There is a popular meme that Apple will dominate media markets as well as the smart phone market. Certainly Apple is currently the largest digital music vendor and Apple has made incredible gains against RIM that would scare the crap out of me if I were them.
But the most interesting question to me is where all of this leads. And at the end of the day, I see Apple remaining the largest and most profitable vendor in these markets, but not the dominant technology. The reason for this is simple. One vendor cannot provide sufficiently diverse distribution channels, form factors, feature sets, and designs.
Currently Apple's biggest distribution challenge is the fact that iPhones are only avaliable on AT&T. But even when Apple eventually cuts a deal with Verizon, I think it will be at a distribution disadvantage. While Apple's phones today are in my estimation somewhat better than the best Android phones, markets don't collectively assess products that way. Imagine what the average consumer will do when going to a phone store and being confronted with ten phones that seem very similar, where one is an iPhone and the other nine are Androids. Odds are they will buy one of the Android models.
None of this means that Apple will be in any trouble. Apple will continue to be a wildly successful company because they will by far be the most profitable company in the mobile market. I don't think Apple is trying to maximize market share at all. That is a nice bonus, but what Apple wants is to be optimized for making the maximum amount of money possible.
By the way, in my example above where the consumer is presented with one iPhone and nine androids, I didnt include RIM. Why is that? Because its fairly clear that RIM cannot survive as a market leader. They are destined to become the next Palm. Not next week, or next month, but within 18 months their current 35% of the smart phone market will be below 20%. There is no magic in what RIM can do around delivering mail, but replicating the sexiness of the iPhone OS (just renamed iOS) and Android is not in their organizational DNA. They can't do it, and the gap between RIM and everyone else is going to become increasingly obvious. They may get bought, perhaps by a desperate Microsoft, or they may just whither, but there will be no competitive RIM OS, and so there will be no competitive RIM.