here is Apple again being named the world's most valuable brand by Forbes.

This survey likes to put a number to the value of a brand. In this case, it's $154.1 billion.

The criteria by which a brand's value was analyzed is mostly financial. Forbes looks at earnings, the price-to-earnings ratio and the importance of brand in the particular industry in which a company operates.

When it comes to tech, brands matters a lot. Though it frustrates some die-hard engineery sorts, customers are willing to pay more for the Apple brand. They also still covet it. It's a feel thing.

The truth is that Apple has slowed down.

Phones have become more essential and therefore less exciting. Android still has a far wider reach than Apple. Neither the Apple Watch nor Apple Music have enthralled people to any intolerable levels of excitement.

But Apple has managed to not only keep people in its ecosystem, but also to somehow traverse generations.

Young people ought to dismiss the Apple brand. It's 40 years old. It's dad's thing. Hell, it's grandad's thing.

Yet a recent survey showed that in the US, 75 percent of teens expect their next phone to be an iPhone.

Is that an expression of Apple's supposed marketing genius? Or is part of Apple's success an expression of its competition's inability to understand what makes people feel good? (The latter is sometimes underrated.)

Of course, it's not necessarily the same in other parts of the world, where Apple must still fight to create that kind of loyalty and enthusiasm. China is one example.

Google came second in the Forbes survey. Its brand value number was $82.6 billion. This represents a rise of 26 percent over 2015. (Apple's brand value went up only 6 percent.) Microsoft came third and Facebook came fifth. (Coke was the lone nontech brand in the Top 5.)

You might wonder whether Apple just got lucky this year.

Well, Forbes has conducted this survey since 2010. This is the sixth time Apple has come out on top.