For the third year in a row, Apple was named number one in a new annual survey of the top 10 most innovative companies.
Almost 80 percent of the respondents in the 700-company survey by management consulting firm Booz & Company named Apple as one of the top three most innovative companies in the world.
Google, which took the second spot overall, ahead of 3M, was listed in the top three by 43 percent of respondents.
"Apple's innovation focuses on bringing together different parts of an ecosystem and tightly integrating them together with meticulous attention to detail" Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin was quoted as saying by CNN.
"They refine consumer capabilities in an approachable offering with broad appeal," Rubin told Wired magazine, a leading tech publication, via e-mail.
Samsung, number four on Booz's list, takes a different approach than Apple, making a point to incorporate the latest technologies into its products, like large OLED displays and NFC.
"Other companies, like Dell, focus on relatively unglamorous innovation in process and manufacturing," Rubin said. And then there are companies like Google, whose innovation is largely left to prototypes and concepts, things like Project Glass.
"I think Apple is a leading innovator among tech companies - but innovation comes from many companies, and it's easy to point to clear examples from many of Apple's competitors," Forrester analyst Charles Golvin told Wired.
Interestingly, innovation (at least in the surveyors' eyes) is not tied with R&D spending. Apple's absolute R&D expenditures rank it 16th within its industry, CNN noted.
Microsoft, the top R&D spender in the software and Internet area, was ranked as the sixth most innovative company.
Golvin thinks Apple will continue to be a leader in innovation in the coming years, despite doubts about the company now that Steve Jobs is out of the picture.