NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) has spent more than a decade leaching its hip little tech toys into American homes and pop culture with very little pushback from the stodgy tech sector. Time's up.
A month after releasing its iPhone 5 and about a week away from debuting its iPad Mini and newest 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple finds itself in a peculiar position. Revenue jumped 23% last quarter from the same period a year ago and the company's next year-end summary follows up a 66% annual revenue spike in its 2011 report.
As ubiquitous as the company seems, though, it's still not as big a force as it could be. Its 17% market share among mobile phones in the U.S. still trails Samsung (25.7%) and LG (18.2%), according to market research firm ComScore (SCOR). Meanwhile, its iOS platform's 34.3% share of the U.S. smartphone market still trails Google (GOOG - Get Report) Android's growing 52.6% stake.
That disparity is far more pronounced globally, where research firm Gartner (IT) says Nokia (NOK) and Samsung's 41% mobile market share dwarfs Apple's 5%. Among global smartphone users, Apple fares somewhat better, with a 24% share of the market that's still been surpassed by Android's 50% dominance.Among computer operating systems, Mac and iOS are still small players. According to Web metrics firm Net Applications, Microsoft (MSFT) Windows is the operating system of choice on 84% of all personal computers in the world. Mac operating systems are just 6.30%, or little more that Windows Vista's 6.15%. So if Apple isn't meeting the monstrous potential its market cap and share price indicates, why is it so hard to find an Apple product that doesn't top a wish list of tech toys? The competition simply wasn't playing Apple's game ... until recently. While Apple products still hover near the top of critics lists, we and the folks at Decide.com found examples of products that either give Apple's playthings a good fight or bite into Apple's market by beating it at their own game. Limber up those fingers, fanboys: These picks are going to require a few hours of comments field fury: