Jason Schwarz is the author of The Apple Revolution, an e-book.
The Apple CEO's recent statement to the media got lost among the noise of Google (GOOG - Get Report) phone hype, 3D televisions, and the flood of 2010 predictions coming from market commentators. Although Jobs' statement was as plain as vanilla, it was probably the most profound forecast of the year and deserves some analysis. When announcing that the App Store had surpassed 3 billion downloads, Jobs finished with his crystal ball prediction: "We see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon."
But Steve, what about Google's latest attempt at an iPhone killer, the Nexus One? This super phone is lighter and has a better screen than the iPhone. The Google Voice capabilities are revolutionary. Shouldn't we be worried about these features? Hasn't the competition already caught up? Unfortunately for Google, Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report), Dell (DELL - Get Report), Palm (PALM), Research In Motion (RIMM), or any other company that considers itself a threat to Apple, Jobs isn't talking about features. If only it was that easy.To compete with Apple, someone is going to have to scale a gated community. No one who lives in a great neighborhood wants to move. Would upgraded countertops be enough to get you to leave your great schools, parks and friends? For most people, once they find their ideal neighborhood, they never feel the need to leave, even if a better house becomes available across town. Apple customers feel the same way. The Apple community provides benefits beyond minor features of a single product. So what would a competitor have to do to disrupt this trend?