Even in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death and speculation that Apple could run into trouble with him gone — the boldness of the Apple’s brand continues to astound me.

Today, Apple’s iPhone 4S hit the stores. Yet, before I talk about the importance of it’s release, I should probably share my initial perception of the phone.

Personally, the iPhone 4S seemed (and still does) to be a bit of a letdown. After months of extreme anticipation and speculation, my expectations were certainly not met. My hope — a sleek new design with maybe a larger screen, easier typing capabilities and much of the wonderful little stuff that Apple does so well.

Instead, we were given the slightly older brother of the iPhone 4 (which is a great piece of machinery). Sure, a new camera with better resolution is great and video in full HD is sweet too, but none of this quite made me salivate as does nearly every other release that comes from my favorite company.

Truthfully, it all just seemed a little ho-hum to me. And even now, I feel like I could hold out from buying the iPhone 4S and just wait until the iPhone 5 is released.

Here’s the irony in it all. It turns out that maybe I am alone in my thinking. What’s more, maybe Apple’s brand is even stronger than I had ever imagined. They are already reporting that their initial stock of iPhone’s has completely sold out. Pictures have been released of massive crowds eagerly awaiting their new phone — with the anticipation of a child at Christmas.

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So it made me think, Apple’s brand may just be stronger than ever. I can’t help but wonder, as I see both passionate employees and customers waiting outside of Apple stores nationwide, that Apple is still the visionary company that we all knew it was. Yet also, and here’s the surprising part, I believe Apple has now also taken on the role of the underdog — an underdog the masses are rooting for. This position in the marketplace is nothing short of amazing.

Think about it. With Steve gone, Apple lost their visionary; their magician — but their faithful never let go of that magic. Customers still want to believe in Apple (I surely do). It’s why record setting droves of customers are waiting in lines for a less than adequate iPhone 4S.

And so it seems like Apple may just be holding all of the cards. As it is the company leading the competition, but is also that very same company that everyone wants to succeed and make it through these tough times.

If the iPhone 4S is any indication, it most certainly will.