edit: It's also worth mentioning that he cleared out all the dead wood, in terms of leadership, fired the board and re-organized Apple around people whose talent and passion positioned the company well for the future. Most famously, Jonathan Ive was on his way out. Steve discovered him languishing in Apple's Industrial Design labs, creatively wilting, dying to be set loose on something daring. Jobs let him have his way, he built the first iMac and now he's a VP.
The most interesting thing about Apple, from my perspective and theirs, is how often they say no to new opportunities. Focus is the sword they used to cut through bullshit before the turnaround and the sword they use now to plow through a field of opportunities, executing on only the best of the best.
Apple of the early-to-mid-90's was just like any other company. Management fiefdoms, conflicting product strategies, and a sea of impossible to understand variations on the same products. Nothing got done. It survived on the fumes that came from the power of the original Mac, and the DNA that was baked into the company: computers should be made to empower everyone.
The contrast between our small (six person) company and the entrenched folks at Apple was amazing, especially since I had been one of them just a month or two earlier.
Us: Let's get this done. We're three months to financial destruction, let's move.
Apple: (totally not getting it)
... add to this people who stuck their heads in our meetings, saying "Sorry, I'm triple-booked, hi, see you next week."
I can't say I'm sorry to see the old Apple go. (I'm sorry that the Newton was never properly followed-through on, but that's another story).