NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Right off the bat, too much is made about international marketshare numbers.
Google's (GOOG) strategy with Android means it will most likely command a seemingly impressive marketshare in many markets around the world. This much should be embarrassingly obvious. If Apple (AAPL - Get Report) opened up iOS the way Google slums Android, Apple would dominate Google and Samsung even at the tribe level across the universe. al Qaeda cells in Somalia would chart as iPhone users.
Given Apple's refusal to go cheap and dilute all that is good about its brand and product quality, it's impressive the company does as well as it does in emerging markets and countries where smartphone subsidies aren't quite as generous as they are in America.
Understanding that line of thought -- which, surprisingly, more than a few people do not -- puts you in the best position to understand Apple. It also helps to ignore the catcalls of Android fans, Apple haters and the headline-firing media and focus on U.S. marketshare data like I do and did in an article for TheStreet, picked up by the good folks at MSN Money, last month.The latest comScore numbers show the trend I illustrate in that article marches on. As of the end of August, Apple continues to gain domestic marketshare as a smartphone platform (Android lost a bit). Apple also continues to grow as an OEM, not only dominating Samsung, but growing at a faster clip. Between this massive and largely loyal base and the halo effect, Apple is in prime position to carry on the same or a similar flavor of domination it exerts today. I'm as much a victim of conventional thought as the next guy; and lo and behold, as I started checking my assumptions, I came to alternative conclusions. At the top of the list, I'm not certain Apple needs this "next big thing" so many of us speak of. At least not something new that matches -- or even comes close to -- the success, from a unit sales standpoint, of iPod, iPhone or iPad. Apple might be better off focusing on two areas:
- Maintaining the premium price and high-quality of its current products to keep the aforementioned loyal base and halo effect alive
- Leveraging that base (which will include recent converts) to adopt even bigger ticket items that enhance/complement/supplement the seamlessness of the Apple ecosystem