The end to Apple's dominance in the consumer space is nigh
When I do the calculations it's just near impossible for Apple to stay in the same market leading position that it's in now. Firstly due to sheer increase of competition and more players entering the game with offerings that finally match and even exceed those of Apple. Lets be honest gingerbread and honeycomb were an abomination on the tablet and over-complicated, buggy on the phone, Apple had no one to compete with.
The main advantages that Apple now has left over the competition is the App count and hardware that their now sub-par software runs on. I am giving them the hardware advantage, but it's very small now and will perhaps be abolished in the coming month/year as OEM's push more and more industrial design influenced models with great specs. Also distinguished product lines emerging with Surface and Nexus, where the devices will act as standard setters and accessory manufacturers can now make accessories aimed at a dominant share of focused Windows and Android devices.
Having used Windows 8 on a tablet I will without a doubt say that it offers the better mobile OS experience than iOS, it's more dynamic, interactive, flexible, just as simple, even easier to control by touch, has better multitasking and arguably the better gesture support and overall just feels alive in comparison. I pretty much believe the claim now that there are absolutely no compromises in respect to Windows 8/RT as a mobile OS and once you get over the absence of the start button and switching between desktop and metro, then the desktop experience is even better than on Windows 7.
So what do we get? A: A horde of tablets that run a better mobile OS, are just as thin, light and have equal or better battery life and allow the use of desktop apps when required. With every passing month after the release of Windows 8/RT and as the app count rapidly rises consumers will find it hard to justify the purchase of an iPad as the flexibility, options, the fact that its a PC too and plethora of choice of form factors available will ultimately win out.
Apple has to do a complete iOS overhaul and Apple understands this, but at the same time it's hindered from doing so because it has to retain backwards compatibility with older apps and the look and feel of its user interface. So it's a catch 22 situation for Apple where it will have to stay significantly longer with the aged iOS UI concepts as Windows 8 and Android rapidly advance to be even more dynamic and adopt even more advanced integration, notification and information presentation methods.
You herd it here
first. Apple and Ms are about to take the exact same market-share positions on >$400 tablets as they now do on more traditional PC form-factors. With the lower end also being dominated by Android and Windows 8. I know Apple's mindshare and consumer loyalty is unparalleled but still I just can't see the majority of consumers now justifying the purchase of devices powered by iOS,especially those under 35 or so.
For the foreseeable future I think Google will actually come out to be a serious force to be reckoned with, perhaps overtaking everyone. Since long ago they bet on the right horse, that is services (web, local, search, maps, video, docs) etc. In comparison Microsoft search and other services are rather sub-par and stale in comparison. SkyDrive and Office 365 being the exception, but they are strictly utility and productivity tools. Of course we could all be in for a shock if Apple rapidly changes iOS and by same time next year releases a different animal altogether. That being said if Microsoft manages to up its services, especially search then it will have a huge lead over everyone as the quality of its platforms and respectively tools and OS's is unmatched. Just can't help to notice how much more strategically, technologically better placed/equipped Ms and Google are over Apple, but with Apple sporting the fattest wallet I am sure it can buy into many of those assets.