My answer, originally published on Quora.
Q: Does Apple get too much credit for its UI design?
Why does everyone treat Apple UI like god?
Apple deserves the credit. First they discovered UI metaphors that are so intuitive that they seem to be hard-wired into our brains. And then Apple built their products around them.
I've witnessed an 18-month old go into his mother's purse, pull out the iPhone, use it to play a "Thomas the Tank Engine" video, then play a baby color-matching game, and then put the phone back in the purse. This kid's vocabulary was limited to about 10 words and he couldn't understand 2-part statements like "go pick that up and then bring it here" Yet he could understand, intuitively, how to use an iPhone even though no one explicitly taught him how to use it.
When your UI is that good, you definitely deserve the credit. Apple continually raises the bar for the entire industry.