It isn’t recent.
The only thing that has changed are some numbers. Some big numbers: largest company in the world, second most profitable company in the world, most profitable retail stores in the world, best-selling smart phone, second best-selling smart phone, best-selling tablet computer, etc.
Other numbers have not changed: customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, consumer ratings, etc.
So now we have some new numbers which make it easy to say “Apple is better.” But Apple has not changed. Apple is operating from the same principles, discipline, vision, and methods that they have always (with Steve and team) been operating from. What people who understand have been saying is no more true now than it was ten years ago: Apple is better. Not in trivial, transient ways. Not in the “My beliefs are right, yours are wrong” sense. Apple is doing, and has been doing, things much differently than any company—in any industry—for at least the past ten years. Apple’s products and operations are vastly superior. Many people have recognized this all along. Some people will never recognize it.
It’s just that now all the numbers confirm it.